Everyone seems to be concerned for the environment these days. Products are “going green” and people are encouraged to buy recycled products as well as recycle their waste. It’s good to know that the tobacco companies have been recycling their products for years and you’ve been smoking the waste material. When you pull out a cigarette, only 50% is tobacco. The other 50% is made up of reconstituted tobacco and reclaim.
Reconstituted tobacco is made up of stripped stems, offal – refuse or waste material like all the trash scraped from machinery and swept from the floor – and wood pulp. “Reclaim” is cigarettes that have reached their prime and are sent back to the factory to be reused in new cigarettes. All of this is mixed in a gigantic vat and produces a mixture called the Mother Liquor It’s like putting a million cigarette butts in a jar of water and using the best chemical extraction techniques. Additives and chemicals are added to this mix. Additives including arsenic, benzene and ammonia, which enhances the nicotine in a smokers body, deal with the nicotine manipulation of the product. Nicotine is naturally occurring in tobacco and is chemically bound in the fibers. Tobacco companies extract the freebase form of nicotine using ammonia chemistry and add it to the mother liquor. Freebasing nicotine is like freebasing cocaine. It makes cigarettes 100 times more additive. This gaseous form is more readily absorbed by the lungs. Other additives like chocolate, honey, butter fat, sugar and others, mask the harsh taste. In all, about 599 additives go into this liquid.
Paper, made from offal, dried stems and reclaim, is sprayed or soaked with this mother liquor, dried and shredded into a tobacco-like product known as reconstituted tobacco, which makes up about 30% of the content of a cigarette. The other 20% of the cigarette is a combination of stems, reclaim and expanded tobacco – a puff tobacco product expanded with carbon dioxide that acts like a filler.
So, it seems that the tobacco industry has been recycling its garbage and selling it mixed in with what you thought you were buying, quality tobacco. It’s like buying soured milk mixed in with good milk. I’m sure you won’t notice the difference. Add a little chocolate and it’s all better.