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Nicotine-Free Cigs, Genetically Engineered

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the all-the-cancer-none-of-the-high dept.

Science 547

jim.b0b writes "Wired has an interesting article about nicotine-free cigarettes, made from genetically engineered tobacco grown by Amish farmers. Vector Tobacco is hoping that their Quest cigarettes will make them a viable competitor to RJR and Phillip Morris. Don't worry, they are nicotine-free, not carcinogen-free."

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genetically engineered tobacco? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177225)

Grown by Amish farmers? Hmm... Something about this doesn't smell right. ;-)

Hahahaha (4, Funny)

zapfie (560589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177227)

...genetically engineered tobacco grown by Amish farmers

'nuff said.

Re:Hahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177270)

Was the author smoking pot when he heard of this "genetically engineered tobacco grown by Amish farmers?"

Re:Hahahaha (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177367)

Not to be contrary but as far as I understand it (IANA - I Am Not Amish) The Amish do not shun all technology as a matter of course.. They evaluate technology for it's impact on their way of life. If the impact is negative (by their criteria, which may have a spiritual component) then the tech is yanked.

A couple years ago wired published an article [] about the Amish evaluating cell phones and I found if a very engrossing read.

As a technophile the Amish (Perhaps mislabeled as technophobes) completely fascinate me. Like trying to get the perspective from the other side of the coin. never a bad thing in my mind.

This just in (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177375)

We've been genetically engineering animals and plants for a few thousand years.

Re:Hahahaha (2, Funny)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177419)

I can understand genetically engineered tabacco, they bought the seeds from another company.

BUT the caption on the picture was REALLY funny.

An Amish farmer takes a cell phone call as transgenic tobacco dries inside his 250-year-old barn in Holland, Pennsylvania.

Re:Hahahaha (5, Informative)

br0ck (237309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177429)

I agree that this does sound like a contradiction, but I went to eat at an Amish restaraunt last summer and was surprised to read a pamphlet about their lifestyle that said they don't shun technology outright. Instead they are trying to avoid intrusions into the home, maintain Gelassenheit (simplicity and modesty) and stay seperate from the rest of the world. The Amish leaders consider each technology carefully before deciding whether to allow it into the community. They don't drive cars because they are status symbols. They don't have electrical outlets because they connect to the world, but they do have generator and batteries. Community telephones are allowed and some Amish men carry mobile phones. There are some definitely some weird contradictions like tractors are ok, but pneumatic tires aren't, so they only use tractors with steel wheels.

More info: Amish Telephones [] The Amish: Technology [] The Amish Get Wired. The Amish? [] Amish FAQ []

Just get yourselves a Wired subscription already. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177229)

I already read all this stuff. The magazine is sitting in my restroom collecting dust. I trust slashdot to get me news that isn't a rehash of the Wired periodical weeks after the issue has come out.

Wait.. (5, Insightful)

Ruis (21357) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177242)

IANAS (I am not a smoker) but isn't the reason most people smoke for the nicotine?
That's like alcohol-free beer. What's the point?

Re:Wait.. (5, Interesting)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177273)

Im a smoker. I can go without smoking for a few days if the need be. I'm not as addicted to the nicotine as I am the psychological connection to the action of smoking. I'm one of those people that need something to do with their hands and so out in a bar, or social situation, its comforting to smoke. I think that, for me is the real addiction. What I really could do without is all the carcinogens, which are still present in the amish smokes...

Re:Wait.. (4, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177368)

Im a smoker. I can go without smoking for a few days if the need be. I'm not as addicted to the nicotine as I am the psychological connection to the action of smoking.

In other words, there's no real reason you'd choose this cigarette over one with nicotine.

To extrapolate... who the *hell* wants nicotine-free cigarettes? The whole POINT of cigarettes is that by smoking, you get some nicotine in your blood stream.

I guess, maybe, that the deal is that you can try to wean yourself off the nicotine by smoking ciggies with no nicotine in them. But taste is really important to smokers, so unless they have Nicotine-free Marlboros and Camels and American Spirits, I can't see that working too well. You'll try one pack of these things and go back to your favorite brand.

This is even worse than that new Michelob Ultra Light beer. You know where the calories in beer come from? Alcohol. So what's gonna happen? You'll have more Ultra Light beers until you get the buzz you are looking for. Except that here, you just keep smoking, looking for the buzz that never comes, until you get emphyzema from huffing nicotine-free smoke hoping to get the nonexistent rush.

