Further Information

Relevance of nicotine content of common vegetables to the identification of passive tobacco smokers | E.F. Domino, E. Hombach, T. Demana
Article Published: 1993

Type: Experimental and Technical
Funding Source: Research supported by NIDA Grant 1 RO1 DA 07226
Significance: No Risk Estimate Reported

Published By: Med. sci. Res. 1993; 21, 571-572

Further Information

After paying homage to the superstition that “The health effects and annoyance to nonsmokers who passively inhale tobacco smoke is well documented” to establish sham credibility, the researchers go to great lengths to describe the techniques used to measure nicotine in non-smokers who have not been exposed to passive smoking but do show cotinine and nicotine in their excretions.

They then proceed with the discovery that nicotine is everywhere, and describe some of the culprits:  potatoes, cauliflowers, ripe tomatoes, uncooked eggplant, and commercial pureed peeled tomatoes, for example. Specifics include citation that green tomatoes have about 10 times as much nicotine as do the same strain of ripe tomatoes, that "Potato peel, eggplant, green peppers and especially green and instant tea also contained nicotine," and that cauliflower the highest content of nicotine, while green peppers have none.

Evil, harmful nicotine seems to be anywhere. It is quite amazing that Mother Nature seeded the planet with such evil, threatening, addictive substance!

This also constitutes a serious confounder when measuring the exposure of non-smokers to passive smoking: "The nonsmoker would need to be in a low concentration smoky room for ... 465 to 774 min to obtain the equivalent amount of nicotine to eating about one pound of medium sized potatoes available from one particular supermarket in Ann Arbor, MI."

“It appears that the dietary intake of nicotine in nonsmokers is of practical importance in the interpretation of passive smoke inhalation by nonsmokers when determining blood and urinary nicotine and cotinine levels.”

In short, a reliable measurement cannot be achieved, but even if it were, the implication is that exposure means risk. That is simply false. The mere existence of traces of tobacco smoke in the air is no evidence whatsoever of risk. "Passive smoking" in any quantity has never been demonstrated as a risk. Thus the whole exercise of attempting to measure exposure is an exercise in futility in the first place.

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