Readers Forum

Letter: Just stop smoking

I refer to a comment on a report “NGOs push government to verify use of pig blood in cigarette filters,” (The Jakarta Post, June 30). So, it is better to stop smoking if you are a Muslim or a Jew. It’s also better for your health anyway.

The next time you light up a cigarette you may be puffing a filter that contains pig’s blood. Recent Dutch research found that pig hemoglobin was being used to make filters of cigarettes more effective in blocking harmful chemicals before they enter the smoker’s lungs.

Simon Chapman, a professor at the University of Sydney said that this was one of the 185 industrial uses of a pig that the Dutch research had identified.

Chapman was quoted by Australian AAP news agency saying, “I think that there would be some particularly devout groups who would find the idea that there were pig products in cigarettes to be very offensive.

The Jewish community certainly takes these matters extremely seriously and the Islamic community certainly do as well, as [so] would many vegetarians.

“It just puts into hard relief the problem that the tobacco industry is not required to declare the ingredients of cigarettes ... they say ‘that’s our business’ and a trade secret,” said Chapman. One cigarette brand in Greece was a confirmed user of pig hemoglobin in its production process.

Considering that Jews and Muslims consider the consumption of pork opposed to their core beliefs, this new research finding is sure to shake a few feathers.

As a smoker of the Jewish or Islamic faith you would like to know if this ingredient is used in processing your cigarette, but tobacco companies do not provide these details.

In voluntary disclosures of contents of their products they include “undisclosed processing aids” and these are said to be, “not significantly present in, and do not functionally affect, the finished product”.

So in effect there is no way for you to know what really goes into the production of your cigarette.

Jose Dinoy
Jakarta

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