Answer: It depends.
American Spirits refer to a line of cigarette and tobacco products manufactured by the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. It’s one of the most tobacco brands in the industry for several reasons. One, it’s made from domestically grown tobacco. And two, it supposedly doesn’t contain any additives, unlike other tobacco products.
For that reason, American Spirits may seem tempting to a vegan such as yourself since, if you didn’t know, the main reason why cigarettes are generally not vegan is that their additives come from animals. So, are American Spirits vegan?
The answer can be a bit vague. That’s because while American Spirits don’t contain non-vegan additives and don’t involve animal testing, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s unhealthy and can bring adverse effects to the environment. It ultimately depends on your judgment.
Of course, that “judgment” can be a bit biased if smoking has been your long-time hobby. With that in mind, this guide will help you form an unbiased judgment as we review the different facts concerning American Spirits. Let’s start by taking a look at the ingredients of the product line.
Ingredients Of American Spirits
If this isn’t your first time looking up American Spirits on the internet, you must be aware that the main selling point of the product is it’s “organic” or “natural.” The brand advertises its product line as unique since it doesn’t contain additives.
Unfortunately, that’s not completely true. While a certain product may not contain additives, it has long been established that cigarettes will always contain chemicals.
American Spirits is no exception. In fact, in this study, they found that American Spirits cigarettes contain as many chemicals as other commercial tobacco products. So, while there are no official records as to what exactly the product contains, it’s safe to assume that it has the following ingredients:
- Ethyl alcohol
- Isobutyl alcohol
- Vinyl chloride
The company hasn’t made any statements yet regarding the ingredients of their product, so it’s not guaranteed that it contains these or not. So, what does this have to do with being vegan? Well, to start with, these chemicals don’t come from animals, meaning in terms of just its ingredients, American Spirits is vegan.
Now, you might wonder, how does that make the American Spirits product line any more vegan than other cigarettes and commercial tobacco products?
Cigarettes May Contain Non-Vegan Ingredients
It can be difficult to determine the ingredients of a cigarette or tobacco product since most companies aren’t transparent. However, it’s common knowledge in the industry that numerous cigarettes have additives. Some of these additives are vegan, but some of them aren’t. There are three ingredients, in particular, that you can never consider vegan. Here’s a look at each one.
Castoreum is an ingredient that amplifies the smoky smell of a tobacco product and makes it taste sweeter. Companies started using it in 1991, with Philip Morris, the owner of the Marlboro brand, being the pioneer. Alas, castoreum comes from the anal gland of beavers, and companies harvest them upon killing the animal.
Though cigarettes only contain extreme amounts of castoreum, those products are far from being vegan as it directly involves killing animals for profit.
Beeswax is yet another ingredient that might end up in a pack of cigarettes. While it’s not known what they contribute to the product, it’s a fact that some tobacco products contain them. And as you may already know, beeswax is what bees use to build their nests, specifically, the combs that serve as the foundation of their colony.
The good news is it’s no longer a common ingredient in cigarettes since companies have found a suitable alternative—paraffin wax, a vegan compound.
Nevertheless, the act of using beeswax is non-vegan.
Urea has long been a common ingredient in tobacco products. It’d be clear what it contributes to the product. The bad news is urea is a naturally-occurring compound found in mammalian urine. Since it’s not likely that companies collect it from human urine, it’s safe to say it comes from other animals, particularly cats.
It may not exactly be harmful to the animal, but it can still open up the possibility of animal cruelty. Put simply, cigarettes that contain these ingredients are non-vegan.
That’s precisely why American Spirits are more vegan than the typical tobacco product. They don’t contain these ingredients, though they do have toxic chemicals. But again, ingredients aren’t the only basis for whether a product is vegan or not. There’s also the issue of whether the company does animal testing.
Do American Spirits Go Through Animal Testing?
As far as our research goes, there isn’t any evidence that the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company engages in animal testing. Of course, that’s not to say they never went through that practice. They were actually quite active with their animal testing procedures back in the late 1990s, though they stopped doing it in 2001. PETA even has an article regarding the company’s cessation of animal testing procedures.
So, no, American Spirits do not go through animal testing. It’s more impressive once you realize that other brands still continue with animal testing.
That’s why the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company is often held in high regard by activist groups like PETA. Now, you might be thinking, so far, we’ve shown that American Spirits is indeed vegan. It doesn’t contain animal byproducts, and the company doesn’t engage in animal testing. So, where’s the confusion coming from? Isn’t the answer to your question clear? Actually, no, and here’s why.
Veganism And The Environment
When a person talks about veganism, they’re typically referring to the act of avoiding the use of any product that comes from animals. However, that’s not all.
There are many ways to interpret the veganism philosophy, but it usually goes like this: “Veganism seeks to promote animal-free alternatives to prevent any form of exploitation of animals for the benefit of animals, humans, and the environment.”
While American Spirits might be doing animals a favor, it’s doing the opposite to both the environment and humans, particularly its consumers.
Harmful Effects Of Cigarettes On Humans
It’s common knowledge that cigarettes are harmful to the human body, regardless of how “organic” it is or how few chemicals it has compared to other products.
Cigarettes will always have the potential to cause various health problems, such as:
- Blood circulation problems
- Breathing problems
- Chronic respiratory conditions
- Dental problems
- Heart disease
Their unhealthiness is mainly caused by the fact that they contain an excessive amount of chemicals. This applies to all tobacco products, including American Spirits. While some chemicals are harmless, a lot of the ones in tobacco products are toxic, especially when absorbed by the human body over long periods.
Environmental Effects Of Cigarettes
In addition to its harmful effects on humans, cigarettes also adversely affect the environment. It can cause numerous issues, there are two main problems.
The first and most obvious impact they can cause on the environment is air pollution, as the smoke that they generate often contains toxic pollutants that can be harmful to the atmosphere. Not only that, but it can also harm animals, so indirectly, smoking can still cause harm to animals, which goes against veganism.
The second environmental effect of cigarettes is the trash generated from the products. Cigarette butts can be found everywhere and can litter the environment.
Of course, it’s not the brand, specifically, that’s the problem. It’s cigarettes, in general, but containing only vegan ingredients, and refraining from animal testing doesn’t exempt American Spirits from the fact. However, as stated earlier, it ultimately depends on how you view veganism and how you want to approach it.
There are vegans who are for smoking and those who are against it. It’s completely normal to have a different view from others, even if those others are fellow vegans.
With that said, if you often smoke, it’s best to find a completely vegan alternative. This takes us to the next and last question.
Is Vaping Completely Vegan?
The main difference between vaping and smoking, in terms of being vegan, is that vape juices are almost always vegan. However, that’s not the problem. American Spirits are the same, but vegans are still arguing whether it’s truly okay for them to use the product. What you need is an alternative that isn’t unhealthy and doesn’t harm the environment. Unfortunately, vaping is not in any one of these categories.
Vaping, while a bit healthier, still has harmful effects on your health. Moreover, vape pens, like cigarettes, generate byproducts that harm the environment.
It may not contribute to litter around the world as cigarette butts do, but the vapor they produce can harm the environment by polluting the air. It’s also worth noting that the vapor is likewise harmful to animals. That’s why experts advise you to move away from your pets whenever you vape. In other words, no, vaping is not completely vegan as it is only as vegan as American Spirits.
The first half of this guide may have got your hopes up if you used to or are still smoking. However, as we’ve said over and over, whether the answer to your question is yes or no will depend on your view of veganism. If you only think of it as protecting animals, then yes, it’s maybe vegan, but if you also want to be environmental-friendly, then no, American Spirits aren’t the best product for you.