If anyone can see a use for this product, let me know. Maybe, you could use it to educate kids that smoking is gross (by forcing them to smoke) without exposing them to nicotine, but that's certainly a niche market.

Of course, if marketed properly this could be something HUGE. Just because I don't see a need for it doesn't mean that sexy chicks can't sell it to horny guys.

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177384)

What I really could do without is all the carcinogens, which are still present in the amish smokes...

Don't light it then.

Re:Wait.. (1)

los furtive (232491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177400)

I don't smoke, but while I was in the army a lot of my friends smoked. I often commented on the same reflex they all had of looking for their cigarettes in their breast pocket, kind of like a baseball coach sending a signal to a pitcher.

More than one friend admitted that they realized they were more than just casual smokers when they caught themselves reaching for their breast pocket even when wearing a T-shirt (one admitted to doing it a few times while not wearing any shirt at all!). Sadly, it only becomes an addiction after has become a habit.

Re:Wait.. (2, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177454)

Im a smoker. I can go without smoking for a few days if the need be. I'm not as addicted to the nicotine as I am the psychological connection to the action of smoking.


Re:Wait.. (4, Informative)

guido1 (108876) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177291)

From the article:
The idea is that people will be able to wean themselves from nicotine while continuing to smoke. Smokers are attached to the ritual, LeBow explains. Forcing them to fight both the addiction to nicotine and the habit of smoking makes it less likely that they'll succeed in quitting. With the Quest, nicotine dependency can for the first time be separated from the ritual. Once the addiction is addressed, smokers will have an easier time breaking the habit.

The point of the article... can be found in the article. Whoa.

Re:Wait.. (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177297)

I wondered about this as well. And since it's nut just the nicotine that hurts you, are they really doing anyone a favor? Oh, these won't hurt me... there isn't any nicotine. WFT?

Inhaling smoke of any sort can't be good for you.

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177301)

If people were doing it for the nicotine/alcohol, they'd buy and consume pure nicotine/ethanol instead.

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177371)

...and promptly die.

Re:Wait.. (1)

SolubleFrank (637562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177308)

That's *exactly* why people smoke. People will buy this amish cigarettes, smoke a few then run and buy some standard smokes to get their hit. They are trying to sell you a way to quit, when in actual fact they are selling cancer without the 'good bit'.

Re:Wait.. (2, Interesting)

yuckf00 (644870) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177321)

Because the bigger part of the addition is mental, not physical. Some people develop an oral fixation for cigarettes. I've been smoking for 8 years now and haven't been able to stop. The addiction is really bad. One time, I was on the patch for several weeks. I was doing pretty good (didn't smoke at all). One night I realized I didn't have my patch on and I had just went the whole day without one. I immediately freaked out and needed a cigarette. That's when I realized my problem is more mental, less physical.

Chemical addiction has a physical component (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177414)

> That's when I realized my problem is more mental, less physical.

Yes and no. Your brain's neuroreceptors have been tweaked to *need* nicotine. So while there's the "social habituation" factor, there's a very real physical component to the addiction for many as well. Yourself included probably. Your freak-out was a sign of exactly that, I'll wager.

Good friend of mind, well-versed in the world of recreational chemicals, told me it was harder for him to quit cigs (nicotine) than heroin.

Grand Theft Auto - now that is a mental addiction. Then again...

Re:Wait.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177326)

A lot of people started smoking for the nicotine, but now cannot quit due to addiction. This may be a stepping stone to being free from said addiction.

Re:Wait.. (1)

the gnat (153162) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177330)

I think a lot of people smoke just to be "cool" and "sophisticated". Teenagers, for example, don't start smoking for the nicotine fix. That's the reason they continue to smoke, but not the reason they start. This will fill the needs of the large "idiot" market in America. Carcinogens without the buzz- might as well start snorting asbestos.

I started smoking for the nicotine, because it actually helped me concentrate especially when I was working obscene hours and sleeping very little. One might argue that this is just as stupid as the 15-year-old who wants to act mature, I suppose. (My excuse was that college would knock more years off my life than smoking would. I would have done amphetamines instead if I knew a good source.)

Re:Wait.. (1)

CrayzyJ (222675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177337)

You missed the point completely. There are two addictions when smoking: mental associations and physical addictions. Breaking both addictions at the same time is very, very hard. Breaking one and then the other, I bet makes quitting much easier.

Some people, btw, like to smoke socially - not for nicotine but because cigs (not sigs) go grrreat with beer. I hate that desire for a smoke after being out drinking all night just because I bummed a few smokes. I think this product is great for the part timer who loves the taste but doesn't want the nic-fit the next morning.

