Countless animals will suffer and die now that newer tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, will be required to have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in order to enter or remain on the market—and one tobacco industry expert isn’t pleased one bit.
In a scathing op-ed, George Gay, an editor for industry publication Tobacco Reporter, writes of the inherent deficiencies of experimenting on animals:
Have you ever tried to get a puppy to sit down with a cup of coffee and vape? No, the puppy will be tested under hugely stressful circumstances that, in respect of inhalation studies, will see her constrained, with a mask covering her mouth and nose through which vapor will be delivered, probably in ludicrous quantities and for periods that, in the case of a cancer study, might last her whole life.
Gay writes that it is “shameful” to test on animals in order to demonstrate the health risks of tobacco to humans and that those who find it acceptable “have a ridiculously inflated view of their own importance.”
Why should countless nonhuman animals be subjected to barbaric experiments so that we can snuggle under a totally threadbare security blanket as we take up what, with all due respect, is a fairly dumb habit.
This dumb habit is also not one that other animals take up freely. In laboratories, experimenters force rats into tiny canisters so that cigarette smoke can be pumped directly into their noses for hours on end. When the experiment is over, the animals are killed and dissected.
“[M]umbo-jumbo,” Gay asserts. Different animals have different reactions to toxins, and, as the rat experiment shows, animals in laboratories aren’t exposed to cigarette smoke in the same manner or time frame as human smokers are. “These experiments are ancient vestiges of a primitive body scientific and should be cut off.”
But what’s the alternative? Paraphrasing PETA’s own Joseph Manuppello, Gay points to the recent successes of cutting-edge technology:
[S]tudies that use in vitro methods have the ability to assess potential modified-risk tobacco products more quickly and to provide more specific, actionable and human-relevant data than do animal studies. In vitro models could also better reflect genetic and environmental differences within the human population.
In addition to in vitro technology, manufacturers can also effectively use human-based research methods and the existing body of knowledge from human epidemiological and clinical studies to ascertain health concerns associated with tobacco. These non-animal methods are humane, more relevant to humans, and usually take less time and money to complete.
What You Can Do
Testing tobacco products on animals has already been banned in Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. Write to the FDA to request that it follow the lead of agencies in these progressive countries by banning tobacco tests on animals:
Center for Tobacco Products
Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Ave.
Document Control Center
Bldg. 71, Rm. G335
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002