Did you know that cigarettes are still being tested on innocent animals? It’s an unfortunate truth … and in fact, almost all brands test on animals such as cats, dogs, hamsters, Indian pigs, rabbits, and even monkeys.
The first recorded experiment to artificially induce animal tumors by the use of tobacco products was in 1911. Since then, experimentation has evolved and so many animals have suffered.
Look at these horrible pictures from a recent post we did on Instagram:
Animals Are Being Tortured
It’s difficult to think of the torturous experiments being conducted but animals are being forced to breathe cigarette smoke for up to six hours straight, every day — some experiments lasting up to three years. Lab rats are even being forced into tiny canisters where cigarette smoke is pumped right into their noses. The rats are then killed and dissected to examine the harm done to their bodies.
Dogs and monkeys have had tubes attached to holes in their necks or have even had masks strapped to their faces to force smoke into their innocent lungs.
In one study, experimenters at R.J. Reynolds wanted to see the effects of using high-fructose corn syrup to flavor cigarettes. They applied cigarette tar on the skin of 1,000 mice and rats and then forced them to breathe cigarette smoke. Many of the mice died during the study and other mice developed skin tumors — or their skin peeled off. Any of the surviving animals were killed to dissect.
The most common animals used in tobacco experiments have been mice and rats. These animals are highly intelligent mammals who feel pain, fear, loneliness like humans do. They become emotionally attached to each other and even bond with human guardians.
Why Animal Experiments Aren’t the Answer
It’s believed that one of the main strategies the tobacco industry used to cast doubt on the harmful effects of cigarette smoke on humans was to use animal testing.
Different animals have different reactions to toxins and the animals used in experiments aren’t exposed to cigarette smoke in the same way as human smokers. In fact, the link between tobacco and lung cancer in humans was hidden for years because the animal experiments didn’t show the correlation.
In the studies done with rats and mice, the experiments consistently failed to show any link between smoking and cancer. We now know for a fact that smoking causes lung cancer, but the bad science done by the tobacco industry acted as a smokescreen to cover up information that would hurt their business.
The lack of useful information that came from these experiments shows that not all animal testing can be ethically justified. These poor animals died for no reason.
None of the torturous animal experiments would be legal in countries like Belgium, Germany, or the U.K — and tobacco products and their ingredients aren’t required by U.S. law to be tested on animals. Companies can choose to use in vitro — or non-animal — technology, human-based research methods, and the existing body of knowledge from human epidemiological and clinical studies about the health concerns associated with smoking.
Scientists have found that in vitro toxicology tests can be used successfully for better understanding the biological activity of cigarette smoke.
In Germany, Philip Morris laboratories have developed in vitro methods that use human lung tissue for their testing. Philip Morris’ U.S. laboratories continue to use animal testing, though.
The Battle To Stop Tobacco Testing on Animals
Organizations like PETA have been pushing tobacco companies to end experiments on animals for more than a decade. There have been some wins, including Lorillard Tobacco issuing a policy in 2013 to ban all animal testing unless such tests become required by federal regulations.
The war is far from over, though. Even though the U.S. National Cancer Institute is quoted as saying, “There is no safe tobacco product,” the tobacco industry continues to develop and market products that cause addiction and harm to people. If we are to stop them from testing harmful effects on animals, we can’t be silent.
At Karmagawa and SaveTheReef we’re so upset that this is continuing to happen. Health experts have known for decades that smoking cigarettes leads to disease in nearly every organ of the human body … and even though animal tests are poor predictors of these effects, it still continues.
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What do you think about the torturous animal experiments that are occurring within the tobacco industry? What do you think can be done to stop it? Leave a comment below.
Cover Image: Yulia Kozlova/Shutterstock