MARK Twain said, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”

For the common population, nicotine is only that popular addictive component found in tobacco.

However, in technologically advanced countries, nicotine is a base component in agricultural insecticides, such as nicotine sulfate, nicotine hydrochloride and nicotine carbonate. Both insecticides are toxic upon inhalation and ingestion.

On Aug. 29, 2002, The Washington Times reported that a so-called “environmentally safe and friendly” insecticide called the Black Leaf 40 contains 40 percent nicotine sulfate. Nicotine sulfate is, however, not new in agricultural use. It has supposedly been used as an agricultural insecticide since the 18th or 19th century. It is a mixture of tobacco’s boiled leaf water and a small amount of car battery acid, which is sulfuric acid.

Meanwhile, nicotine hydrochloride is a more recent formulation of an insecticide as nanoparticles in combination with chitosan and sodium tripolyphosphate. These two ingredients are supposedly capable of stabilizing the physicochemical properties of nicotine hydrochloride, while preventing adverse human health reaction.

Against aphids, nicotine carbonate is more effective than nicotine sulfate and, thus, more toxic as well. Nicotine carbonate is a combination of nicotine and sodium carbonate.

Studies on frogs and chicken, from as early as 1932 (e.g. David Macht and Lyman Craig’s “Comparative Toxicity of Nicotine Alkaloid and Nicotine Salts” in the Experimental Biology and Medicine journal), found that nicotine, especially pure nicotine, is more toxic than either nicotine hydrochloride or nicotine sulfate.

Here’s another piece of information that many of us are not aware of.

First, nicotine can also be found in eggplant. Second, the so-called “crack nicotine” is a pure nicotine extract, removed using ether, on which nicotine floats, and then powder dried. The Washington Times reported that crack nicotine is more addictive than cocaine hydrochloride.

Third, Ian Fleming is not someone who applauds nicotine dependence.

In his book, “Goldfinger” (1959), he wrote: “Smoking, I find the most ridiculous of all the varieties of human behavior and practically the only one that is entirely against nature. Can you imagine a cow or any animal taking a mouthful of smoldering straw then breathing in the smoke and blowing it out through its nostrils?”

Is it no wonder then that I have not seen James Bond smoke?