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Nicotine-Free Cigs, Genetically Engineered 547

jim.b0b writes "Wired has an interesting article about nicotine-free cigarettes, made from genetically engineered tobacco grown by Amish farmers. Vector Tobacco is hoping that their Quest cigarettes will make them a viable competitor to RJR and Phillip Morris. Don't worry, they are nicotine-free, not carcinogen-free."
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Nicotine-Free Cigs, Genetically Engineered

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  • Amish? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:10PM (#5177258)
    They'll grow genetically engineered food, but they won't use technology?

  • Re:Wait.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twofidyKidd ( 615722 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:12PM (#5177273)
    Im a smoker. I can go without smoking for a few days if the need be. I'm not as addicted to the nicotine as I am the psychological connection to the action of smoking. I'm one of those people that need something to do with their hands and so out in a bar, or social situation, its comforting to smoke. I think that, for me is the real addiction. What I really could do without is all the carcinogens, which are still present in the amish smokes...
  • The point. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by twofidyKidd ( 615722 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:18PM (#5177320)
    The point of these cigarettes are to help people trying to quit smoking, actually succeed by slowly weaning themselves off the chemical dependency of nicotine. After that, they can address the psychological dependency of having something to puff on.

    "Asking smokers to quit smoking is like telling people to get out from under the sun, its not going to you sell them sunscreen."

  • Re:Wait.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yuckf00 ( 644870 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:18PM (#5177321)
    Because the bigger part of the addition is mental, not physical. Some people develop an oral fixation for cigarettes. I've been smoking for 8 years now and haven't been able to stop. The addiction is really bad. One time, I was on the patch for several weeks. I was doing pretty good (didn't smoke at all). One night I realized I didn't have my patch on and I had just went the whole day without one. I immediately freaked out and needed a cigarette. That's when I realized my problem is more mental, less physical.
  • Re:Hahahaha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:23PM (#5177367)
    Not to be contrary but as far as I understand it (IANA - I Am Not Amish) The Amish do not shun all technology as a matter of course.. They evaluate technology for it's impact on their way of life. If the impact is negative (by their criteria, which may have a spiritual component) then the tech is yanked.

    A couple years ago wired published an article [] about the Amish evaluating cell phones and I found if a very engrossing read.

    As a technophile the Amish (Perhaps mislabeled as technophobes) completely fascinate me. Like trying to get the perspective from the other side of the coin. never a bad thing in my mind.
  • by cygnus ( 17101 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:24PM (#5177370) Homepage
    With the Quest, nicotine dependency can for the first time be separated from the ritual. Once the addiction is addressed, smokers will have an easier time breaking the habit.

    subject says it all... why don't we worry about weaning the cancer-causing part of the habit first? there are few side effects to a typical dosage of nicotine, but many to typical dosages of cigarette smoke (and attendant formaldahyde, ammonia, dioxine, urine, and whatever else they put into cigarettes).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:25PM (#5177386)
    On Sunday I was a smoker. On monday I went through terrible withdrawl, broke down and bummed a cigarette. I have smoked for 5 years. Monday evening, I bought a homeopathic remedy, called Smoke Control by Bio King. It really did cut down on the cravings very greatly. Today, I bought a pack of Vector's Quest Brand Nicotive Free cigarettes. Here's how it works for me: I smoke these things. They give me the satisfaction of having something to puff on, but no nicotine, helping me break my physhical addiction. After I am done with that I can work on my psychological and social addiction. But right now, I can still smoke, while preparing to be a person who no longer smokes at all. Basically, they are a step on the ladder.

    I have to give massive Kudos to Vector for releasing these because they are really helping me quit. I would reccomend them, as well as the homeopathic remedy to anyone who is trying to quit smoking.
  • by Mantorp ( 142371 ) <mantorp 'funny A'> on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:26PM (#5177395) Homepage Journal
    Did they catch on? I remember the new stories when they came out but I never saw them anywhere.
  • by kippy ( 416183 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:38PM (#5177478)
    I'm willing to bet that blind studies, people will have as difficult a time quitting from these are from regular smokes.

