Leave it to North Korea and central Cambodia to produce chain smoking monkeys. And some of them are smoking a pack a day. But are they enjoying it?
That's right - monkeys enjoy smoking just as much as some humans, if not more. In fact, if we take a step back, animals have been ingesting psychotropic, sedative, and even hallucinogenic compounds since the beginning of time. Scientists have known this for decades.
In fact, Ducks have been known to consume narcotics. Sheep try to consume the hallucinogenic lichen, and the well known plant catnip is a cat's drug of choice. But not all drugs are equal among animals.
Nicotine is an interesting compound because every type of animal except primates dies immediately from its toxic properties. If an insect consumes any nicotine, it dies immediately.
But why do so many animals do drugs? Do drugs represent something much deeper than a fleeting pleasure?
Take, for example, that many major medical innovations developed from human's fascination with drugs. (In the same vein, many chemical discoveries came from Alchemy. Did you know that Issac Newton wrote more papers about alchemy than he did about physics?)
Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723) invented the needle that's used in vaccines and medical delivery systems. A great invention. But he invented it to transmit heroin more efficiently to the human body. He didn't know about vaccines.
There's a deep connection between drugs and the history of humanity and civilization. It has been suggested that psychedelics open new physical dimensions to the mind, and that taking LSD -for example - can clinically and certifiably cure ailments like depression.
I don't know if monkeys are depressed, but I can imagine they might be since they spend a lot of their time in zoos being watched by people. I don't think we should lock up monkeys. But I also don't think they should be smoking cigarettes.
The monkeys need to learn a better way to cope.