- Elias Zerhouni, M.D.National Institutes of Health
- Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.DOffice of Extramural Research
Animals Lives Up In Smoke
Human use of tobacco is a complex behavior, shown to be linked to a whole range of genetic and environmental factors that include socio-economic status, age, education level, IQ, accompanying drug and alcohol use, and the presence of other behavioral problems such as anxiety or depression.
These uniquely human factors associated with smoking clearly discredit using animals to study nicotine exposure and addiction.
Decades of nicotine research has tortured and killed countless animals, yielding little to nothing that is of benefit to humans.
Vast numbers of animals continue to suffer and die in cruel and harrowing experiments, and millions of dollars continue to be wasted, which should otherwise be directed to public education and prevention programs.
This is the only effective way to address the problem of nicotine addiction. Never-ending animal experiments only continue to waste precious resources and sentient animals' lives.
Since 2002, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent $16.5 million to conduct nicotine experiments on pregnant and newborn animals. This appalling figure does not reflect the total cost of all nicotine research on animals, but only that which focuses on nicotine's effect on fetal and newborn development.
Please contact the following individuals at the National Institutes of Health. Ask that the agency end the decades-long policy of funding nicotine experiments on animals and instead redirect funds towards prevention, education and smoking cessation programs.
IF YOU CAN, WRITE THE LETTER WITH YOUR OWN WORDS!
- National Institutes of Health
Elias Zerhouni, M.D.
- Office of Extramural Research
Norka Ruiz Bravo, Ph.D
Nicotine experiments on animals provide contradictory and conflicting results and have even failed to reliably replicate what we already know from human studies. For example, though it is widely recognized that maternal smoking in women is linked to low birth weight in babies, animal studies attempting to confirm this have produced varying results.
In people, smoking during pregnancy has unmistakably been linked to low birth weight, greater infant mortality, and the heart-breaking condition known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In fact, everything that we know about the effects of maternal smoking comes from human data.
The fact is, we cannot learn about nicotine’s effects in humans by studying animals for many reasons. Stress due to laboratory procedures is one very significant problem with animal experiments. Repeated injections, implanted catheters, and smoking chambers all impose stress on the pregnant mothers, leading to release of stress hormones that influence the developing fetus. Even attempts to put nicotine into drinking water produce stress, since nicotine has a distinctly bitter taste. Animals may then avoid drinking, leading to dehydration, further physiological stress, and other unidentified burdens on the developing fetus.
Please, do anything what you can to stop smoking experiments on animals.
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