    I'm really interested to see the outcome of an addiction study where two groups are given these nicotine free smokes and one group is told that they are smoking regular ones.

    This is pure speculation here but I'm betting that the mere thought of them being addictive is enough to make them "addicted".

    Similarly, I'd like to see if people who thought they were smoking nicotine free cigarettes have an easier time quitting even if they are smoking regular ones.

    depending on how such a study turns out, big tobacco could tell all those bozos to take all their lawsiuts and shove them.
  • by CrayzyJ ( 222675 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:51PM (#5177572) Homepage Journal
    >why don't we worry about weaning the cancer-causing >part of the habit first?

    After n years of a pack a day, a few weeks of Quest is not going to change much. Wearing the patch keeps the nicotine level up, but there is soooo much more to smoking. People who believe otherwise have never smoked. To this day I cannot have a beer w/o a smoke. Hey, if I could do that and not get hooked for the 11-teenth time - sweet.

  • That's great but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Marqis ( 197235 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @06:57PM (#5177600) Homepage

    what we really need is a stink-free and smoke-free cigarette so us non-smokers can go out to a club without having to throw away our clothes the next day.

    I'm praying they pass the smoke-free law here in Calgary, Canada.

  • by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:00PM (#5177620)

    And that's why it will never happen [].

    "Since the technology exists to reduce nicotine in cigarettes to insignificant levels, why, one is led to ask, does the industry keep nicotine in cigarettes at all?"

    Because our government is in on the deal. It scolds Big Tobacco with one hand and lights up with the other.

  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:06PM (#5177666)
    If Marlboro were to sell nic-free cigarettes, and that caused people to lose their addiction, therefore causing probably a good number of them to quit, wouldn't that be a hit to the bottom line?
  • Re:Bad, very bad (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:11PM (#5177725)
    Getting rid of the physical addiction is easy...after about 24 hours, u don't feel the need for nicotine - i don't care what the doctors/scientists say about this - but as stated earlier, the addiction is mental, it's not denial, its the truth, i've stopped smoking for months at a time, but still have the mental addiction - oh and the oral fixation part...
  • by finse ( 63518 ) <> on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:17PM (#5177781) Homepage Journal
    Indeed nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the entire world, perhaps second only to herion.
    I started smoking in 7th grade. I continued smoking until I was 22, then quit. Cold turkey, It lasted 11 months. Then I meet this girl, start dating. She is a social smoker, only smokes at the clubs and such, she helps me become additiced again.
    I smoked until I was 24 (minus the 11 month interlude). Now I am 26 and a non smoker for 2 years. If you are wondering how I did it? Well the answer is will power and my wanting to breathe. See I have asthma, I wasnt born with it, I got it from smoking. Try not being able to breathe. This is all the motivation you will ever need. Dont give up on quiting. It gets easier every time. My grandmother smoked for over 50 years and kicked the habbit, so can you. Good luck man!
  • Re:Wait.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by UpnAtom ( 551727 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:27PM (#5177867) Homepage
    There's one called Eclipse, featured in an excellent documentary called In Search of a Safer Cigarette []. They found that the standard drying process created 99% of the carcinogens in the tobacco.

    But burning any organic substance produces lots of carcinogens.

    Eclipse contains no tobacco, yet looks, works and supposedly smells & tastes like a cigarette.

    For those of you lacking willpower, I've made freely available a method that will make becoming an ex-smoker much easier [].

  • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:28PM (#5177873) Homepage
    The problem with the poison in unnatural cigarettes is the chemicals that enhance the addictive qualities of nicotine. If you smoke a Cigar or Nat Sherman natural cigarette you are far less likely to become physically dependant. The real problem, of course, is the habitual nature of smoking.
  • I mean seriously... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:29PM (#5177876) Journal
    from the story: While Amish law doesn't prohibit GM crops, it does dictate that farming be done without the aid of modern machinery.

