Vector Tobacco
January 21, 2003 7:01 PM   Subscribe

Vector Tobacco. A company that "develops and markets smoking products with science-based reductions in certain harmful elements."
posted by chemgirl (35 comments total)
Yes, I did see this on fark, but I found it really intriguing. As per their FAQ's (which I would link to but don't have the technical skill!), they are not only producing a product that has reductions in the cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, but they are only marketing to current smokers. Thought it was interesting.
posted by chemgirl at 7:04 PM on January 21, 2003

More in the most recent edition of Wired Magazine.
posted by KnitWit at 7:21 PM on January 21, 2003

I saw a bit on TV about this company a while back, and thought it was exciting news; but I've since quit smoking, so they missed their window.

The thing I thought was funny was that the guy who started this described looking for carbon monoxide in cigarette tobacco, and then looking for and not finding the same thing in tobacco leaves fresh from the field. He tracked the introduction of said carcinogens to the drying process, where the exhaust of big diesel engines is pumped through sheds of tobacco leaves...
posted by hob at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2003

posted by betaray at 7:37 PM on January 21, 2003

I'd like to know if, when Canada decriminalizes marijuana, the amount of decline in tobacco use.
posted by four panels at 7:43 PM on January 21, 2003

A nicotine free smoke, eh? Brand name, Why Bother.

Actually, this is pretty cool, I've got to look over this site some more.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:44 PM on January 21, 2003

Vector Tobacco has the rights to a proprietary process that virtually eliminates nicotine from tobacco

Virtually = 0,0000000000000001 mg nicotine / cancer stick


Virtualy = You gotta be in virtual reality to believe we'll take nicotine away.
posted by elpapacito at 7:51 PM on January 21, 2003

A safe (or safER) cigarette sounds great to me, because I love smoking and don't even WANT to try to quit. Thanks chemgirl.
posted by davidmsc at 8:02 PM on January 21, 2003

four panels, please don't take this personally, but your english makes me think you've taken one too many tokes. ;-)

Hey, davidmsc, what makes you enjoy smoking so much, if it isn't nicotine? Oh oh, I think I'm about to hear the line:

"I am in flavour country"

(Although, I did smoke a cigar once. Not bad, I must admit.)
posted by shepd at 8:21 PM on January 21, 2003

I quit a few months back. It wasn't because of health concerns, it was the money. I doubt that Vector brand (what a name) cigarettes will be inexpensive enough for me to afford. They also couldn't possibly taste like a Camel Filter.

No thanks.
posted by password at 8:34 PM on January 21, 2003

Thanks, shepd - that reminds me of one of my all time favorite Simpson's ep -

[Patty and Selma light up cigarettes]
Supervisor: Ladies, please don't tell me you're smoking in a government building. Because that is _precisely_ the kind of infraction that can cost a couple of sisters their promotion. [they gasp, and stammer]
Homer: [chuckles to himself] [sees Marge looking unhappy]
[sighs] I'll never forgive myself for this.
[grabs both cigarettes, drags]
Supervisor: Wait a minute! Those are yours, sir?
Homer: [monotone] Yes. [coughs] I am in flavor country.
Supervisor: [skeptical] _Both_ of them?
Homer: [hacks] It's a big country.

Ah, back to the meme - the tobacco in Vector's smokes was developed thru genetic engineering at North Carolina A&T - your public university tax dollars at work!

On question - as GM products, will they be legal in the EU?
posted by Jos Bleau at 8:38 PM on January 21, 2003

elpapacito: Their low-nicotine cigs come in three flavors... .6, .3 and .05mg/per. Typical smokes are around 1mg. I'd agree that reduced to 1/20th is not necessarily the same as 'virtually eliminated', but it's still WAY less.

I'm another one who *enjoys* smoking. Yes, there is more to it than nicotine. If there's a cigarette that reduces the risks involved, I'm all for it.
posted by Gregoire at 8:40 PM on January 21, 2003

I thought all GM products were legal in the EU, provided they are labelled as such?