Alcohol-free beer (2, Insightful)

Vic (6867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177382)

You're making a big assumption that most people only drink beer because it has alcohol.

For me, I'd be delighted to find a good-tasting alcohol-free beer. Or even a very low-alcohol beer. To me, it's the taste of having a good beer that is most important, although I admit that the alcohol is a nice bonus most of the time. ;-)

But imagine being able to have a couple of stouts at lunch time, and then still being able to operate heavy machinery without killing someone (or running servers without bringing your corporate web server to its knees)? That would kick ass. Beer tastes so good.

The non-alcohol beers, unfortunately, are not worth getting....


Re:Alcohol-free beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177470)

Wow, is it really April 1st already?

Nope (2, Funny)

Guitarzan (57028) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177422)

People smoke so they can stink, and make everyone around them stink as well.

What's the point? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177244)

I get all of the toxic chemicals and none of the "pleasing" drugs? Burning wood chips is cheaper.

Oh yeah - how will this compete with tomacco?

Next: THC-Free Marijuana (0, Redundant)

simetra (155655) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177246)

This is the dumbest thing I've heard of all day. Cigarettes are purely a nicotine delivery system.

Re:Next: THC-Free Marijuana (4, Informative)

jimlintott (317783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177340)

That would be hemp. Except you don't smoke it. You make paper, rope, cloth and all kinds of wonderful products. Too bad it's illegal to grow in most places.

Well consider the momentum aspects of this.... (5, Funny)

casings (257363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177343)

THC-Free Marijuana. BWHAHAHA!

oh wait. isn't that what hemp is? The material that can be used to make paper and ropes, and is very easy to grow?

oh yea hemp!

Re:Well consider the momentum aspects of this.... (1)

jimlintott (317783) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177365)

Apparently great minds do think alike.

Re:Well consider the momentum aspects of this.... (1)

casings (257363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177376)

lol, very much!

Too bad i don't know where my title came from :D

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177247)

tobacco genetically engineers YOU!!!!

What ? (-1, Offtopic)

DJ FirBee (611681) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177249)

Nicotine free cigarettes from genetically altered tobacco plants grown by the Amish.

There can be no logic here.

I am not going to read this.

It's probably written in an ancient dead language anyways.

This article is just wrong. Period.

Somebody must stop the Amish!

Tomacco! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177252)


Amish? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177258)

They'll grow genetically engineered food, but they won't use technology?

Re:Amish? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177452)

From the article:

"Amish law doesn't say anything about growing genetically modified tobacco," he says.

He definately wouldn't be "old" Amish, or he wouldnt grow it. Like most religions there are the hardliners and the more progressive types.

I grew up around Mennonites (who are quite Amish-like). Some are more realistic yet adhere to the faith, for instance they'd use ergonomically designed tools made of space-age polymers although they'd use no electricity. Some are absolute zealots who refuse to even put the orange manditory 'slow moving farm vehicle' signs on the back of their buggies.

Kind of like the way Jesse Jackson isn't so religious that he wont have an affair and get some broad pregnant then pay her off with ministry funds.

Couldn't they have engineered the reverse? (4, Funny)

arnie_apesacrappin (200185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177260)

I like the nicotine. The carcinogens are what I'd like to see removed. Get me a cigarette that is loaded with nicotine, makes my breath smell good, helps me loose weight and makes me smarter. Then I will consider it a feat of genetic engineering.

Until then, I waive my paw at them and say "Bah"

Re:Couldn't they have engineered the reverse? (3, Insightful)

guido1 (108876) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177335)

Well, 1/5 isn't so bad. From page 3 of the article:
In 1998, a Vector scientist stumbled upon a sealed canister in the basement of the old Liggett research lab in Durham, North Carolina. The canister contained cigarettes from a secret research initiative known as Project XA, an attempt to produce cigarettes with reduced toxins - a safer smoke. Liggett canceled the program in the '70s, reportedly after being pressured by other companies. The industry feared that the introduction of a reduced-toxin cigarette would be a tacit acknowledgment that cigarettes were harmful, an unthinkable admission two decades ago.

But times had changed, and LeBow dived in. By 2000, a research team completed what its predecessors couldn't. Using palladium to treat tobacco, they produced a cigarette that caused 70 percent fewer tumors in mice. Trumpeting the research, LeBow launched a $25 million advertising campaign in 2001 and released what was dubbed the Omni.

