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June 21, 2005

No Political Payback for Big Tobacco

-- by Dave Johnson

DontPardonBigTobacco.org

The U.S. Department of Justice is trying to let Big Tobacco off the hook to the tune of $120 billion. At the very last minute in its tobacco lawsuit, the Justice Department suddenly slashed how much it wants the industry to pay for programs to help the nation's 45 million smokers quit. Profits and politics came before public health.
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Posted by Dave Johnson at June 21, 2005 8:33 PM

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Comments

Dear Lawmaker,

I am happy to see that the silly tobacco settlement has been voided. As you know, smoking is a dangerous habit yet it is one that people freely take up. To expect a producer to pay the government for someone else's poor choices is the height of fascism.

Further, these smokers are actually doing the country a favor. Most health care costs are incurred by people at the end of life; by smoking and whittling down the number of years they will live, they will help us reduce these costs. Also, they (as a group) generally do not live long enough to collect SS, so they are actually helping us avert the crisis.

To summarize: smoking is a habit that people freely pick up, and in picking up this habit they save us billions a year. Lighter up!

Posted by: Pericles at June 21, 2005 11:12 PM

Yes, you clearly expressed the libertarian viewpont - people should be entirely at the mercy of corporations that have billions of dollars in resources. And to make sure the playing field is how the corporations want it, people must face these resources as individuals, not allowed to band together in "community" to pool resources and collective wisdom/memory to help them fight back.

The lawsuit is about tobacco companies intentionally tagetting CHILDREN. Almost no one starts smoking after they turn 16 or so.

The law says "personal responsibility" doesn't start until about 18 or so. That's why these companies figured out how to hook kids, and then after they are old enough they are too addicted to quit.

Posted by: Dave Johnson at June 22, 2005 7:32 AM

My mother started smoking when she was 12 years old. At that time it was the "cool" thing to do. "All the popular" people smoked and it was even hailed as a health benefit. She is now 84 (I guess all smokers don't die young) and she is dying of lung cancer. She has never been able to quit and continues to smoke because she feels better when she does. I can (and I'm sure other smokers and ex-smokers) understand what she means. When I was a smoker, the first thing I did when I was out of breath was to light up a cigarette because it helped me breathe better (?)
Logically it makes no sense, but it is true none the less. It was extremely difficult for me to quit smoking and it took many tries before I was successful. It has been 9 years since I quit and I still want a cigarette. Not everyone is this addicted. Some people do not get addicted and can just quit when they want to. Then there are those who are the hard core addicted. They are the ones who cannot quit. They are the ones that you see removing their oxygen tube so they can have a drag of their cigarette. Cigarettes are extremely addictive and the cigarette companies know this. That is why they focus in on the kids because by the time the kids are old enough to realize that it is not cool to smoke they are already addicted both emotionally as well as physically. As an adult, if you choose to start smoking then it's your decision and your responsibility. I'm sure that we would all agree with this. But children have a need to be seen as grown up, they have a need to be seen as "one of the cool ones", they have a need to be defiant and rebellious of authority figures. The drug pushers (including those in the cigarette industry) know these things and use them to get kids hooked. Yes, the cigarette industry is responsible for hooking children on the drugs in cigarettes and they must be held accountable.

Posted by: Jane Algozzini at June 23, 2005 7:43 AM

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