❝ …The connection between junk food and cigarettes runs…deep…as Gary Taubes details in a revelatory chapter of his book The Case Against Sugar, set to be released on Dec. 27.
Taubes…argues that sugar is the main driver of the chronic diseases plaguing Western civilization in the 21st century, including (but not limited to) diabetes, heart disease, and obesity…
But wedged between chapters on the long history of humans’ insatiable lust for sugar…and the economic resilience of sweets is a little-known story: the alliance between the sugar and tobacco industries.
❝ Tobacco itself has a natural sugar content, which curing alters. While flue-curing increases the sugar content, making the tobacco more palatable for smokers, it also results in lower content of nicotine, an addictive stimulant. By early in the 20th century, the industry had found a way to make its product both more enjoyable to smoke and higher in nicotine. Air-curing Burley tobacco creates relatively high levels of easily absorbed nicotine; sugar-soaking, which follows, enhances flavor.
Soon, “sugar-sauced” Burley tobacco was being blended into R.J. Reynolds’s Camels, and other manufacturers followed suit, Taubes writes. By 1929, more than 50 million pounds of sugar a year were being used to “candy up” the tobacco in more than 120 billion American cigarettes…
❝ For this chapter, Taubes relies largely on Tobacco and Sugar, a 1950 report by the Sugar Research Foundation, the industry trade group at the time, that openly celebrated the union.
“Were it not for sugar,” said Wightman Garner, a former U.S. Department of Agriculture tobacco official quoted in the report, “the American blended cigarette and with it the tobacco industry of the United States would not have achieved such tremendous development as it did in the first half of this century.” Later in the report, the author refers to the development as “this most promising field of sugar utilization.” The combination, the report says, was a “stroke of genius.”
Recent industry-funded research has found that the added sugar doesn’t increase the toxicity of the cigarettes, but other studies confirm that it does make cigarettes taste better, getting people to smoke more of them.
Disgusting way to maintain, encourage, an addiction.