5 November 2019
Rats jammed face first into what look like small milk bottles, no room to move, no option to even turn their heads. The rats in glass cylinders are arranged rows deep, screwed into a huge central metal cylinder that will provide a constant stream of cigarette smoke, directed into their faces in what is known as the ‘nose-only’ exposure technique. Mice contained in small plastic boxes for hours on end, flooded with a constant stream of cigarette smoke at a rate of 10 cigarettes per hour, with no break. This is the ‘whole body’ exposure model. Dogs trapped, immobilised, their noses strapped into masks, their eyes just visible peeking above. Or how about mice, with patches shaved on their backs, cigarette tar painted onto the bare skin until tumours appear? Tobacco distillate rubbed into a rabbit’s skin? The toxic compounds we now associate with smoking-related disease fed to rats until they develop fatal oesophageal tumours? These approaches have all been used to examine the effects of cigarettes, and shockingly, many are still used today.