The USDA crusade against Coca or cocaine in any amount particularly ironic was the particular medicinal use of Coca the USDA was to reserve its fury for: Coca as a Tobacco substitute!
According to the 1910 U.S.D.A. Farmer's Journal article "Habit-Forming Agents: Their Indiscriminate Sale and Use A Menace to the Public Welfare":
There are quite a number of so-called tobacco habit cures on the market.This USDA reluctance to openly acknowledge Coca's utility as a Tobacco substitute, contrasts with an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, acknowledging that Coca did work as a Tobacco substitute, at least for those who had formed (or would be likely to form) the habit for cocaine- what ever this may have exactly meant - dated January 1, 1910 by E.F. Ladd, a chemist at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, at pages 63-64 of Volume LIV, Number 1 of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), under the heading Pharmacology, titled “Coca Bola and Oxy-Tonic: Two Nostrums Exposed by the Chemists of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station”
All of them are ineffective, and some contain cocain in one form or another, which at once indicates the purpose of the promoter of the remedy. Instead of eradicating what is commonly believed to be a comparatively harmless habit, there is grave danger of fastening a pernicious drug habit upon the user.
Examples of preparations of this character recently examined and found to contain cocain and caffein derivatives are Coca-Bola, Tobacco Bullets, and Wonder Workers. The Coca Bola is marketed by Dr. Charles L. Mitchell, of "Philadelphia, and the Tobacco Bullets by the Victor Remedy Company, now the Blackburn Remedy Company, of Dayton, Ohio, while the Wonder Workers were produced by George S. Beck, of Springfield, Ohio.
Interestingly its is the southeastern U.S., where Tobacco is King, that pops up as the area meriting the U.S. governments particular concern, with this concern about Coca as a Tobacco habit cure, built upon the geographic concerns voiced within the past 3 years with the 1908 U.S.D.A. report to the U.S. Congress in a President's Homes Commission "Report on Soft-Drinks Containing Caffeine and Extracts of Coca Leaf and Kola Nuts”, transmitted on October 21, 1908 U.S.D.A. Chief of Drug Division Lyman F. Kebler, M.D.:
During the past decade soda fountain specialties containing caffeine, extract of kola nut and extract of coca leaf, the active property of which is cocaine, have been offered in considerable quantities and, due to extensive and attractive advertising, both as beverages and as headache remedies and nerve tonics, their sale has assumed large proportions.This official myth that cocaine was a dangerous and or deleterious drug detrimental to health regardless of the amount, and whether as food or drug, was reflected by a January 1, 1910 article appearing by E.F. Ladd, a chemist at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, at pages 63-64 of Volume LIV, Number 1 of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), under the heading Pharmacology, titled “Coca Bola and Oxy-Tonic: Two Nostrums Exposed by the Chemists of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station”
The first appearance of preparations of this type was in the South in the eighties, their importation following the success which Moxie had attained in the East, though this particular drink was of an entirely different character. From the South the demand spread in other sections and the number of products has increased until the present time, there are probably over one hundred of them bottled and sold all over the United States.
The greatest demand in still in the South, however, almost every drug store, confectionery shop, and fruit stand has its favorite products on sale.
The carbonated goods in bottled form are offered on trains.
People of all classes, young and old, delicate women and little children consume these beverages indiscriminately and no warning is given of the baneful effect of the powerful habit-forming drugs concealed wherein.
It is therefore small wonder that the prevalence of the so-called "coca cola fiend" is becoming a matter of great importance and concern.
It is well known that some of these products are mixed under the most unsanitary conditions. The sugar, water, and drug material will be dumped into a pot standing in the cellar of some low building, or even a stable, where the ceiling is covered with dust, cobwebs, and dirt of all descriptions and the floor littered with filth. The steam from the boiling kettle, condensing on the ceiling, collects the dirt in the drops of water and this soon falls back into the mixture. Again, the sirup will boil over onto the floor and a sticky mass remains which soon collects straw and filth of all descriptions and becomes a rendezvous for flies and other vermin, for usually no attempt is made to clean it up.
