Claims of Pig Blood in Cigarette Filters Coughs Up a Cloud of Controversy

By webadmin on 12:00 am Apr 03, 2010
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Dessy Sagita

In a claim likely to cause consternation from Muslim smokers, a Dutch author has published a book that claims that pig blood is used to make cigarette filters. 

Pig 05049, written by Christien Meindertsma, lists 185 different ways that pigs’ body parts can be used, including in the manufacture of sweets, shampoo, bread, beer and bullets. 

Pig hemoglobin is, according to the book, used to filter harmful chemicals in cigarettes. 

The Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI) called on authorities to investigate the claims. “If the claim is true then the National Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (BPOM), the Ministry of Health and the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Food and Drug Analysis Agency (LPPOM) should immediately conduct a sampling test,” Tulus Abadi, chairman of the YLKI, told the Jakarta Globe. 

Tulus said that Indonesian cigarette producers were using imported filters because they are not produced locally. 

If the claims are true, Tulus said, the government has a stronger case to take a stand against tobacco. “As the most populous Muslim country, we should be really careful, most smokers in Indonesia are Muslims. How would they feel if they found out that the cigarettes they smoke were made using pig hemoglobin?” he said. 

MUI chairman Amidhan said that MUI would not comment on the matter and would not conduct any certification test unless there was a request from the cigarette industry or the importer. 

“Smoking is offensive and for now that’s our stance. However this information should be regarded as a warning for smokers to be more aware,” he said. 

Professor Simon Chapman from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney was quoted on the university’s Web site as saying, “many devout Islamic and Jewish smokers and some vegetarians would be horrified to think they were putting a filter in their mouth which contained a pig product.”