If not, that really seems like an unfair restraint of trade, no? Don't tell me they don't let you have sweet 'n low, either? I mean, without those pink packets, the sugar at the restaurant just wouldn't look the same.
posted by shepd at 8:43 PM on January 21, 2003

I don't smoke.
posted by four panels at 8:44 PM on January 21, 2003

I find it interesting that when someone started a thread on the Truth campaign (Legacy website) which was updated last month, it was deleted as 'nothing new,' while this tobacco product site that was last updated in June 2002 has its thread alive and kickin'. Double standard?
posted by anser at 8:51 PM on January 21, 2003

betaray: the problem is that, when you go to the FAQs, the URL at the top stays the same. How do you link to that? (apologizes for technical virginity and slight derailment!)
posted by chemgirl at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2003

chemgirl, try this. It's the frames that cause the problem, but you can request the specific page in their address system.
posted by password at 9:18 PM on January 21, 2003

hob, that sounds like complete bollocks. Carbon monoxide is produced virtually any time organic material is burned without sufficient oxygen - like inside a cigarette. A cigarette without CO would have to burn like a furnace. CO is not introduced as part of the manufacturing process, it is an unavoidable product of combustion.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:35 PM on January 21, 2003

Jos Bleau: you forgot the best part, after Homer's comment, the Supervisor rejoins, "You're worse than Hitler!"
posted by insomnyuk at 9:50 PM on January 21, 2003

Gregorie-- "Low tar" and "low nicotine" cigarettes aren't any safer than yer fully leaded types. Studies have shown that smokers will just draw deeper and hold smoke in longer, when given "reduced nicotine" brands.

The FTC measures tar and nicotine with machines--and there are significant differences between the way people smoke and the way the machine does. People have lips. Machines don't. So, the cigarette companies put little rings of laser-cut holes into the filter tip. When smoke is drawn in by the machine, it will become drastically diluted by the air (try drinking a glass of water with two straws in your mouth, one in the liquid, and the other dangling over the edge of the glass, in the air). When a person smokes, the little holes are either covered up by lips, or inside the oral cavity (now try the same experiment as above, except this time cover the straw outside the glass with your tongue), providing a larger burst of nasty chemicals than the gubberment measured.

The only safer cigarettes are made of (nicotine-free) bubble gum. And even then, you could choke.
posted by LimePi at 10:15 PM on January 21, 2003

oh, I almost forgot. Machines do not have fingers, but, once again, people do. They can put more tiny holes further up the paper, knowing that the smoker is likely to block them with her/his fingers anyway. Also, the cigarette companies all got together to set the ISO for cigarette-smoke-crapola-measuring-devices, arguing that their expertise in the area could be put to good use, and they all just happened to agree that the cigarette should be inserted far enough to be aspirated, but not for the ventilation holes to be covered. Of course.
posted by LimePi at 10:31 PM on January 21, 2003

i know, joe's_spleen, but it makes a good story anyhow :) the simple fact of the matter is that we're talking about a product that kills 90% less people than the old one, but -- knowing that it'll flat out kill that 10% -- this company's still gonna sell it.

"new, improved tobacco company... now with just 1/20 the evil of a traditional tobacco company!"
posted by hob at 10:54 PM on January 21, 2003

I don't get it... Why would a company develop a product that, if it works, will cause it to one day to cease to exist? If people aren't addicted to them, who's gonna smoke 'em?
posted by LouReedsSon at 11:57 PM on January 21, 2003

Yeah, I cannot understand the logic behind trying to make a profit selling low nicotine cigarettes.If they really worked, I would expect a booming market in herbal cigarettes (no, not that herb, I was thinking coltsfoot etc).

I know that while I have learned to like the taste of smoke, it's the nicotine rush I really miss. I suspect my fondness for the taste is from positive association with the nicotine. Ah, the downer of alcohol with the upper of nicotine...

Georgie, if there were no nicotine in your fags - how many would you really smoke? Can you imagine smoking 20 drug-free cigarettes a day?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:20 AM on January 22, 2003

This is absurd. Nicotine is not the cancer-causing agent in cigarettes. The only significant negative effect of nicotine is that it's addictive -- but so is coffee. Why eliminate nicotine instead of working on a nicotine-delivery system that doesn't kill you?

