I must admit that I am way, way out of my depth here, but there are some interesting things worth observing.
Nicotinic acid is one of a group of vitamins known as Vitamin B3. It you do not have sufficient B3 in your diet, you might suffer from pellagra – dermatitis (very badly), diarrhoea, mental problems, etc. It is a very bad condition and can kill.
Rose found some information which dates back to the 1940s. It concerns how nicotine converts into nicotinic acid. You can read the links in the comments to:
My post of two days ago.
Here is the critical quote:
October 3, 1941
Referring to the subject of nicotinic acid, or the anti-pellagra vitamin, in cigarette smoke, permit us to state that we have heard from the University of Wisconsin, and are pleased to report that they have confirmed our findings in every respect. In other words, in aqueous solution of the smoke from ten Old Golds they find .8 milligrams of nicotinic acid,”
Now, it is said that nicotinic acid is oxidised nicotine. As far as I know, nicotinic acid is not found in tobacco as such. It only appears after the tobacco has been burnt. It appears in the smoke. But here is a funny thing. According to my cig packet and the net, each individual cig has 0.8 mg of nicotine, whereas the above quote says that 0.8 mg of niacin is the product of 10 cigs, so what happens to the nicotine when the tobacco is burnt? It is very obvious that all the tobacco is incinerated, but could it be that not all the nicotine is oxidised? How could that be? “Consumed by fire” must surely mean total oxidisation. Or does a lot of the nicotine remain locked in the ash? Surely these questions must have been asked and answered decades ago. Are we ‘not being told’ the truth?
Right. Just for fun, let’s look at the chemical formulae for nicotine and nicotinic acid:
Nicotine: C10, H14, N2. (10 atoms of carbon, 14 atoms of hydrogen and 2 atoms of nitrogen).
Nicotinic acid: C6, H5, N, O2.
So, if nic acid is oxidised nic, then, during the oxidisation process (burning), the molecule loses 4 carbon atoms, 9 hydrogen atoms and 1 nitrogen atom, but acquires 2 oxygen atoms. Or does it split up and reorganise itself into what are essentially two molecules? If so, where do the extra 2 atoms of carbon come from? I suppose that they must come from the material of the leaf.
OK, OK. I know very well that the properties of a molecule are not the same as those of its constituent atoms. For example, salt (another essential bodily nutrient) is quite different, in its effects, than its component elements would have (sodium and chlorine). Both the elements are dangerous on their own, but, in combination, are essential ‘catalysts’ (for lack of a better word) in the processes of metabolism.
But I would still like to know why not all the nicotine in tobacco is converted to nicotinic acid when the tobacco undergoes combustion, if that is the case, and why it still exists as nicotine in the smoke.
I mean, there is a pretty serious point here, surely? You have dried tobacco leaf. You set fire to it, which means that you oxidise it. As a result, ash forms and smoke forms and various gases are emitted. The most common molecule emitted is water vapour. We inhale the smoke and the gases and the water vapour, I suppose, when we take a puff. All very odd.
But, once again, we see that we are not being told the whole story. For decades, a semblance of ‘truth’ has been known, but we don’t know what that ‘truth’ is. We only know what the propaganda has built up over those decades.
Tobacco companies have not helped one bit over those decades. For example, here is another quote:
“In other words, analyzed the saliva, which would have otherwise been swallowed. No nicotinic acid occurred in the smoker’s saliva before smoking. We feel that we have made this report sufficiently long to cover the discoveries, which we regard as quite remarkable. If you have any questions in the matter or suggestions, we will be glad to hear from you, We would also be interested in learning your opinion of the material for advertising purposes, as, of course, this constitutes it’s principle value” [My bold].
In other words, TobComs could advertise their fags as being ‘good for health’ since they provided vitamin B3. I don’t know if they ever did, but that is not the point. The point is in the phrase “…as, of course, this constitutes it’s principle value”. In retrospect, what might have been a damned sight more valuable might have been a thorough analysis of the stuff we inhale when we puff on a cig, including the air mixed in with it. When I take a puff, there is air in my mouth – a lot of it compared with the smoke. When I blow the smoke out, I blow out the smoke and the air that is already in my mouth. What is in the air in my mouth? Could there be formaldehyde and all sorts of other compounds?
Enough. I think that we have been seeing, for the past several decades, a simplification of a very, very complex matter for propaganda purposes, and, in recent times, the simplification has become a torrent of abuse, both in scientific terms and the demonisation of smokers.
Anyone who isn’t absolutely sick of it is denormalised.