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What Smokers Really Smoke

A humorous and well-written investigation of cigarettes has been posted by the Wall Street Journal.

Under “c” alone we find cardamom oil, carob bean extract, cinnamon oil, coffee extract, coriander oil, corn syrup and an oil made from camomile flowers. Gone, apparently, are some that appear in earlier lists: “civet absolute,” for example, which turns out to be a secretion from the anal gland of the civet cat, and castoreum, a comparable secretion from the Siberian beaver.

The real story here actually is that the massive amount of data generated by litigation over risk has allowed researchers to mine for historic ingredient information. Another way to look at it is that transparency forced by compliance upon product manufacturers and providers has led to some surprises.

Note: “secretion from the anal gland of the civet cat” might sound unusual but it also has been used by the sugar industry as an “ingredient in the food additives used to add butter, caramel, and rum flavorings to sweets”.

Posted in Food, History, Security.

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