Cigarettes more addictive than ever

by Jim Longworth

Massachusetts is one of only three states to require tobacco companies to submit information about nicotine, and last week that state’s Department of Health released some startling news: Tobacco companies are spiking their cigarettes with more nicotine than ever before.

Overall, nicotine yields are up 10 percent since 1988, while some brands are up as much as 20 percent.’ In addition, 84 percent of all brands tested in 1988 scored in the highest nicotine range. Today, 93 percent attain that level.

Even worse is that all of this has occurred despite passage of Sen. John McCain’s bill that gave the FDA unrestricted control over nicotine. As well it should have.

Nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs on earth, yet the government has failed to control its delivery system.

For years tobacco companies lied about the addictive nature of their products, and when they finally came clean with a congressional committee, it was way too late for my father and millions of other Americans who took up smoking prior to 1964, when the first Surgeon General’s warning was issued.’ 

I’m not one to advocate government interference, but this new study is the last straw.

Either tobacco companies eliminate nicotine from their products, or else the FDA must make cigarettes available by prescription only, so that family physicians can prescribe and monitor nicotine intake of their patients. If neither scenario occurs, then big tobacco and big government are both criminally negligent. After all, we know that secondhand smoke causes cancer. And now we know that cigarette-makers have stepped up their efforts to addict smokers. Logic then dictates that if the FDA fails to control the addictive drug that causes smoking, and smoking kills us, then we should start suing our congressmen, not just the manufacturers, every time someone dies from the effects of smoking.

I realize that my opinion will alienate a majority of people, but now that it’s off my chest, I can breath much easier. Maybe one day so can everyone else.

Jim Longworth is host of “Triad Today” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on UPN 48 (cable channel 14).