Posts Tagged ‘tobacco’

Reducing Nicotine in Cigarettes Is an Extremely Bad Idea

April 4, 2018

The Food and Drug Administration’s proposal to gradually reduce nicotine levels in tobacco to discourage smoking is an extremely bad idea which won’t help anyone and could hurt some. Smoking may appear unattractive to non-smokers, but smokers may be doing what is best for someone with their genetic brain structure.

I have never had any connection to the tobacco industry. I have never smoked, owned any tobacco company assets or worked in a facility that sold tobacco products. People I cared about have died from medical conditions associated with tobacco use.

On a personal level I don’t understand how people can enjoy smoking, but then smokers might not understand why I like jalapeno slices in my breakfast eggs.

Unlike anti-tobacco fanatics I understand that differences in our brain genes can cause us to march to the beats of different drummers. One of the most important differences involves the Dopamine Receptor gene DR4 which some call the risk taker gene because those with a certain form of the gene are more prone to risk taking. Those with the risk taker form of the gene need a greater level of excitement possibly because they have more receptors for the neurotransmitter dopamine.

The risk taker gene is essential in hunter / warrior societies because male members of the society must be willing to face danger to feed and protect other members of the society. The risk taker gene may also affect decisions to move to another country or to the American frontier. .

The people who attempt to discourage young people from smoking don’t recognize that their publicity campaign may actually be encouraging young risk takers to try smoking. Potentially dangerous activities appeal to those with the risk taker gene because doing something dangerous is exciting. Surviving doing something dangerous provides a feeling of accomplishment. Telling young risk takers that smoking is dangerous makes smoking an attractive activity.

Those with the risk taker gene are prone to alcoholism and drug addiction indicating they may need a chemical stimulation for their DR4 receptors. Fortunately there is another chemical that can provide this stimulation. Nicotine can provide an alternate chemical for at least some of those with the risk taker gene without the dangerous side effects of alcohol or drugs. Users of alcohol or drugs can lose control of their behavior Smokers retain control over their behavior.

The conventional view is that nicotine independently causes people to become addicted to it. The reality might be more complicated. Some people may have a need for special chemicals that have a certain impact on their well being. We all are “addicted to” some chemicals such as vitamins. It might be that people with the risk taker gene have more specialized needs.

This post is too short to provide definitive answers, but it could provide a guide for additional research into the possibility that for those with the risk taker gene smoking might be a beneficial activity. The potential heath threat is less than the threat posed by a high fat diet or drinking and driving. Smokers generally live long enough to retire Incidentally, I recently saw an ad indicating some lawyers believe that many lung cancers blamed on smoking might actually be the result of asbestos exposure.

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Replacing Obamacare

October 10, 2017

President Trump promised to replace Obamacare, but so far has only suggested modifying it. He should replace the Obama approach to health care.

Medical costs cause the price of health insurance to be too high for some to afford. Obamacare attempted to deal with high insurance rates by forcing healthy people to buy health insurance.

A better approach would recognize that it isn’t practical for profit-making insurance programs to pay for expensive to treat chronic disorders such as those associated with alcohol or tobacco use. Special programs could be set up to cover such disorders.

Taxes on alcohol and tobacco should be used to fund programs for alcohol and tobacco related medical disorders. For example, a per gallon tax on alcohol products would go into a fund for treatment of alcohol related disorders. A doctor would certify that a person has an alcohol related disorder and health care providers would send health care bills for the patient to the alcohol fund in the same way bills are sent to insurance companies for payment. To simplify payment procedures all medical problems of a patient with an alcohol related medical problem would be paid by the fund because alcohol can reduce the body’s ability to handle problems. The fund would also cover medical costs of those who suffer injuries because of the actions of someone under the influence of alcohol even if the injury involved a preexisting condition. A police report that one of the drivers in a traffic accident was under the influence of alcohol would trigger payment from the alcohol fund even if the courts wouldn’t consider the drinking driver to be at fault.

Under the current insurance system people who never use tobacco or alcohol help pay for the medical treatment of those who have tobacco or alcohol related medical problems. Under my proposal only those who use alcohol and tobacco products would pay to treat medical problems related to alcohol and tobacco use.

Another type of health care fund would involve specific disorders, such as heart trouble or specific cancers that may be caused by various factors other than tobacco or alcohol. Government would use general taxes to finance treatment and conduct research. Other funds might come from non-profit organizations. Government might encourage non-profit funds by offering to match what they raise.

Each fund would operate in part as a research project. Paying for all treatments from a single fund would allow researchers to monitor and compare the success rate of various different treatments. Insurance companies are reluctant to fund experimental treatments because they can’t expect to benefit from them, but the federal government could benefit from knowing what doesn’t work as well as knowing what does work.