cigarettes and porn

Martha Rosett Lutz lutzrun at
Thu Jan 17 12:51:19 EST 2002

Elisa wrote:

"ever willing to take the college student's point of view, I say what's wrong
with cigarettes and porn? :)"

YES--I note the 'emoticon'!

But what's wrong with cigarettes?????

I would just point out that--at least in the US--nicotine is a highly
restricted chemical.  Oddly enough, if you want to purchase a "nicotine
smoke fumigator" you need a certified applicator's license.  Even then, you
may not use this device where food is being grown or prepared, and the OSHA
PEL for nicotine is 0.5 mg of skin contact (I think that is a time-weighted
average over 8 hours of exposure) so you have to be careful how much
exposure employees receive.  I would be willing to bet that employers who
maintain smoking restaurants continuously exceed the PEL for nicotine, and
their employees are therefore being subjected to deliberate violations of
OSHA regulations that are designed to protect their health.

The same chemical--nicotine--is in both cigarettes and some also in some
insecticidal products.  But because the tobacco companies have dodged the
FDA and various other agencies, the nicotine content of cigarettes has been
deliberately ignored.  You couldn't sell something with that much
strychnine in it (an LD50 of 2), but nicotine, with its LD50 of 1 mg/kg,
can be sold over the counter in the form of cigarettes.

The chemical doesn't care whether it is in a Fulex insecticidal product or
in a cigarette--it is still a Super Toxic (official US government category)
acetylcholine agonist that also inhibits apoptosis (a vital function of the
immune sustem) and is metabolized to NNK, which is directly mutagenic.  In
addition, nicotine interferes with normal brain development, and children
subjected to prenatal nicotine exposure have a much higher probability of
developing ADD or ADHD; think of nicotine as thalidomide for the brain,
since it is believed to truncate brain development by sending inappropriate
messages (in its role as an acetylcholine agonist).

That's what's wrong with cigarettes.  Porn . . . define porn?  If you mean
a photo of Suzy Hamilton-Favor in a bun-hugger with all her muscles at full
stretch at the end of a fast 1500 meter run--that's not porn, although some
cultures would define it as such.  A child forced to strip and be
photographed--that's criminal, because it violates our national right to
Freedom from Harm.  I personally take a very dim view of people who cause
harm or distress to children; on the other hand, between consenting adults
there are many possible definitions of 'art.'

My rant for the week; I'm off--to work with a disabled athlete for a little
while, and also drive my own kids to dance lessons!  If anyone wants the
references for any of the information above, write me off list.  The
journal articles about nicotine and ADD/ADHD are extremely interesting, and
look like good, solid research to me.

In Stride,
Martha Rosett Lutz


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