Starting in advertisements in late November, Henrico County-based Altria Group Inc. and other major U.S. cigarette companies will publish a series of statements about the health risks of smoking.
The court-ordered “corrective statements” are set to run on television and in newspapers as part of an agreement reached in an 18-year-old federal lawsuit that accused cigarette-makers of deceiving the public. The statements include “Smoking is highly addictive” and “Smoking kills, on average, 1,200 Americans every day.”
I find this quite extraordinary. And unless the tobacco companies have been drinking the Tobacco Control Kool-Aid, I would imagine that they find it extraordinary, too.
Those of us who take an interest in these matters are well aware of the chicanery involved in calculating the number of deaths ’caused’ by smoking, and we also know that the term ‘highly addictive’ is both subjective (I’ve known many people who smoked – or not – according to their mood) and emotive.
If we mere laymen are aware of this, then it goes without saying that the tobacco companies know it as well. And yet they are being forced by the courts to spend vast amounts of money telling people lies devised by anti-tobacco fanatics.
It goes on to say:
On television, the statements will appear in 30-second ads, running once per week for 52 weeks, mostly on the major television networks during prime-time hours. The companies also will run full-page ads in 45 newspapers across the country over a six-month period.
The statements also list various diseases linked with tobacco use, and the companies are required to say that they had “intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction.”
That’s a lot of advertising to pay for.
‘Various diseases linked with tobacco use’
Now there are some weasel words if ever I heard them. According to Tobacco Control, almost every disease known to man is ‘linked with’ tobacco use. The fact that people who don’t smoke get these same diseases ‘linked with’ tobacco use is an inconvenient fact that gets ignored.
The statement “intentionally designed cigarettes with enough nicotine to create and sustain addiction” is an interesting one, though. Did they ‘design’ cigarettes with a view to ‘create and sustain addiction’? Did they need to? I find that hard to believe, but if anyone has any info on that, I’d love to know. To my mind, as a smoker of roll-ups, which are the very antithesis of ‘designed’ cigarettes, I wouldn’t have thought the tobacco companies would have had to do any ‘designing’ at all. Just put the product out there, and if they like it, people will buy.
And finally, the article states:
The corrective statements cover five broad topics:
- the adverse health effects of smoking;
- the addictiveness of smoking and nicotine;
- the lack of significant health benefit from smoking “low-tar” and “light” cigarettes;
- the manipulation of cigarette design and composition to ensure optimum nicotine delivery; and
the adverse health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.
So, ok, the ‘adverse health effects of smoking’ is debatable. I think there probably are adverse health effects, but that those effects have been grossly exaggerated by the anti-smokers. And whether or not you will ever suffer any of those adverse health effects also depends a great deal on your particular metabolism.
The ‘addictiveness’ I already dealt with above, apart from the fact that nicotine itself hasn’t any of the classic addictive properties, and indeed, there are some prominent scientists who dispute that nicotine is addictive in any sense of the word. After all, how many people have you known who were ‘addicted’ to nicotine patches?
The third item I wouldn’t have a clue about, never having been attracted to ‘low-tar’ or ‘light’ cigarettes anyway, but I would have thought that if you’re coming from the starting point that smoking is harmful, then low-tar and light cigarettes are logically going to be less harmful. The dose makes the poison, and all that.
I actually commented on the article about the last two items, so ludicrous did they seem.
Of course tobacco companies are going to ‘ensure optimum nicotine delivery’ in their cigarettes. If they didn’t, people would buy another brand! Doh! You couldn’t make this shit up, really. What that mandated statement illustrates more than anything is how little idea these people have of how business works. But I guess when you’ve only worked for government or NGOs, ‘Business’ is another planet.
I’m not even going to bother with the SHS malarkey. We all know about that anyway.
So here we have a whole industry who is being forced to publicly tell lies about it’s activities and its products, and pay for the honour. And all to satisfy the smug sanctimony of a small but powerful clique of fanatical zealots.
How on earth did we come to this?