2. The Tobacco Plant
Tobacco is a plant whose leaves are used chiefly in making cigarettes and cigars. Other tobacco products include smoking tobacco for pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff.
Tobacco ranks as a major crop in more than 60 countries. During the late 1970s, the annual worldwide production of tobacco totaled about six-million tons. Farmers in the United States produce about 705 million cigarettes and about 3 1/2 million cigars yearly. About 160 million pounds of tobacco are manufactured annually for smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff. The annual value of tobacco products amounts to about $19 billion. Most of this income comes from domestic sales of the products. As you can see, many people are getting rich at the expense of the nation’s health.
The government encourages and supports the growth and manufacture of tobacco and its products since it receives a large income through taxes on tobacco. Tobacco products are also taxed by all the state governments and some local governments. Taxes on tobacco total about three times the amount that the growers receive for their crops. The officials of our government are well aware of the health dangers of tobacco, yet they continue to support this industry.
Once tobacco is harvested, it goes through a curing process. This process produces various chemical changes in the tobacco that supposedly improve its flavor and aroma. There are three methods of curing tobacco: (1) air curing, (2) fire curing, and (3) flue curing. Each type of tobacco responds differently to each of these methods.
Air curing uses natural weather conditions to dry tobacco. Air-curing barns have ventilators that can be opened and closed to control the temperatures and humidity. This process takes from four to eight weeks.
Fire curing dries tobacco with low-burning fires. The smoke gives fire-cured tobacco its distinctive taste and aroma. Farmers regulate the heat, humidity, and ventilation in the curing barns so the leaves will not be scalded. Fire curing takes from three days to six weeks. This smoking process adds more toxins to the already toxic tobacco. It has been proven that anything that has been smoked is carcinogenic when ingested (as in cigarette smoking when smoke enters the lungs).
Flue curing dries tobacco by heat from flues (pipes) connected to furnaces. The temperature is gradually raised from 90°F. to 160°F. until the leaves are completely dry. The flue-curing method takes about a week.
Freshly-cured tobacco has a sharp aroma and bitter taste as would any poison. Therefore, most tobacco is put into storage and allowed to age before being used in manufacturing tobacco products.
Prior to storage, most tobacco goes through a redrying process, during which it is completely dried and cooled. Manufacturers then restore some water throughout the leaves to ensure uniform moisture content. This practice prevents the leaves from breaking.
Next, tobacco is stored for two or three years in barrel-like containers. During storage, it ages and undergoes a chemical change called fermentation (fermentation is decomposition of sugar and starch and their conversion by microorganisms to carbon dioxide, alcohol and acetic acid—poisonous by-products). This fermentation is said to give tobacco a sweeter, milder flavor and aroma and reduce its nicotine content. They are, in effect, exchanging poison for poison. Tobacco also loses moisture and becomes darker during aging.
A somewhat different procedure is used to age cigar leaf tobacco, which does not require redrying. Bales of this tobacco are placed in heated rooms or are simply hung up to ferment before storage.
If you were to take any healthful food (which tobacco is not) like romaine lettuce, and submit it to the same processing as tobacco goes through, you would end up with a toxic poison. With tobacco, you begin with a poisonous plant and render it more poisonous through this manufacturing process.
Most tobacco grows best in a warm climate and in carefully drained and fertilized soil. Growers and consumers would greatly benefit by utilizing these ideal growing conditions for fruit and nut trees. Pecan trees, for example, produce abundantly, require little maintenance, and their produce is easily harvested. Pecans are in high demand for their superior flavor and nutrient value. They also bring a good price on the market. Tobacco is also heavily sprayed with expensive insecticides but this is not necessary (or desirable) with pecan trees. Tobacco has no nutritional or other benefits and its only effects are bad ones. On the other hand, pecans are high in protein of the best biological order and contain oils that are easily digested and utilized, thus making them useful dietary items. In addition, there are no harmful toxins.
- 1. History
- 2. The Tobacco Plant
- 3. The Dangers Are Realized
- 4. Tobacco Toxins
- 5. Cigarette Smoking And Chronic Disease
- 6. Added Industrial Pollutants
- 7. Tobacco Subsidies
- 8. Effects On Fetus And Children
- 9. Involuntary Smoking
- 10. Live Healthfully
- 11. Eliminating The Smoking Habit
- 12. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: A Small Fire at One End and a Big Fool at the Other By Dr. Keki R. Sidhwa, N.D., D.O.