A few years ago, researchers from the Max Planck Institute, Silke Allmann and Ian Baldwin, discovered an interesting fact about hornworm caterpillars. They found these creatures write their own death sentence while feeding on tobacco. Some would say the scientists might have gotten their inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. In the story, a tobacco-smoking caterpillar blows colourful clouds of smoke, while speaking to Alice.
Allmann and Baldwin’s finding is just as captivating as Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale. Their study says that when hornworm caterpillars chew tobacco, their saliva reacts with a chemical substance in the air and releases a signal in their surrounding environment. This signal is intercepted by the predatory insects, who then track the caterpillars and devour them in one bite.
Of course, if it were a story of a predator threatening human’s existence, we would have turned the table on it. We, humans are a cognitive species, far more superior than caterpillars in terms of intelligence and ability to survive! But the truth is, when it comes to tobacco, we are no different than the tiny insects.
Every year, millions of people around the world succumb to their long-standing tobacco addiction, falling prey to the diseases that come along with it. Unlike the inane caterpillars, people who smoke tobacco know they are digging their own graves with every cigarette they light! This, despite their exposure to advertisements, statuary warnings, awareness campaigns, and decades of research cautioning them against the blight of tobacco addiction. Still, the number of smokers and their deaths is only skyrocketing.
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