It was a huge failure.

Re:Couldn't they have engineered the reverse? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177421)

I wonder how they got the mice to smoke..

Re:Couldn't they have engineered the reverse? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177455)

They paid a couple of the cool mice to do it, then the rest followed on their own.

Re:Couldn't they have engineered the reverse? (1)

worst_name_ever (633374) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177366)

If you're after a recreational substance that makes you smart and attractive when you consume it, I suggest beer.

Re:Couldn't they have engineered the reverse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177456)

DNRC anyone?

(if you don't "geddit" you must be an Induhvidual)

What's the point? (0, Redundant)

... James ... (33917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177262)

Obviously this will be good for smoker's trying to quit needing to keep something in their mouths, but for regular smokers?

I've been known to have the occasional cigarette, and I know it's not for the great taste. I don't see this going very far.

I don't understand... (2, Insightful)

RadioheadKid (461411) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177266)

When I used to smoke, I smoked for the nicotine...What good are these things.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

malarkey (514857) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177344)

Yes, but with these cigarettes you can keep using the patch, which is not a safe thing to do if your smoking the real ones.

Re:I don't understand... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177347)

These are for the health-conscious geek who wants to get laid.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

CrayzyJ (222675) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177360)

If you used to smoke, then you should understand the double addiction, mental and physical. This allows you to break one addiction at a time.

decaf cigs? (2, Funny)

riqnevala (624343) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177267)

Like parachuting from a 4-feet ladder.

Good news for stoners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177269)

Great news for stoners mind - nicotine encroaching into rolling is a bummer.

you non-smokers are idiots! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177278)

See here. []

Stay tuned (4, Funny)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177282)

... as the Amish plan to start producing buggies without wheels by the second quarter of 2004.

* [] - You say you want a revolution?

this is stupid (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177286)

I don't understand. What is so bad about nicotine? The nicotine just keeps you addicted. It's the thousands of chemicals like TAR and like CHLORINE that will kill you.

I'm still not sure I undrestand why cigerettes even have those other things in them. WOuldn't they be just as good without them?

Re:this is stupid (1)

Robert1 (513674) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177319)

Actually nicotine is a carcinogen, just like all the tar and other chemicals in the cigarette. Naturally though it's alot less cancerous than the other chemicals.

In response to your question about the other substances, they're in there to quicken the delivery of the nicotine to your brain.

Bad, very bad (5, Insightful)

Fredbo (118960) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177294)

One main reason smokers smoke one or two or more packs a day is that is the level of nicotine they are addicted to. Take away the nicotine and they'll be puffing away on 4-6 packs a day...

Conversation in Amish farm meeting: (5, Funny)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177295)

Ishmael: Hey Ezekiel! I have an idea! We can grow genetically engineered tobacco that is non-habit forming!!!
Ezekiel: That's wonderful! What is genetic engineering?
Ishmael: Well, you take this machine, plug it in, and...oh...nevermind.

It's the perfect product (4, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177296)

People have been clamoring for years for a cigarette that still tastes terrible, makes you smell, and kills you but doesn't get you high. I'll bet these will be really popular among the total idiot crowd.

Reminds me of an old Larry Niven quote about smoking. (sorry if I must paraphrase, I cannot remember the exact wording) "I love smoking, I think it's one of the few joys in life. If they ever make a cigarette that doesn't kill you, I'd start smoking again in a flash."

Re:It's the perfect product (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177462)

The article points out that the same company came out with cigs that did kill you less (70% less they say), and they didn't sell at all. It might be neat if they made nicotine free, not kill you so bad cigs.

dont these already exist? (5, Funny)

PhreakOfTime (588141) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177298)

Don't worry, they are nicotine-free, not carcinogen-free."

Isnt another name for this marijuana?

Re:dont these already exist? (1)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177358)

If mary jane is administered by eating or drinking, its nearly carcinogen-free :D

huh?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177300)

The world has officially come to an end.
Kill me.
End Of Line

Better than the patch (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177302)

You know my biggest problem with quitting smoking isn't so much the nicotine withdrawals as it is the habit. I smoke all the time in everything I do. For me it's breaking the habit of lighting up after taking a shower, waking up, eating something, etc.. With the stress of ditching the nicotine compounded with not being able to smoke after dinner, it makes it quite difficult. With nicotine free cigs, I might be able to breeze through the initial withdrawals long enuff that later on, the trauma of quitting a constant, daily routine won't be as stressful and perhaps a little bit more manageable.
And in the event that I wanted to light up the "occasional" cig to have with a cup of java, it wouldn't start the nicotine withdrawal process all over.

