THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 612, March 27, 2011
"Once again one more time"
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Whether you smoke tobacco or anything else, even if you smoke your own slow roasted meats, you should possibly be aware of a few things. You've probably been told a lot of nonsense about fire, about smoke, and about your body. So let's see if we can't "clear the air."
First, with regard to fire, there is widespread and persuasive evidence that hominids have been using fire under their direct control for approximately 400,000 years. I say hominids, because there is also persuasive evidence that the species we all are members of, the species homo sapiens, is only about 200,000 years old. You might actually, personally, get a lot out of reading this article about the controlled use of fire:
Now, where there is widespread and persuasive evidence, there is also sketchy and less-than-perfectly-convincing evidence. And that data goes back as far as 1.5 million years ago. Fire was conceivably used as a tool to make pottery as long ago as 1.4 million yearswith red clay sherds indicating they were made in fires as hot as 400 degrees centigrade. Fire was evidently used by early ancestors of man for light, heat, to cook, to fire pottery, and presumably to ward off animals.
Set in context, the entire branch of animals we call "hominidae" seems to structure off about 7 or 8 million years ago. The sub-structure of taxonomy called "hominina" (which lets off "pan," the chimps) seems to branch about 3 million years ago, more or less. So at least some evidence exists that for about half the time there has been anything *like* a human being, those creatures have used fire.
Put another way, about 107,000 generations of humans or human-like ancestors lived in the presence of fire. They lived with fire, they inhaled smoke, they danced around fires, they probably used fire to hurt one another, they lived in caves and in hollows in river beds and in crafted homes of all kinds, often with very limited ventilation, and they breathed smoke.
Now if you want to convince me that wood and vegetable smoke is bad for humans, you have some work to do. In their natural forms, grown properly, with attention to detail, I believe that hemp and tobacco make a smoke which is not harmful.
On the contrary, there appear to be substantial health benefits to marijuana and tobacco. For example, see Dr. William Campbell Douglas, The Health Benefits of Tobacco.
You might want to look into the sources of death and illness amongst native Americans (or First Nations peoples) who have had continuous use of tobacco since long before Europeans arrived. You won't find a huge historical record of lung cancer and emphysema from 200 years ago. If you do, please be sure to bring it to my attention. See this link (with a hat tip to Kelly Todd V).
Do you think that lack of oxygen is a big issue? Nope. You are almost certainly descended from an aquatic ape of some sortcheck out the dunking instinct in babies some time. Or the pattern of fur on an adult body. Simply put, amphibious mammals are used to oxygen deprivation. It does not much, in limited quantities.
So, what about cancer from tobacco smoking? Where would it possibly come from? Well, one of the possible answers, that I think is worth further inquiry is mildly radioactive mined potash.
Now, you wonder about these companies that make tobacco products from huge fields of tobacco plants. One of the things they have been doing is "replenishing" the soil with mined potash. But that potash is not the same as the potash made the traditional way, by burning the stalks of the tobacco plants. Many artisan growers of tobacco continue to burn stalks for potash enhancement of the soil. But big growers, for one reason and another, do not.
Many plants are fairly resilient with regard to mild sources of radiation. One of the things they tend to do to compensate is to keep the radioactive material away from the fruiting or budding part of the plant, especially the "posy" in the case of tobacco. Where would the plant concentrate radioactive material, if it could? Why, in those big broad leaves. Gee, the part which goes into tobacco products.
So you might wish to consider changing the source of your smokes to some locally grown tobacco. Or to artisan tobacco. Even pipe tobacco is probably better for you than the big brands.
Another reason to support that idea is that the big tobacco companies put a lot of other stuff into cigarettes. Bleached paper. Cotton filters. Urea. It turns out that the ammonium in urea is far more addictive than nicotine. Isn't that nice?
Where cigarettes differ from the ancient traditions is in the paper and in the filter. Maybe you should remove these. Go to cigars, which are rolled up in tobacco leaves. Or go to pipes, which were used thousands of years ago, possibly longer.
Yet another thing that differs from ancient times, which might be involved in some of the cancers or emphysema or other lung ailments is butane. Yes, that stuff in your cigarette lighter.
Why not light a candle with your lighter, or from the stove, and then use a wood dowel to light your smokes? I get wood dowels at the hobby shop, a bit less than an eighth of an inch in diameter. My friends who smoke find it very easy to use these to light up their pipes and cigars.
Paraffin in candle wax and butane in lighter fluid seem unlikely to be the healthiest things to smoke. And they aren't the kinds of smoke we've presumably become adapted to in at least 400,000 years, possibly 1.5 million years, of using fire.
Suggestions: Tell your friends who think smoking is bad for you to prove it. Ask them why they believe it. Presumably it is because the government demands that they believe it.
Stop lighting your smokes directly from butane. Use something as an intermediary, like a wood dowel.
Get back to natural, organic grown tobacco and other smokeable vegetation. The less artificial garbage involved, including rolling papers, including filters, the better.