    Geez ya think? I mean a bunch of insular 'backward' people without electicity following guideines made over a century ago? How could these guys conceive of DNA much less genetic enginnering?

  • by mvdwege ( 243851 ) <> on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:30PM (#5177884) Homepage Journal

    Start smoking a pipe! There are several brands of pipe tobacco that can deliver a mean nicotine hit purely through the membranes of the mouth, and they taste good to boot.

    Also, even though pipe-smoking is not entirely risk free, its harmful effects get lost in the noise of modern life. The common joke is that pipe-smoking is as bad as eating red meat. Doing the latter in excess will increase your chances of cardiovascular problems, but in moderation it is not harmful. So also with pipe-smoking.

    And finally, the smell of quality tobacco is generally considered nice by non-smokers, unless you smoke really heavy aromatics.

    So drop those ciggies, and pick up a pipe!

    Mart (happy pipe smoker)
  • by leek ( 579908 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @07:37PM (#5177923)
    In related news, Non-smokers could find themselves being prescribed nicotine patches to combat Alzheimer's disease []

    To me it is folly to tie the health effects of tobacco, good or bad, with public policy [].

    Individuals should be free to smoke, but be held responsible for the natural consequences. This holds for "good tobacco" or "bad tobacco", as well as other drugs.

    (Full disclosure: Non-smoker. Ex-smoker, but not against smoking where permitted by property owners.)

  • by unicron ( 20286 ) < minus cat> on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @08:32PM (#5178252) Homepage
    Not to be a dick, but you don't want to quit. You have to want to. I'm a smoker, and I enjoy it. It's more social than anything else. Hell, in 5 years time I'll just have em whip me up a few new organs so that angles covered. I do it because I get my halo on with a friends for a few hours then we walk outside. It's social, and I get my best conversations in at that time. I'd rather live 50 years how I want than 60 years living how I should.

    As for addiction, I used to know a group of guys that were all heroin junkies. Ok guys when they were clean, but when they had to have that fix, they were rough to be around. One of them used to quit cold-turkey for 6 months at a time to clean himself up, and he was so determined to look hard around us, I never once saw him withdrawling..that's some friggin willpower.
  • by cornice ( 9801 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @08:58PM (#5178376)
    If you want to see a film that attempts to make sense of some of this see Devil's Playground []. It's about the period in an Amish youth's life called Rumspringa. It's when 16 year old Amish kids walk on the wild side.

    The Amish believe that a person should be baptised only after choosing the Amish church. They also believe that this decision should only be made freely by an informed adult. Rumspringa results in a crazy part of Amish life which is fascinating. These seemingly naive, bonnet wearin', buggy drivin' kids party like rock stars. The outcome is equally as fascinating. Each year these kids battle with harsher and more adicting drugs and more tempting technology but the return rate has never been higher.

    I got to see the director's Q&A session at Sundance last year and it was incredible to see this young, intelegent, well educated, beautiful woman talk about her feelings towards the Amish. On one hand she saw them as opressive yet on the other hand she saw a life of loving and belonging that she never saw anyplace else.
  • why it won't work (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brer_rabbit ( 195413 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @09:15PM (#5178467) Journal
    I've heard that the physical addiction to nicotine is gone after 3 days (sorry, no sources available). After three days the addiction is purely psychological. It's known that the psychological addiction is a lot harder to break than the physical. Having a lit cigarette in hand, whether or not it contains nicotine, is not going to do much to ween off the psychological addiction.
  • Yes! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cpuenvy ( 544708 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @09:58PM (#5178749) Homepage
    This is the news I have been waiting for. I have been having a very tough time quitting cigarettes, and I know it is the nicotine, which is said to be more addictive than heroin. Take the nicotine out, even gradually, and I think more people have a chance.