Perhaps this could be the tool to my salvation? The way things are goinig, cigarettes will be illegal soon enough anyway.

Re:Better than the patch (2, Informative)

purplebear (229854) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177397)

Perhaps this could the innovation that makes it easier to quit smoking.
The article states it's a three step solution:
Quest 1 = 17% less nicotine
Quest 2 = 58% less
Quest 3 = nicotine free

Except, it looks as though they haven't quite gotten there yet. From the Vector Tobacco website:

Virtual Elimination of Nicotine
Scientists have determined that nicotine is the addictive element in cigarettes. Nicotine is an alkaloid that naturally occurs in tobacco. Alkaloids are complex, nitrogen containing compounds that naturally occur in plants, and have pharmacological effects in humans.

Vector Tobacco has the rights to a proprietary process that virtually eliminates nicotine from tobacco. Vector Tobacco's virtually nicotine-free process represents the first successful attempt to significantly lower nicotine in the tobacco leaf by growing tobacco plants bred to block nicotine production. While tobacco from an initial crop registered a trace level of nicotine, the company's goal is to grow tobacco with undetectable levels of nicotine.

Many scientists in the field believe virtual elimination of nicotine content is an important and much-needed step in the market for tobacco products.

So, it appears there will still be nicotine. You may just end up smoking more in the long run.
You still have to have mental discipline to quit.

No nicotine? Whats the point? (2, Insightful)

Captain Morgan (160029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177303)

Wait until they find out that without nicotine there is absolutely no reason for someone to use their product. I mean look at the stunning sales of alcohol free beer.


Makes sense. (0)

supergwiz (641155) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177307)

If your RTFA, this product is made to *quit* smoking. It makes more sense as what is out there now. They have products that delivery Nicotine to stop your addiction to Nicotine. This product give's you the tobacco without the nicotine. They only effective way to kick something is to de-tox the body.

Re:Makes sense. (1)

Seehund (86897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177399)

So to quit smoking, you should smoke these nicotine free cigarrettes as a substitue for the "action of smoking", and combine it all with nicotine patches or nico chewing gum as a substitute for the normal cigarette nicotine high? Sounds like a great idea...

drinks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177312)

why don't we see any nicotine drinks out there? that would be the ultimate delivery system, but fuck-it none if it makes sense anyways.

now let me go get my caffeine fix

What would be the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177314)

Wouldn't it be more useful to create carcinogen free cigarettes?

Damn you Amish!

The point. (5, Interesting)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177320)

The point of these cigarettes are to help people trying to quit smoking, actually succeed by slowly weaning themselves off the chemical dependency of nicotine. After that, they can address the psychological dependency of having something to puff on.

"Asking smokers to quit smoking is like telling people to get out from under the sun, its not going to you sell them sunscreen."

put something good in them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177322)

They should engineer them to have cannabinoids. Then I would not need the note from my doctor.

Nicotine free cigarettes? (1)

zaphod_es (613312) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177324)

Surely that must read cigarette free nicotine!

Your pretty much a moron if you smoke (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177328)

Smoking (with Nicotine or without) has to be the most idiotic practice anybody had invented. If you smoke, you get all of these wonderful benefits:

Lets just face it. You stink. Your car stinks, your house stinks, your breath stinks. You just stink.

The added expense of paying $5 per pack to smoke

You get to outside in the cold rain or snow, or summer heat, and huddle around acting "cool"

Oh yeah, and then there is the small detail that it kills you.

Um. Yeah, sign me up.

help quiting (2, Insightful)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177336)

As someone who smokes and wants to quit, these might be better then gum, etc.

It would be cheaper as well. It would be interesting to see if it could be used to calm the cravings slightly. Fooling you into think you are getting the nicotine witout really getting it.

As a smoker I'm not sure if I smoke for the nicotine, or if I just smoke to smoke. It would be interesting to see. When I drink I usually smoke a ton more then usuall, once drunk I don't know if I'd recognize the difference.