Judging from the names of most of these products it would appear that extract of kola nut is one of the chief ingredients, and, while in certain instances this drug is undoubtedly present, in most cases the caffeine has been added as the alkaloid caffeine obtained from refuse tea sweepings or made artificially from uric acid occurring in the Guano deposits of South America, or I the citrated form, and the sirup colored with caramel.
The cocaine found is usually added in the form of extract of coca leaf.
Some of the manufacturers claim that the extract used is prepared from a decocainized coca leaf, the refuse product discarded in the manufacture of cocaine.
An investigation of these products was undertaken about a year ago and it was found that the following products contained both caffeine and extract of coca leaf: Afri Cola, the Afri Cola Co., Atlanta, Ga. Ala Cola, Ala Bottling Works, Bessemer, Ala. Café Coca, Athens Bottling Works, Athens, Ga. Carre Cola, E. Carre Co., Mobile, Ala. Celery Cola, The Celery Cola Co., Birmingham, Ala.; Dallas, Tex,; Nashville, Tenn, and St. Lois, Mo. Chan Ola, L.M. Channel, New Orleans, La. Chera Cola, Union Bottling Works, Columbus, Ga. Coca Beta, the Coca Beta Co., New York City Coca Beta, Southern California Supply Co., Los Angeles, Cal. Coca Cola, Coca Cola Co., Atlanta Ga Pilsbury’s Coke, A.L. Pilsbury, jr., Co., New Orleans, La Cola Coke, Lehman-Rosenfeld Co., Cincinnati, Ohio (This preparation was formally sold under the name of Rocco Cola.) Cream Cola, Jebeles & Calias Co., Birmingham, Ala. Dope, Rainbow Bottling Co., Atlanta, Ga. Four Kola, Big Four Bottling Works, Waco, Tex Hayo Kola, Halo Kola Co., Norfolk, Va Heck’s Cola, Heck & Co., Nashville, Tenn. Kaye Ola, A.W.Kaye, Meridian, Miss. Koca Nola, Koca Nola Co., Atlanta, Ga. Koke, Coleman & McKeever, Frankfort, Ky. Kola Ada, Wiley Manufacturing Co., Atlanta, Ga Kola Kola, W.J. Stange Co., Chigaco, Ill. Kola Phos, Johu Wyeth & Bro., Philadelpia, Pa Kos Kola Lime Cola Lima Ois Mellow Nip, Rainbow Bottling Co., Atlanta, Ga Nerv Ola Revive Ola Rocola, American Manufacturing Co., Savannah, Ga Rye Ols Standard Cola Toka Tons Tokkola Vani Kola Vim-O, Vin O Company, Eagle Lake, Tex. French Wine of Coca, Wine of Coca Co., Boston, Mass. Wise Ola, The Wise Ola Co., Birmingham, Ala The following preparations were found to contain caffeine, but there was no evidence to the effect that coca leaf in any form had been used in their manufacturer: Calycine, Calycine Co., Norfolk, Va Celery Cocoa, Celery Cocoa Co., Boston, Mass Citro Cola Deep Rock Fosko Heck’s Star Pepsin Koke Koke Ola Kalafra Kumfort Lime Juice and Kola Lon Kola Meg-O Mexicola Pau Pau Cola Pedro Pepsi Cola Speed Ball To-Ko Vril Besides the above preparations which have been analyzed a number were reported from different parts of the country but no samples were submitted. From their names, and from what evidence there was submitted, they contain either caffeine of [sic] coca leaf extract, or both: Charcola Cherry Kola Cola Soda Coca Ginger Field’s Cola Imported French Cola Koko Ale Kola Cream Kola Pepsin Celery Wine Tonic Kola Vena Loco Kola Mintola Mate Pikmeup Ro-Cola Schelhorns Cola Vine Cola Viz
COCA BOLAL.D. Ladd’s above closing words are perversely ironic given this ‘fear’ over Coca’s displacement of Tobacco, with its basis upon confusing the abuse of concentrated cocaine sniffing powders and injections with Coca leaf and extracts of comparable low potency, and how this would completely disregard these two different plant commodities’ relative health effects.
