CANNABIS CULTURE – It’s not the smoke that causes harm, but the radioactive chemical fertilizers. But try telling that to the Vancouver Municipal Government. Once again, Vancouver City Council has been deaf to reason, looking for any excuse to shut down businesses that cater to the hookah smoking crowd. But this time it’s not the “bring-your- own-bud” vapor lounges – it’s a “shisha” lounge.

Shisha is a smoking blend made up of molasses and some smokeable herbs. In October 2007, Vancouver City Council passed a bylaw that banned smoking in smoking-related businesses. Initially they included an exemption for hookah and cigar lounges, but removed the exemption nine months later.

6616d237-d813-4b4f-8ce5-52e17c2459bd (1)Since 1998, Abdolhamid Mohammadian has operated the Persian Teahouse Hookah Lounge at 668 Davie St. In 2008, Mohammadian and another hookah shop owner were warned by the city to cease operation as hookah lounges or face prosecution.

Provincial tobacco control legislation stipulated that hookah bars could still operate as long as they didn’t use tobacco or tobacco blends, so both businesses switched to tobacco-free herbal shisha. Lawyer Dean Davidson, who represented the business owners, argued that the city did not provide evidence of harm from smoking herbal shisha or the second-hand smoke it produces.

In 2014 a judge upheld the bylaw, giving weight to the testimony of two doctors who saw all smoke as the same – tobacco or not. In 2015 a judge dismissed the appeal. Mohammadian decided to go on a hunger strike to protest the decision.

Questions arise – is all smoke as bad as tobacco smoke? What is it in the tobacco smoke that causes cancer? And why hasn’t the city gone after all the other cultures that use incense in their religious rituals, not least of which includes the Catholic Church?

The first fact of which many doctors are unaware – and many other doctors are afraid to face – is that it’s not the tobacco that causes cancer from smoking tobacco – it is the radioactive chemical fertilizers in the tobacco:

The alpha emitters polonium-210 and lead-210 are highly concentrated on tobacco trichomes and insoluble particles in cigarette smoke (1). The major source of the polonium is phosphate fertilizer, which is used in growing tobacco. The trichomes of the leaves concentrate the polonium, which persists when tobacco is dried and processed. … The detrimental effects of tobacco smoke have been considerably underestimated, making it less likely that chemical carcinogens alone are responsible for the observed incidence of tobacco-related carcinoma. Alpha emitters in cigarette smoke result in appreciable radiation exposure to the bronchial epithelium of smokers and probably secondhand smokers. Alpha radiation is a possible etio- logic factor in tobacco-related carcinoma, and it deserves further study (Thomas H. Winters, M.D. and Joseph R. Di Franza, M.D.).

Po210 is the only component in cigarette smoke tar that has produced cancers by itself in laboratory animals as a result of inhalation exposure (Beverly S. Cohen, Ph.D. and Naomi H. Harley, Ph.D.).

Organic fertilizers only have background levels of radioactivity. The implications of this information is that it the radioactive chemical fertilizer producers – not the tobacco producers, the cannabis producers or the hookah lounge owners or cannabis vapor lounge owners – that the police should be going after. But time and time again health organizations like Vancouver Coastal Health, who testified against both the hookah and vapor lounges – are deaf to hearing anything controversial. After all, it is easier to go after a few small business people than it is to go after major chemical companies – or the Catholic Church, for that matter.

And so – globally – 6 million people die of chemically-fertilized-tobacco-related lung cancer every year, due to the apparent cowardice and/or laziness of health officials who for one reason or another cannot be bothered to look into the matter carefully. Abdolhamid Mohammadian is not taking it lying down. He is ready to launch another hunger strike at any time, and wants to join forces with the pot community and challenge the City’s persecution of harmless puffers.

If you feel like dropping by and checking out the Persian Teahouse Hookah Lounge, its hours of operation are 4pm to 11pm Monday through Thursday and 4pm to 1am Friday through Sunday.

Join the radioactivity debate in the Cannabis Culture forum.

c333e0c9-8d7c-4d49-8377-540d375bdef7See also:

Radioactivity in chemical fertilizers in Bangladesh

Sol Lightman “on the absurdities in the marijuana-is-bad-for-you-like-cigarettes bullshit

Radioactive Tobacco

David Malmo-Levine