Unforseen Consequences? (4, Insightful)

Rob.Mathers (527086) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177338)

Although this is probably a good thing (even though you're killing yourself, you're doing it without addiction), I think there may be an overlooked aspect here.
Considering how uninformed the typical consumer is, I fear this could result in a rise in the number of smokers. When Joe Sixpack is browsing through his local 7 Eleven and sees a pack of cigs with "Nicotine Free" on the box, what if he thinks "Hey, I can smoke without harming myself" and takes up smoking. I think this is not an inconceivable situation. I would hope that these things come with additional warnings stating that while they do not contain addictive nicotine, they are still cancer causing.

nothing to see here (4, Insightful)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177345)

This is nothing new really. For decades you have been able to get "herbal tobacco" which contains no nicotine. Some dope smokers roll joints with it to avoid getting hooked on nicotine. The actual point of it is the same as the point of these "nicotine free" cigs- to get you unhooked.

I personally prefer using nicotine patches- so it's the other way around- nicotine and no smoking habit.

The reason it's better is that you get rid of the withdrawel symptoms because you are getting nicotine, you aren't breathing smoke so it's better for your lungs- and you can use public transport and walk into shops without having to have a quick cig first- which is an actual bonus to giving up.

I find people who give up by using, say, nicotine gum or lonzenges have an easier time to start with because they get a nicotine buzz, and there's a new ritual to replace the old one, but then a harder time getting from the replacement to nothing at all, as they haven't kicked the "ritual" part of smoking, or the nicotine delivered once per hour (or whatever).

The only benefit of nicotine free cigs compared to the existing "herbal tobacco" if that's the way you want to go, is that the herbal tobacco cigarettes normally smell so bad that they clear out rooms- even of people who quite happily tolerate ordinary cigarette smoke.


Won't go anywhere. (1)

Zuperdominican (637530) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177348)

Who in their right mind would buy this? cigarretes are bad enough to beging with and the reason that people can't seem to get off of them is nicotine. It has been proven that nicotine gives you good memory, so now a cigarrete is going to be completely bad. they should make a nicotine bar.

Look - yet another Wired link! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177355)

What, did Lycos crank up the subliminal advertising slush fund or something ? If I wanted to be reading Wired, I'd read Wired...instead of having Slashdot link to it article by article.

This is why we have the patch (2, Interesting)

cygnus (17101) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177370)

With the Quest, nicotine dependency can for the first time be separated from the ritual. Once the addiction is addressed, smokers will have an easier time breaking the habit.

subject says it all... why don't we worry about weaning the cancer-causing part of the habit first? there are few side effects to a typical dosage of nicotine, but many to typical dosages of cigarette smoke (and attendant formaldahyde, ammonia, dioxine, urine, and whatever else they put into cigarettes).

Bah (2, Funny)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177378)

Forget cigarettes... smoke a salmon.

Re:Bah (3, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177450)

.. smoke a salmon.

I tried that, but once I found paper big enough, I couldn't get it to stay lit.

I am using Quest Cigarettes to Stop Smoking. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177386)

On Sunday I was a smoker. On monday I went through terrible withdrawl, broke down and bummed a cigarette. I have smoked for 5 years. Monday evening, I bought a homeopathic remedy, called Smoke Control by Bio King. It really did cut down on the cravings very greatly. Today, I bought a pack of Vector's Quest Brand Nicotive Free cigarettes. Here's how it works for me: I smoke these things. They give me the satisfaction of having something to puff on, but no nicotine, helping me break my physhical addiction. After I am done with that I can work on my psychological and social addiction. But right now, I can still smoke, while preparing to be a person who no longer smokes at all. Basically, they are a step on the ladder.

I have to give massive Kudos to Vector for releasing these because they are really helping me quit. I would reccomend them, as well as the homeopathic remedy to anyone who is trying to quit smoking.

More disturbing than the idea of nic-free tobacco (4, Funny)

The Wookie (31006) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177389)

The picture at the bottom of the article has the following caption:

An Amish farmer takes a cell phone call as transgenic tobacco dries inside his 250-year-old barn in Holland, Pennsylvania.

Wonder what he uses for a ringer? Maybe a knock and a voice saying "Jedediah, thee has a call".

Come to think of it.. how does he recharge the thing?

Good idea.. will it work? (1) (316593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177391)

These will kill you just as well as normal ciggeretttes, but they just don't have any nicotine, which is the addictive part. There are three steps you can use, to actually kick your chemical addiction. Once that is done you can concentrate on your oral fixation problems.

I think a big place that this will help is people that like to go out to bars and are around second hand smoke and just want a cigg really bad. It'll kill you, but they won't wake up in the morning craving one as bad I bet.

I also like that the guy admits to the fact that he's in it for the money, a little honesty in the tobacco industry is a bit of a relief.

Hahahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177393)

Having once smoked and knowing what nicotene withdraw will do to a person and their urge to have a cigarette I can just imagine a chain smoking whako yelling obsenities at, and wanting to rip appart, anyone that has the gaul to be breathing today. Smokers going on permanent smoke breaks as they try to get their fix but for some reason just can't seem to calm down no matter how many packs they suck down. The rate of deaths caused by road rage will skyrocket. Microsoft and computer manufacturers will get a boost in revenue as millions of super-irritated office workers take baseball bats to the BSOD..."ILL SHOW YOU ILLEGAL OPERATION!!!"

As a major fan of chaos, I really like this idea.

A good advertisement would be "All the affects of withdrawl without the benefits!" - or "Quit nicoteen and still die from lung cancer!"


where did the smokeless ones go? (2, Interesting)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177395)

Did they catch on? I remember the new stories when they came out but I never saw them anywhere.

Amish Geneticists (2, Insightful)

ZahrGnosis (66741) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177402)

I'm not at the forefront of the changes in the Amish community or anything, but doesn't the phrase "genetically engineered tobacco grown by Amish farmers" seem a bit odd?

Their business model (1)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177403)

1) Re-engineer tobacco to eliminate nicotine
2) Sell to Amish, Amish grow tobacco
3) Make cigarettes
4) Crappy cigarettes collect dust on shelves
5) ??????
6) PROFIT!!!!

Patented tobacco (1)

BESTouff (531293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177405)

These days everything is subject to a patent, copyright or some other IP monopoly grant. Genetically modified organisms are just aimed at *NOT* being able to breed normally. All other "enhancements" are marketing tricks, exactely like the push for new versions of office software. Then you have to buy seeds/babies year after year if you want to grow them.

Welcome to a customer-locked world.

Weird Al Said.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177406)

As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain
I take a look at my wife and realize she's very plain
But that's just perfect for an Amish like me
You know, I shun fancy things like electricity
At 4:30 in the morning I'm milkin' cows
Jebediah feeds the chickens and Jacob plows... fool
And I've been milkin' and plowin' so long that
Even Ezekiel thinks that my mind is gone
I'm a man of the land, I'm into discipline
Got a Bible in my hand and a beard on my chin
But if I finish all of my chores and you finish thine
Then tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699

We been spending most our lives
Living in an Amish paradise
I've churned butter once or twice
Living in an Amish paradise
It's hard work and sacrifice
Living in an Amish paradise
We sell quilts at discount price
Living in an Amish paradise

A local boy kicked me in the butt last week
I just smiled at him and turned the other cheek
I really don't care, in fact I wish him well
'Cause I'll be laughing my head off when he's burning in hell
But I ain't never punched a tourist even if he deserved it
An Amish with a 'tude? You know that's unheard of
I never wear buttons but I got a cool hat
And my homies all I agree I look good in black... fool
If you come to visit, you'll be bored to tears
We haven't even paid the phone bill in 300 years
But we ain't really quaint, so please don't point and stare
We're just technologically impaired

There's no phone, no lights, no motorcar
Not a single luxury
Like Robinson Caruso
It's as primitave as can be

We been spending most our lives
Living in an Amish paradise
We're just plain and simple guys
Living in an Amish paradise
There's no time for sin and vice
Living in an Amish paradise
We don't fight, we all play nice
Living in an Amish paradise

Hitchin' up the buggy, churnin' lots of butter
Raised a barn on Monday, soon I'll raise another
Think you're really rightous? Think you're pure in heart?
Well, I know I'm a million times as humble as thou art
I'm the pious guy the little Amlettes wanna be like
On my knees day and night scorin' points for the afterlife
So don't be vain and don't be whiny
Or else, my brother, I might just have to get medieval on your heinie

We been spending most our lives
Living in an Amish paradise
We're all crazy Mennonites
Living in an Amish paradise
There's no cops or traffic lights
Living in an Amish paradise
But you'd probably think it bites
Living in an Amish paradise


Next up: genetically engineered heroine... (1)

PasteEater (590893) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177410)

None of the high, and all of the fuss! Think of it: addicted to a whole new breed of drugs that only have down sides.

And in other news: (1)

smcavoy (114157) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177411)

HK just released new type of gun that kills people in the exact same way, but make an entirely different sound.

Wired, Wired, Wired... (1)

thenightfly42 (166359) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177412)

Aren't there any other sources of news out there other than Wired? This is probably the 8th article from the current issue of Wired posted to Slashdot this week. It's a good issue, admittedly, but really now.