"We have recently had occasion to examine a sample of Coca Bola, a product labeled as having been produced by Charles L. Mitchell, M.D., Philadelphia, and the face label bears the following statement:Each ounce contains 0.71 grams of cocain. A chewing paste of leaves of the cocoa [sic] plant, combined with other valuable tonics. The directions for use say coca-bola is made in the form of flat cakes or plugs divided into squares and should be used by chewing one of the small squares marked on the plug and swallowing the saliva.They further say it should be used at occasional intervals as needed throughout the day. To get its full effect it will be necessary to use several squares. They further say:"Although a powerful muscular or nervous tonic, coca-bola has no evil after-effects, and hence is far superior to any other stimulant in the material medica"Now this information given out in the advertising which accompanies each package is, it would seem, intended to give the impression that this product is an entirely harmless one; in other words, that a preparation containing cocain as an active constituent, is to be generally recommended for use without any caution as to the harm that may come from forming a habit for cocain. They further say: "A small portion chewed occasionally acts as a powerful tonic to the muscular and nervous system, enabling the chewer to perform additional labor, and also relieves fatigue and exhaustion without evil after effects. It contains no injurious ingredients and is perfectly harmless."
So we might quote from the circular which is sent out by a man who claims to be a physician, urging, as it were, on the people the use of a product of this kind, which, as has clearly been shown, must in the end result in the formation of the cocain habit, if not in the complete demoralization and degradation of the individual himself.
The laws of North Dakota prohibit the sale of any compound or product in the state which contains cocaine in any form. It further prohibits the refilling of a physician’s prescription that contains cocain, and yet a product of this kind, it would seem from information that has been gathered, is sold directly to the customer, although it is true that the proprietor of the product maintains that it is now sold only to physicians.
In a letter under date of Aug. 19, 1909, signed by Charles L. Mitchell, M.D., he says:September 13, 1909A letter of this kind needs no comment, and a product of this kind, in the judgment of the writer, can only be sent out for malicious purposes and its sale is illegal in North Dakota. We warn the public against either handling the same or using the same, if they would avoid the formation of a serious drug-habit and one that must result in positive injury to our people.
E.F. Ladd, North Dakota Agriculture College, N.D.
Your favor of September 7th duly received for which please accept my thanks. Owing to the “crank’ legislation of many states we have discontinued the manufacturer of all coca and cocaine preparations.
Any “fool” druggist of your state who gets or sells an old package of our coca-bola does so at his own risk, as necessarily, having been put out some time ago, there is no guarantee, and we will not protect him.
The people are getting a little sense into their heads, however, gradually, and they will sometime realize that preparations of both coca and cocain have an honest and legitimate use by the medical profession. Your state law is silly and on par with the 9-foot bed sheet laws of Texas and Oklahoma. Of course, your duty is to enforce the law, not to criticize it. I can do that.
I am, ours very truly
Charles L. Mitchell, M.D.
This product, put in the form of a gum, would easily take the place – for one who had formed the habit for cocain – of tobacco; and it might be made to take the place of chewing gum with young people who would be entirely innocent of the intentional use of any such preparation, not knowing the evil effects that would come from its continued use.
In the judgment of the writer, no man who will allow his name to be connected with a scheme of this kind should be permitted to disgrace the profession of medicine by using the title M.D.
Contrary to any assumption the government would ban the more dangerous substance while tolerating or promoting the safer one, the U.S. government ended up doing just the opposite, with Coca and Tobacco at the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Coca the safest, according to U.C.L.A.’s Dr. Ronald K. Siegel’s 1989 book Intoxication; tobacco the most dangerous, extracting 400,000 plus reduced lives in the US annually, 6 million annually in both India and China. Their respective pharmacological properties, and thus the fact that this simultaneous market suppression of the safer alternative, Coca, and market promotion of the more dangerous alternative, Tobacco, made this an expensive mistake.
While both Tobacco and Coca had long histories of human use, owing to botanical-weather requirements and volatility, Tobacco is a U.S. agriculture commodity – marked in granite along with cornstalks at the top of the columns of the U.S. Capitol – prominent in its southeast; Coca is the foreign crop, requiring tropical climates, preferably with high elevations absent with the southernmost regions of the U.S.
As this graph from the book "Licit and Illicit Drugs shows, sales of Tobacco cigarettes drastically increased following the enactment of the 1906 'Pure' Food and Drugs Act and the criminal policies of Harvey Wiley/USDA and his political masters.