Thursday, May 30, 2013


--> Although you have been smoking for a number of years, you probably don't know much about what tobacco actually is and where it comes from.  Tobacco comes from a plant called Nicotinia Tabacum.  The leaf of the plant is what is used to create tobacco.  The plants are cultivated and then the leaves are picked, cured and processed to create tobacco used in cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco.

The use of tobacco dates back to the early days in America when the native Americans would use it for medicinal purposes and in ceremonial occasions.   The native Americans thought that tobacco was a gift from the creator and that exhaled tobacco smoke carries ones thoughts and prayers to heaven.

The tobacco that the native Americans used was extremely pure, untreated and very harsh.  They could only take it in very small doses and did not smoke it every day.  This is an interesting fact because the tobacco they used although pure and harsh did not seem to carry the same addictive properties as the tobacco used in cigarettes today.

Tobacco plants have a natural ingredient in them called nicotine.  This is the plants guard to defend against insects and other animals eating the plant.  Doses of nicotine in large enough form are lethal and will kill an animal or even a human being.

While the native Americans appear to be the first to use tobacco to smoke, it quickly became popular with Europeans and other settlers in America.  Now you can find tobacco in all parts of the world and used regularly by about 1/3 of the worlds population.  Every year about 6.7 million tons of tobacco are produced.  The top producer of tobacco is China which generates about 39% of the tobacco worldwide.

By the early 1900's tobacco was being mass produced and smoked on a regular basis primarily by men.  Tobacco companies started creating different strains of tobacco so that the product was more mild and easy to consume.   The effects are apparent as many smokers today smoke 20 or more cigarettes in a day.

Tobacco companies continued to produce and profit from the sale of cigarettes as the industry grew astronomically by the mid 20th century.  At this time smoking was regarded as a glamorous event and enjoyed by nearly half of the people in the United States.

As the smoking revolution continued, tobacco companies became more knowledgeable about the effects of nicotine and the addictive properties of their product.  They knew that the more nicotine a person consumed, the more addicted one would become.  In the 1970 Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company cross bred a strain of tobacco to create a cigarette that had nearly twice the amount of nicotine as other cigarettes (6.5% nicotine vs. 3.5%)

It became readily apparent that the tobacco companies were manipulating their crops to increase nicotine content and consumption rates by its customers.  In recent years they have found that adding ammonia to tobacco increases the amount and speed of nicotine absorbed by the body.  Todays cigarettes are far more powerful and much more addictive than ever before.

Of course we will never really know thanks to the US Supreme courts decision in 2000 that basically stated that the FDA does not have any regulatory authority over the tobacco industry and can not regulate nicotine levels or toxic ingredient levels in cigarettes.  In short, the tobacco companies can do what ever they want - and believe me they are.  There is no longer a measurement of nicotine in cigarettes, at least a universal measure.   For all we know it could be 20%.

Understanding where tobacco comes from and the addictive properties that are found naturally in tobacco will help you to quit smoking.  So many of you believe that you enjoy the act of smoking, but rather you must understand that you only enjoy smoking because your body is in a state of nicotine withdrawal and smoking relieves that pain giving you the misconception that you enjoy it.  You would not enjoy any part of it if you were not suffering from drug withdrawal.  Once you remove the drug (nicotine) you remove the withdrawal and the need for cigarettes or tobacco of any kind.

Use this knowledge to help yourself on the road to quitting.   Remember that each cigarette you smoke does only one thing, it makes you want another cigarette.  The reason you are reaching for this cigarette is that you smoked another about 30 minutes ago.  At some point you have to stop the train and get off, and there is no better time than now.

Good luck on quitting smoking!!!  Your only 72 hours from becoming nicotine free if you abstain!!!