I'm a smoker, just look at my name (3, Insightful)

t0qer (230538) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177420)

I've been a smoke for many years, I remember my nicotine addiction starting at 8 when my old man use to let me grab a pinch of beechnut. I remember feeling like crap and being addicted to it for a while, then later on quitting, then becoming addicted to cigerettes at 10 when I went to live with my mom.

So here I am, over 20 years of putting this crap in my body.. The sad thing is when I don't have it.

First sign is nervousness, agitation. Then I go into cold sweats as my body excretes tar and nicotine out from my pours. Third stage i'm rollin up butts from the ashtray.

For those of you that don't understand the nature of addiction, let me tell you, I go through it every night. At least when I sleep, I have nothing to agitate me, but I still go through the physical withdrawel symptoms every night, proof of which is washing the sheets every 3 to 4 days to take out the yellow stain from my tar infused sweat.

I hate cigs, they are a tax on my life and my health, and I feel that the addictive traits of nicotine has been played down to avoid lawsuits. I've even developed shakes at times, no different than any heroin junkie.

I tried quittin new years cold turkey. I just bought a carton of marlboro reds today for 30 bucks. Previously I tried patches, gum, and hypnosis.

I have heard of anesthetic therapy for herion users. Sorry for no link but I remember seeing it on dateline NBC, search there produced too many results. The premise is simple, hook a needle up to the patients arm with a drip bag of sodium penathol and let them sleep through their withdrawels.

As neat as this genetic amish tobacco sounds, it just won't cut it for people who have been smoking as long as I have. Over 2/3's of my life I've had this shit running through my brain. I need rest.

The Point is... (3, Informative)

GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177428)

to help you quit... RTFA.
They have 3 brands that each have a lower amount of nicotine kind of like the patch has 3 different levels to systematically lower the amount of nicotine you recieve.

It makes it so you choose whether or not to smoke, not to feed a nicotine addiction. This guy not only plans to make an ass-load of cash, but to give his customer's choice and reform the tobacco industry. Quite frankly, this guy should get the Nobel Peace Prize or something.

BTW, you can get cartons for ~$20 each online. So if anyone wants an easy way to quit, Drive Thru Smoke Shop []

Useful to quit smoking? Read the article. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5177444)

He says the cigs will be sold as a three-part series containing 17%, 54% and then 100% less nicotine. By mixing the nicotine-free tobacco with ordinary, they can make it have *less* while still giving you your fix. So you can work your way off of the nicotine slowly without having to give up the habit. It's like having a patch, and smoking at the same time.

It may not be *quite* as enjoyable as the real thing, but it's a hell of a lot easier to force yourself to buy a pack with 17% less nicotine than to go cold turkey.

This is just plain old un-patriotic! (1, Troll)

SuperMario666 (588666) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177446)

Smokers are our nation's greatest citizens. Not only do they generate billions of dollars in state and local taxes with their tobacco purchases, they save the federal government still more billions by "removing" themselves from the Social Security System, on average, a decade or so earlier than other, less civic-minded Americans.

But, now, it appears that irresponsible genetic engineering threatens to eliminate an entire generation of such patriotic puffers.

Shame on science and shame on the Amish!

Genetically engineered? (1)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177464)

I thought nicotine was a pesticide (If I'm wrong you can blame "molecule" in Xscreensaver). There is no need to genetically engineer anything, merely avoid the use of pesticides.

Oh for pete's sake. (1)

partridge (207872) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177473)

Yes this is interesting. But really now, it appears that posting the headlines from the current month's issue of Wired is what passes for front page worthy news these days? Is there really so little going on the the world? That issue has been on the stands for at least two weeks now and that has to be the third or fourth front page item from it over the last week. Does it take that long to read through the issue and find the interesting bits? Perhaps we should just have a periodical posting titled: "Here are the headlines from the current issue of Wired."

MO and RJR will love this (2, Interesting)

kippy (416183) | more than 11 years ago | (#5177478)

I'm willing to bet that blind studies, people will have as difficult a time quitting from these are from regular smokes.

I'm really interested to see the outcome of an addiction study where two groups are given these nicotine free smokes and one group is told that they are smoking regular ones.

This is pure speculation here but I'm betting that the mere thought of them being addictive is enough to make them "addicted".

Similarly, I'd like to see if people who thought they were smoking nicotine free cigarettes have an easier time quitting even if they are smoking regular ones.

depending on how such a study turns out, big tobacco could tell all those bozos to take all their lawsiuts and shove them.
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