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I certainly accept the basis of the tobacco companies' claim that nicotine is not really a drug. The notion that the packaging of nicotine is highly natural process. Having said that, I do believe that many of the tobacco companies add elements to the process of preparing nicotine that helps to enhance its addictive quality. It is this preparation that, in my mind, makes nicotine a drug and can fit the conditions of a drug. When the FDA passed more regulations and examined the practices of the tobacco companies in a more transparent light, it was revealed that much of what was being done in tobacco preparation helps to enhance the drug like qualities of nicotine.
Regulating smoking: Nicotine certainly is a drug. I do not know anything about government's legal definitions of drugs and devices.
It does not follow from nicotine being a drug that the government has any business in my personal life regulating my tobacco habits.
There was once an advertisement for a brand of cigarettes that labled it the thinking man's cigarette. Which of course was baloney: the thinking man does not smoke. But what if the nonthinking man chooses to smoke? What business is that of government, except that a lot of self-righteous, do-gooders are insisting upon regulations and prohibitions making the lives of everyone else more like their own "enlightened" life, and they do vote. And give a bureaucrat a cause on which to spend money and thereby create a job or a kingdom for himself, and he will do it regardless of the merit of the cause. "Regulate cigarettes? Glad to do it, and, oh, by the way, we need a budget increase." The better to keep busy and appear important or needed.
Regulate tobacco, then what is next? Hibiscus tea? It has a theraputic effect on high blood pressure. It has been used without regulation for thousands of years. "But by golly, all drugs should be regulated! If you start making exceptions, you will have people doing harm to themselves." Durn it, people know tobacco is unhealthy for them; it's not like anyone is forcing anyone else to smoke, nor is the knowledge that tobacco is bad for health being hidden from anyone.
I do agree that nicotine is a drug. Nicotine is incredibly addictive and can lead to many health issues such as lung cancer and emphysema. It is also very dangerous when pregnant women smoke because cigarettes can lead to low birth weight babies.
Cigarettes (and smokeless tobacco as well) are classified as nicotine delivery devices under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. They are classified this way because they deliver ingredients to the body that are very dangerous. I agree that they should be classified this way. These kinds of things must be regulated.
Here is what the FDA has to say about it:
After intensive investigation and careful consideration of the public comments, FDA concludes that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco meet the statutory definition of a drug and a device. This conclusion is based on two determinations: (1) nicotine in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco does "affect the structure or any function of the body," and (2) these effects on the structure and function of the body are "intended" by the manufacturers.
The Agency's determination that nicotine in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco does "affect the structure or any function of the body" is based on three central findings:
- Nicotine in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco causes and sustains addiction.
- Nicotine in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco causes other psychoactive (mood-altering) effects, including tranquilization and stimulation.
- Nicotine in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco controls weight.
A drug is defined as any substance that has a physiological effect on the human body when you take it, so I would have to agree that nicotine is a drug. It is a stimulant in cigarettes, and has highly addictive properties, so I cannot see a way to argue that it is not a drug.
Cigarettes are a delivery method specifically designed to deliver nicotine and other substances to the human bloodstream, by being inhaled and then absorbed through the alveoli in the lungs. So yes, I do also believe that cigarettes are a device as stated by the FDA.
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