    I am looking into buying some when they come to my area. As a matter of fact, I am going to talk to a local tobacco shop tomorrow, and ask them to carry these cigarettes. If anything, I think this is approach is better than gum, patches, or lozenges.

    Parting shot: The fact that these cigarettes contain carcinogens is irrelevant. What is relevant, however, is the following... Millions of smokers cannot quit because of the power of nicotine. No nicotine, no smokers. Period.
  • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @10:11PM (#5178824) Homepage
    What I'd like to see is the ability buy a BIG box of these babies. Like a shoe-box full. All exactly alike in taste, look, feel, smell, etc. Except 25% of them have 100% tobacco, 25% are at 58%, 25% are at 17%, and 25% are at 0.

    That would work well for me.

    Maybe they could even sell shoeboxes full with different proportions.
  • Re:Hahahaha (Score:3, Interesting)

    by La.swamprat ( 548423 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2003 @11:05PM (#5179062)
    There are many different degree of Amish and many different degrees of Menonite. Some embrace pieces of technology others do not. On a trip to Lancaster last summer I saw Amish people bailing something on their farm (alfalfa?). There was a diesel powered bailer on a trailer being pulled by horses.

    Pennsylvania law requires anyone who produce dairy to keep their milk refridgerated (not on ice) The electricity to run the refridgerators comes from generators. Some feel as long as they are not connected to the grid, its ok.
  • by TGK ( 262438 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @12:06AM (#5179396) Homepage Journal
    What if there's another agenda.

    Cigarettes are addictive.
    Nicotine makes Cigarettes addictive.
    Selling an addictive product to children is wrong.

    Nicotine free cigaretts are not addictive, but still carry all the image and appeal (to the youth croud) of smoking. Many here have said the habbit of smoking is just as powerfull as the addiction.

    Has anyone considered the possibility that this could be the first step in an attempt to change the tobacco laws into Nicotine laws?

    It kills two birds with one stone. Sell cigarettes to minors and tax Niqoderm and Nicorette.

  • by fenix down ( 206580 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @03:21AM (#5180254)
    You kind of assembled a lot of incomplete anecdotes there.

    Yes, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and other stuff do have nicotine in them, but not a hell of a lot. The leaves produce the nicotine to keep bugs away. The roots and fruits don't. The nicotine you get in those foods is just what's drifted through the plant. (that's where the thing about not eating the green parts of potato chips comes from, those parts would have more nicotine, but it's not so bad that you'd die or anything) And I've never heard the figures on yearly potato-related deaths. Preparing potatoes doesn't get rid of the nicotene anyway. I guess maybe fungus on potatoes might do something, but I'd like to see that explained a little more maybe.

    Alright. You say that pipes and cigars aren't addictive, which is just shit. They add crap to cigarettes to speed up the addiction process, and it's tougher to smoke as often with cigars or pipes, but you'll still get addicted. Just because they haven't issued the Surgeon General's warning on cigars yet doesn't mean they build strong bones and freshen your breath.


    Crap. This was a troll wasn't it? I missed the "people invented fire so they could smoke" line the first time through. And the way you replied to the other guy kinda threw me off. Awsome one though. Got me writing like a page here. Well, at least I got to bring up some of my ammusing anecdotes. I look forward to your future work, baby.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @03:24AM (#5180264)
    what the heck. nicotine is good for you. it helps blood clot. it's all the other crap in cigarettes that kills you.
  • like diet chocolate? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hokanomono ( 530164 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2003 @04:19AM (#5180414) Homepage

    Ultra lights have been an increasingly popular cigarette because of the low amount of nicotine, I suspect this will definitely increase Vectors market share.

    "The more diet products you eat, the faster you slim." Clearly, it doesn't work for the consumer, but it works well for the producer. If the pizza is only half size eat two to get stuffed. In the result you will just spend more money to get what you need. With cigarets it also means, you consume more toxines to get the same amount of nicotine.

    If you don't smoke for the nicotine but want to have something to play with, use a straw!

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.