In his article Tobacco Road in the June issue of Agenda, Arwulf Arwulf points out that "When a cigarette is manufacturad by today's American standards, some nsane list of Chemicals are employed in the process. It's astounding what's in there." Indeed it is, but we don't know precisely which Chemicals are added to particular brands, or in what amounts, because of collusion between the tobáceo industry and the U.S. government. Though the tobáceo ndustry is required by law to provide the U.S. Department of Health and Human vices with a list of all the ingredients which are added to cigarettes, Federal officials obligingly lock this list in a safe, and there are criminal penalties for disclosing the information it contains. Shellac, acetone, turpentine, and methyl salicylate - a substance that has caused birth defects in hamsters when administered either orally or on the skin - are among the many additives American cigarettes are thought to contain. But again, we can 't be certain because the cigarette companies won't reveal this information, and neither will the government. An informative discussion of cigarette additives, and the government's role in keeping them secret, can be found in "What Goes Up in Smoke?", an article by Myron Levin in the December 23, 1991 issue of The Nation. The Ann Arbor public library, main branch, has a copy. Several months ago I spoke with Levin and asked him if he thought the new administration would end this collusion. He wasn't hopeful. The reason? 'Tobacco," he told me, "is the one bright spot in our balance of trade."
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