Are they are trying to make us smoke more?
The FDA in the US has announced the lowering of nicotine levels in cigarettes so you can probably expect our local branches of the “Tobacco Control Industry,” are even now working furiously on a campaign here to ban all nicotine from tobacco sold in Ireland and they will begrudgingly settle for very low limits.
There is a lot of confusion surrounding the safety of nicotine so let me give you a short briefing on the substance. Nicotine is a naturally occurring chemical in the “Nightshade” family of plants. Other nightshade members include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and many other nicotine containing plants. So yes! That pot of spuds boiling on the hob contains a fine old whack of nicotine. Indeed after the tobacco plant, tomatoes have the next highest concentration of natural nicotine.
As with many naturally occurring chemicals in nature, small doses are either harmless or often beneficial whereas large doses, (really large doses), can be poisonous. Vitamin D, for example, is absolutely necessary for our health and we get it from natural sunlight. But too much exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer and an overdose of Vit-D tablets can kill instantly. As with all toxicology, the dose is the poison. If you drank a pint of pure liquid nicotine in one go I suspect you would get as sick as a dog.
So the nicotine dosage in your packet of twenty cigarettes is safe and indeed nicotine has be shown scientifically to relax some people and has been compared in effect to caffeine in this regard. It promotes better concentration and as with caffeine, it offers a minor high or temporary improvement in disposition. The medical profession has blamed nicotine as the additive feature of tobacco but this has always been theory rather than a fact.
However, what would be the expected outcome should nicotine levels be lowered? In the recent past Cadburys changed the size of their chocolate bars making them smaller with less chocolate content. In reaction the ‘choc-aholics’ grumbled loudly but shopkeepers happily reported that the outcome was that bars were now being bought in pairs. The answer to less chocolate was more chocolate. It was the same thing when they banned the 10-pack of cigarettes. Millions around the world were content with their ten-a-day habit but public health, in their wisdom, decreed they must buy twenty instead. They did so of course and switched to a twenty-a-day habit.
In my life I have known many kinds of smokers, from those who smoked just one cigarette a day to those who chain-smoked eighty, and everything in between. As with all of the things we consume, we all arrive at the quantity that suits us. When this is falsely tampered with for whatever reason the fallout is usually the opposite of the desired effect. But in the case of proposing less than the current safe levels of nicotine, I see no point whatsoever. I believe that many smokers will begin to notice the new lowered levels in a short time and without knowing why, they will begin to find their chosen brand unsatisfactory. In response, most will smoke more to achieve the same effect, thus adding to the problem as perceived. Naturally if you want higher levels of nicotine in your daily smokes the criminal classes will offer you a choice of full strength brands, and at half price as well.
None of this makes any sense unless it is just another nasty attack on smokers to try to upset them. One wonders also when the same authorities will decide to make e-gigs unsatisfactory to vapers using the same tactic.
Have I spoken too soon?