One morning this week, I wasn't able to eat breakfast. By 10:00, I was famished, and mentioned this to a coworker. She opened her desk drawer, and handed me one of those meal replacement drinks. As I was twisting the cap on the bottle, I noticed the list of ingredients. The long, long, lllllllllong list of ingredients...
The first two ingredients are milk and water. That's natural enough. But then, they added canola oil? To drink?! Hmm. Now, fructose I recognize as "fruit sugar". Cool. And then, there's yummy cocoa...but it's been processed with alkali?! After that, the list of ingredients looks more like the Christmas wish list of a chemical engineer.
And I'm supposed to drink this factory-made "food product". Noooooo, thanks!
Okay, sure...these are probably just the tongue-twisting chemical names of nutrients and minerals and vitamins, riiiiight? (And preservatives and emulsifiers and colorings and flavors?) And this concoction passed some sort of safety test, riiiiiiight? I mean, "they" wouldn't sell something that was laced with harmful compounds, riiiight?
Hey, you know what? In my opinion, the development of that meal replacement drink sure sounds an awful lot like the development of cigarettes.
By the time the tobacco leaf in a cigarette reaches your lips, it's been: engineered, farmed, sprayed, processed, modified, enhanced, preserved, and manufactured. And all this is done in a factory somewhere, using a list of chemicals you'd expect to see in a HAZMAT manual.
Why?! Why, why, why, why is all this even necessary to "just roll a tobacco leaf for smoking"?
- can dilate the airways, allowing the smoker to inhale more deeply. This increases nicotine exposure and can deposit higher levels of tar in the lungs. Cocoa is an additive known to do this.
- slow the metabolism of nicotine, thereby increasing the smoker's exposure to it.
- have anesthetic properties that decrease the harshness of tobacco smoke on the throat.
- mask the smell, visibility, and irritation of environmental tobacco smoke.
- may disguise warning symptoms of illnesses associated with cigarette smoking.
- may react with nicotine in a process call free-basing. Ammonia and bleach can liberate more nicotine molecules from tobacco, producing a bigger nicotine kick for the smoker.