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Monday, January 31, 2011

Nicotine, Nazi's and Magical Thinking (Part III)

One of the posters reading this noted that nicotine is a neurotoxin. This is the sort of thing I am talking about.  If you make the definition of neurotoxicity "anything that affects the nervous system" (as described here) then yes, nicotine is a neurotoxin, just like love, chocolate and caffeine.

Nicotine is probably one of the most widely used drugs on earth - particularly when you consider its alternate forms (things into which it is converted or is part of) such as Vitamin B3 (niacin). 

(For those that are interested the E-cigarette forum thread is here.)

First off, Vitamin B3 is nicotinic acid (created commercially by literally treating nicotine with nitric acid) - also known as niacin.  Humans, unlike some animals, cannot manufacture Vitamin B3 on their own so they must get it from their diets.

B3 is required for health.  You cannot live without it.

Pure nicotine, on the other hand, is naturally present in eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and a whole host of other foods.  So, unless you avoid these types of food, you are exposed to nicotine on almost a daily basis.  (Though it is present in these foods the levels are generally much lower than the levels in cigarettes.  Eggplant has the most - about 10% of what might be in a cigarette.  The levels in other plants are about 10% that of eggplant.)

(I suppose that if you believe that nicotine is a neurotoxin then your mother's admonishment to "eat your vegetables" is tantamount to a conspiracy to kill you...!!)

In your body about 80% of the nicotine is converted to continine which is excreted via the urinary system.

So nicotine is closely related to Vitamin B3 that occurs naturally in things we eat.

As to what dangers nicotine present to a human (short of consuming too much) things are much less clear.  While there are a lot of studies about nicotine and smoking there are not a lot about what something like an e-cigarette might do as far as basically delivering nicotine only to your lungs.

So what you see written about studies and so forth related to nicotine are vary often linked to tobacco use.  In fact, there is very little published about nicotine alone - and what their is published you must read very carefully to tease out the issues related to nicotine versus those that are tobacco related.

The bottom line here, as I see it, and how this relates to e-cigarettes in general, is that "science" has done very little to study nicotine on its own, probably about as much as is done for caffeine.  Since its associated with tobacco it is just generally lumped into the "evil cigarette and tobacco" category and forgotten.

There are lots of silly sites like this claiming that foods of one sort or another are bad for you - but I think you have to be very careful when looking at this.  Personally I have come to believe that smoking is very likely done to address some sort of dietary deficiency.

Now, I am not a doctor so what I am telling you here is purely opinion.

First off, as I have documented in this blog, I have discovered that I, a person who is relatively healthy (or at least so I thought), is malnourished in today's USA.  What I mean by this is that my diet, though it consists of a variety of things does very little to address what my body really needs. This is due to many things as I have also written about here.

So one of the first things that I have to question is, relative to all this study of nicotine and excluding any tobacco studies, are these studies looking at healthy people in the first place.  And by healthy I mean people who are receiving proper nutrition.

More to the point, if you were properly nourished in the first place would you be smoking?  And, if you were properly nourished, would nicotine harm you more than love or a cup of java?

While you might scoff at this you really need to do some research before forming any sort of serious opinion.  For example, as I have documented here relative to Iodine I would say that probably 96% of everyone in the US is Iodine deficient.

What, you might ask, does this have to do with smoking?

Well, for one thing the symptoms of Iodine deficiency are many of the very same reasons people talk about as reasons for smoking - feelings of depression, tiredness, that sort of thing (see "Where for art thou Iodine").  Now, having addressed my own personal Iodine deficiency I have to say that the fact that medical "science" and the FDA ignore proper nutrition is the real crime.

And by crime I mean crime.

The FDA is supposed to help make sure that we citizens are healthy through monitoring and controlling issues related to foods and drugs.  The problem is that, as far as I can see (and again there are blog posts here to this effect) they simply don't care about things that don't involve good press for them and money.  Sure they spend lots of time making sure that Lipitor is available to kids - but as far as making sure the citizens of the country have enough Iodine in their diet they do nothing.

(Which is worse for your kid - smoking, e-cigarettes, or Lipitor?)

And that's a crime at the level of genocide.

So what we have here is a government that simply ignores the true health of its people working very hard on things, like Lipitor, that are really simply treating the symptoms of the people's underlying dietary deficiencies and doing nothing to correct the true problems, e.g., approving bromides in bread versus Iodine.

Given this you have a class of people, smokers, who are struggling with health issues.  The FDA, despite a vast collection of evidence that people's feelings about themselves (their self worth, worries about self, etc.) is more dangerous to their health than food, diet or lifestyle, works hard to demonize their smoking habit - thus directly contributing to they feeling of low self worth.

This demonization of smoking creates an untold negative mental affect on the smokers view of themselves.  A negative view compounded by malnourishment caused by the FDAs lack of action.

Now we have e-cigarettes - in fact not cigarettes at all as they involve nothing that burns.  I think the first mistake is to even call them e-cigarettes.  They are vaporizers - nothing more.

These devices serve to eliminate what is wrong with smoking - the smoke and burning - leaving only nicotine - a naturally occurring chemical found in many foods.

And what does the FDA do?

Attempt to make using these devices a problem.

(As a side note I find that most people don't even recognize an e-cigarette at all.  Because it does not smell or burn people simply don't notice it at all unless you try to make it look like you are smoking.  I think this is a very interesting psychological aspect to all of this.)

The truth is that the FDA is full of people who "used to work in industry" and, just like its total lack of attention to genetically modified and industrialized foods (because its staff came from that industry), e-cigarettes pose a threat to the well being of those its oversees.

The real problem is the FDA, the states, and the government in general is that they profit mightily from smokers.  (Do you really think the billions won by the states in the tobacco wars is being saved for your medical care as a smoker later in life?)

Only a government could do such a thing.  When the government runs a gambling casino they excuse themselves by displaying the 1-800-GAMBLING phone number at the bottom of the ad "in case you need help".

The hypocrisy of this is insane...

So far then I am saying (to summarize):

- The demonization of smokers is like all other racial profiling.

- Nicotine and e-cigarettes have nothing to do with smoking and its medical side show of misery.

- The government, with things like Lipitor, is just like a tobacco company pawning off bad things on unsuspecting victims.

- The government profits from this.

So how do e-cigarettes survive in this maelstrom of misery...?

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