I successfully gave up smoking several years ago now, and like most other former smokers, I just wish I had stopped sooner. It is not just because of all the health problems it causes and what a thoroughly anti-social habit it is (that was a major reason for me to quit), but other factors applied as well. I am a vegan, and I discovered fairly recently that cigarettes very often contain animal products (besides the tobacco, and a great host of other harmful substances. If you ever wonder what goes into a cigarette, you may as well ask what doesn’t go into them!)
I naively used to think that cigarettes were just plant-based, since the basis of them is dried tobacco leaves. However they are also given many dangerous chemical additives designed to make them taste nicer and to be addictable. This effect is created by the thousands of toxic chemicals that they contain. But that’s not all….
Certain cigarette brands also contain pig’s blood in the filters! The idea is that the haemoglobin in the blood helps to trap a lot of the harmful substances before they are inhaled. This is reported as being of concern not just to vegans and vegetarians but also to certain religions like Jews and Muslims. Most cigarettes also contain other animal-derived products, like honey and glycerine to make them taste more pleasant.
In fact you don’t even need to be a smoker to get sick from tobacco. Aside from the evils of passive smoking, tobacco actually causes a lot of health problems among the workers in the fields who pick the tobacco leaves, which is known as green tobacco sickness. It appears that the pickers absorb high levels of nicotine through their skin from the leaves and it causes them sickness like dizziness, palpitations, nausea, and high blood pressure. It is an acute form of nicotine poisoning often equivalent to smoking around 60 cigarettes per day!
Yet another harmful effect of cigarettes is not just what they do to the human body either, it is also global and environmental: the tobacco industry causes great devastation in its ecological impact. Discarded cigarette butts cause considerable harm to the environment. It is estimated that there are around 5 trillion cigarette butts littering the world. Apparently they are the no 1. source of litter around the globe. They can take years to break down and in the process they release a lot of toxic chemicals into the earth, which can poison wildlife, etc. It is also a great environmental as well as economic concern when you consider all of the land taken up across the globe growing tobacco, which could be used for food crops (so much more essential, in a world where so many are starving!)
Last, but by no means least, cigarettes are continue to be tested on animals, for some mystifying reason, even after all these years of publicity about the dangers of smoking. Animal tests of cigarettes in the UK were banned in 1997, but before that thousands of beagle dogs every year were routinely forced to inhale cigarette smoke in laboratory tests. Unfortunately they are still done in other countries, on animals such as mice, rats and sometimes monkeys. What exactly are they trying to prove, that hasn’t already been proved endless times on consenting humans? But then, that is vivisection for you: cruel and completely pointless “research” is a matter of course. So, as anyone can see, the fact that cigarettes are still tested on animals is yet another powerful reason not to smoke.
In short, you can tell from this list that the tobacco industry is about as unethical as it gets! I really hope all these reason against may have helped to strengthen the resolve of all here who are currently trying to quit.
Hope you enjoyed this blog, and I appreciate your votes and comments.
Picture of tobacco plant courtesy of www.peatoneil.com