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Do Harm Reduction Cigarettes Work?

Do Harm Reduction Cigarettes Work?

Big tobacco companies pull out all the stops to hold onto smokers and, even non-smokers . The e-cigarette is so controversial, there’s talk of the FDA banning this psuedo-safe smoking device. These devices use a battery-powered heater to vaporize synthetic liquid nicotine in a small cartridge. They lack the infamous tar that regular cigarettes deliver, but the FDA is still concerned about the potentially harmful nicotine these e-products depend on to keep smokers addicted.  And, there’s another wolf in sheep’s clothing that alarms FDA — “harm reduction” cigarettes.

GMO Tobacco and Other Nasty Stuff

“Harm reduction” cigarettes seem low-tech when compared to their e-cigarette counterparts, but they employ some pretty sophisticated “smoke & mirrors” chemistry to reel in the average smoker. This involves the use of genetically modified tobacco to cut down on the concentration of nicotine. Developed by North Carolina State University
 scientists, the GMO tobacco was designed to resist bugs attacking the tobacco plant.  The problem here is that you’re injecting and infusing the genes of bacteria from the DNA of other living things into tobacco seeds. Worse yet, tobacco plants are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, which remain in the plant. Mixing these bug and weed killers into an already harmful product adds to its toxicity.

A Chemical Cocktail Your Nervous System Can Do Without

When a cigarette burns at 1700-degrees Fahrenheit, the pesticides used to kill bugs are mixed with ammonia-treated nicotine, creating a chemical cocktail that challenges your central nervous system. Researchers at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado identified three previously undetected pesticides in cigarette smoke. These carcinogenic endocrine disruptors include Flumetralin (banned in Europe), Pendimethalin (which targets the thyroid), and Trifluralin (which affects prostate and breasts). Surprisingly, all have been approved for use by the EPA, which claims, “No information exists for long-term low-level inhalation exposures to these compounds.”

Side Effects of Side Stream Smoke

Stem cell scientists at UC Riverside took a long hard look at the side-stream smoke of harm-reduction cigarettes. What they found is that these brands impaired the growth of human embryonic stem cells — more than conventional brands. The reduced carcinogens in harm reduction cigarettes didn’t equate to reduced toxicity. Researchers noted that embryonic stem cells are ideal for evaluating the toxicity of cigarette smoke because these cells are most sensitive to chemical stress. The study results appear in the November issue of Toxicological Sciences.

 

 

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Alex A. Kecskes

As owner/president of AK CreativeWorks, Alex A. Kecskes is a national award-winning writer/blogger/journalist who has written over 2,000 published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, careers, consumer tech, arts/entertainment and many other topics. He also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Follow Alex on twitter at https://twitter.com/TopWordsmith.

66 comments

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2:43AM PDT on Aug 31, 2014

Thank you :)

2:17PM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Just quit already. With cigarettes, it's mostly mind over matter, I don't care what anyone says.
I smoked for 18 years. From 2 or 3 cigarettes a day to one pack a day, up and down over the years.
When I met my future husband, a non-smoker, vegetarian, nutritionist and health practitioner, he told me bluntly that if I kept smoking, I would get cancer some day and he did not want to be around when it happened. His mother had died of lung cancer after a lifetime of smoking cigarettes.
I had two choices: keep smoking, take my chances and wish fervently I had listened to him when I got cancer.
Or quit now and improve my chances at survival.
I quit 14 years ago, cold turkey. It was hard for the first 3 weeks, then I got over it.
I'm glad I did!

7:12AM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Another gimmick.

7:07AM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

TY

5:21AM PDT on Aug 30, 2014

Thanks for sharing

6:04PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

I'm bout done with my E-tron cig. I'm not buying more liquid.
I have also been smoking 4 - 5 cigs. a day. eTron is nothing
like a real cig. They hurt my tummy and my eyes.

2:41PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

(con't)
I messed up by cutting off the rest. Oh well,

As for the EPA, you would think that they were working FOR certain corporations instead of WITH them.

Lucky are the people who never smoked. As a result they have NO idea what it's like to be "hooked" on cigarettes. Even those who have quit cannot speak for someone else who has had a very different experience smoking, mentally and physically, including how their body metabolizes nicotine. Not everyone who smokes is very addicted. Many people may really want to quit, yet their experience from withdrawal will differ considerably from someone else's and may be too much to tolerate. So it is unfair and inaccurate to compare individuals, but that's what we do.
I believe, though, that if some method helps people quit, and it is considered relatively safe (nothing is completely safe, certainly not the food we eat) or, at least, safer than smoking cigarettes, we should do everything to make it a viable option. That includes, for now, e-cigs. Unfortunately though, the FDA, Big Pharma and the tobacco companies, would prefer it not be (unless profitable), and they have the power and the money to prove it harmful and will do so, if it is in their best interests.

2:12PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

E-cigarettes have helped people quit and allowed many others to, at least, control their nicotine consumption (sometimes reducing it to zero), use organic juices, not have 4000 chemicals or smoke producing tar, when nothing else has worked. The other replacement products are useless for most people, except, occasionally, for a short time. I haven't smoked any cigarettes for approx. one year, since using e-cigs. I have respiratory problems that have improved, considerably.

Not all e-cigs are the same, at all. Testing of ingredients in a limited number of brands has shown a considerable variance in quality and safety. The brands that you buy in gas stations/convenience stores/drug stores are, generally, inferior--bad tasting, poor quality, over-priced, have less liquid than claimed, higher nicotine content, less safe. The equipment used to dispense the juices (available on-line or in vape stores) also is very diverse; there are many companies that sell different juices to use in it (even organic herbs); you can make your own, assuring better quality. Basically, there are thousands of options available which are very difficult to compare.

"Harm Reduction" cigarettes sound awful! They still have the smoke which is one of the major concerns. Add GMO bacteria, pesticides and herbicides remaining in the seeds--I wouldn't even consider these! What is wrong with EPA? They seem to accept every GMO and every toxic pesticide submitted for approval. You would think that th

1:11PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Yuck

12:24PM PDT on Aug 29, 2014

Thank you

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