March 19, 2021 03:30 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
March 20th is reserved for National Kick Butts Day. I’m not talking about kicking actual people’s butts. The butts I’m talking about kicking are cigarette butts. Cigarettes are one of the leading causes of diseases such as cancer. Cigarette butts are dirty butts loaded with all kinds of disgusting additives like whale excrement, ammonia, and nicotine, just to name a few. Cigarette smoking isn’t as popular as it used to be, but nonetheless, it is still there. A lot of people who used to smoke cigarettes have made the switch to electronic vaping devices. Smoking cigarettes is a deadly habit. It can not only kill you, but it can kill those around you as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
“Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.”
Cigarette butts have been kicking butt when it comes to taking lives. Heavy smokers can have hefty habits when it comes to putting away or smoking cigarettes. It’s said that a heavy smoker consumes more than 25 cigarettes in a 24-hour period. This March 20th, you can help kick butts. You don’t have to be a butt-head to help; you just have to be armed with knowledge. Let’s explore additives found in cigarettes today. According to the NCBI, “The tobacco industry used few additives in US cigarettes before 1970. However, current US-style cigarettes generally contain about a 10% level of additives according to weight, mostly in the form of sugars, humectants, ammonia compounds, cocoa, and licorice.”
The Deadly Additives and What They Are Made Of
To start with, let’s look at some of the negative effects the above-mentioned additives have. Dr. Hu along with a group of colleagues published a study back in 2014. The study was published on JAMA internal medicine and looked at the dangers of sugar. According to this research, the dangers of sugar include inflammation, weight gain, fatty liver disease, diabetes, inflammation, high blood pressure, as well as an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Humectants: These are used to keep moisture in a wide variety of products ranging from pesticides and food to medicines and cosmetics. This substance is used in cigarettes and is considered to be one of the most dangerous chemicals found in them. When burnt, humectants release a chemical compound called acrolein. Synthetic versions of humectants can cause excessively dry skin, flaking skin and can also accelerate aging.
Cocoa: Another additive that is widely used throughout the tobacco industry. It is used to decrease the harshness of tobacco and make the taste more pleasing. While you might be thinking of cocoa as sweet, it is actually potentially harmful to you. It has caffeine and other chemicals that are known to produce side effects such as sleeplessness, increased heart rate, nervousness, and frequent urination. It’s even known to trigger migraine headaches, cause constipation, and to cause allergic reactions to the skin.
Licorice: This is added to enhance the flavor profile of tobacco as well as increase its ability to hold moisture. While this tasty treat may be good to eat, it may not be so healthy to smoke.
Ammonia: These compounds are a combination of hydrogen and nitrogen. Ammonia compounds are added to tobacco to increase the consumer’s nicotine intake. By adding ammonia to tobacco, the alkalinity is increased, allowing for better absorption of nicotine.
Nicotine: Let’s not forget this nasty substance. Nicotine is a highly addictive and dangerous chemical. It is known to increase blood pressure, heart rate, and flow of blood going to the heart, causing arteries to narrow. It is one of the worst ingredients in cigarettes and the main psychoactive ingredient as well.
Ambergris: On top of all of this, you have whale byproducts in your cigarettes. Ambergris has been used throughout history as a perfume or incense. But many are unaware that it is also used for scent in cigarettes. The scientific name is ambergris, and yes, it comes from the insides of whales through their excrement or vomit and is extremely valuable.
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Cigarette smoke also produces methane and urea which are also found in feces and urine respectively. So, the next time you go to grab a cigarette, just think about what exactly you’re lighting up and allowing into your body. Cigarettes are a molotov cocktail of unusual chemicals topped off with licorice and cocoa to help sweeten it up. If that doesn’t stop you, you may want to reach out for help with kicking butts.
The fact that we have alternatives that are less harmful to the lungs than tobacco is not new news. When our political representatives say that more research is needed or not enough exists, they must have missed the 2012 study conducted by the University of California San Francisco and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It’s called “Marijuana Shown to Be Less Damaging to Lungs Than Tobacco” and can be viewed on the UCSF website here. If you need some help kicking butts this year, arm yourself with knowledge about tobacco. If you need help with kicking butts for good, remember there are other options that may help! If you’ve been able to kick your cigarette habit, let us know in the comments how you did it!
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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