(Is this the company behind the reduced-carcinogen Omni cigarettes that I've been seeing ads for lately? Are they any good?)
posted by IshmaelGraves at 5:55 AM on January 22, 2003

one time last year in St. Mark's bookstore, I was flipping through the new books (which I never buy, always head to the sale books in the back...good stuff there every time), and happened to come across a book on the history of cigarettes. (sorry, can't remember title or author)

the most interesting chapter was the one on various innovations, experimental products, etc. -- namely, trying to make healthier (er, less-deadly) cigarettes.

now given the current state of the industry, you'd think that no one had tried this before, and anyone who did would make an absolute killing, right? heh.

not only has it been tried, but in so many different ways, I was very impressed by some of the ideas. and the end result every time? the consumers just did not like it. all the things that the consumer wants, are exactly the things that kills the poor bastard off.

naturally, I assumed that the book had to be at least partially spin or marketing, but still...I can agree with their conclusion.

I don't think the solution is to make a safer tobacco or cigarette...obviously we need a secondary "antidote" type product, heh.
posted by dorian at 6:34 AM on January 22, 2003

An interesting study on quantity of nicotine in many brands of cigs commissioned by U.K. Department of Health avaiable here in PDF format or here in HTML format by Google Cache
posted by elpapacito at 6:50 AM on January 22, 2003

You all should really read in depth. The product is not safe because it removes dangerous chemicals, those are still produced when burned. What makes it safer is the lower levels of nicotine that allow a smoker to gradually ween himself from addiction.

What is revolutionary about these cigs is that they gradually move you away from nicotine, like the patch or the gum, but at the same time preserve the "ritual" of smoking, which is important to many of us smokers. In essence, you quit the nicotine first, and then you move away from the habit of pulling out a cigarette and lighting it.

Makes sense to me. Seems like a great anti-smoking ptich.

And this company is on top of their game because they realize that domestically, there will only be more and more restrictions placed on cigarette use. The real money is to be made in helping people quit...
posted by pjgulliver at 6:59 AM on January 22, 2003

pjgulliver works for Vector Tobacco. ;)
posted by password at 10:00 AM on January 22, 2003

No, but I just read a great article about them....maybe in the Wired? Hmmm...I can't seem to find the article on the net.
posted by pjgulliver at 10:08 AM on January 22, 2003

that should read "maybe in the new Wired."

posted by pjgulliver at 10:09 AM on January 22, 2003

i_am_joe's_spleen: I can't find a georgie in the thread, so I assume you mean me.

That's a really good question... And kind of why this news intrigues me. If these cigarettes *taste* real, unlike other low-tar low-nicotine yada yada which (seem to) tend to rely on denser filters and other gimmicks that just amount to getting less smoke, I'd finally be able to find out for sure how much of the attraction is nicotine and how much is other.

I've heard the argument plenty of times that they don't actually taste good, that that's just the addiction talking. I respect it as an opinion, but I'm not about to take it as fact just because someone says so.

As it is, I've got this monkey on my back who may or may not be controlling my perception of the experience, and the rest of the world just points at the monkey. I'd like to know what I'd really experience without the pressure from either side.

With all that said, it's academic for the time being. They're only marketing them in the northeast, and I'm in the southeast.
posted by Gregoire at 10:34 AM on January 22, 2003

LimePi: genetically modified tobacco != more airholes in paper

Still, it's quite possible that they're *also* using the same old tricks. Are they?
posted by Gregoire at 10:58 AM on January 22, 2003

Can't let a discussion of cigarette "safety" and dangers go by without a shout-out to John Jonik, who eats, sleeps and breathes this particular issue. Literally, because he's a smoker - one who is apoplectic at the way "nicotine" and "tobacco" are demonized as the dangers to be eliminated, instead of dioxin and hundreds of other chemicals that are artificially introduced into the composition of almost all cigarettes. (He smokes American Spirit.)
posted by soyjoy at 11:04 AM on January 22, 2003

Gregorie- also note that the so-called "nicotine-free" cigarettes still have .05 mg per ciggy, the same as many "ultra-lite" brands. It's not an academic experiment, either. It's for making money.

Nicotine may not be a carcinogen itself, but it may promote cancer. And, seriously, folks. Inhaling large amounts of smoke from burning plants is not a generally healthy thing to do, primarily because of the tar/CO factor.

Still, there are a lot worse things one can do in this world than to slowly and painfully (eventually) kill oneself and make some really rich assholes in suits a whole lotta money.
posted by LimePi at 3:09 PM on January 22, 2003

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