i watched a documentary on the cigarette industry last night. It had a simple point:
“the cigarette industry is evil. it kills people and makes a lot of money doing so.”
The essence of the argument was that the cigarette industry effectively lobbies politicians, conceals and misrepresents data, markets intensively to vulnerable targets and even smuggles its products in an effort to make money. Oh and its products kill people.
One of the pervasive messages that come up was that its consumers were victims of marketing and the addictive nature of the product itself.
A few thoughts came to mind as I watched it.
1) The cigarette industry does indeed play hard. in many places, unethically, in some places, illegally. I expect no less from any industry that makes its money from selling products that it knows directly harm people. (see point 6)
2) Young people are more easily persuaded to start smoking. Because in general they are impressionable.
3) No one is making you smoke. Really. No one. And since these days, if you’re in a developed country, you know how bad smoking is for you, you are not a victim.
4) The cognitive dissonance that comes with being told and knowing that smoking is bad for you and will eventually kill you and the your inability to *easily* give up smoking makes it easy for you to absolve yourself of responsibility by blaming pretty much everyone else. That does not make you a victim.
5) If you cant give up smoking, you’re not trying hard enough. Really. Ok, so you’re addicted. Like you didnt know it wouldnt happen when you started. Big whoop. Try harder.
6) The cigarette industry *will* find ways to market its product and will keep making money unless tobacco is made illegal. At which point, organised criminal syndicates will make even more money.
7) If you know about the health hazards of smoking and you still smoke, you deserve your fate. I have no sympathy for smokers over the age of 21. Sell them more cigarettes and push them on private health insurance. Mind, funding more quitting programs that work using tax revenue from cigarettes is also a good idea.
8) Being one myself, I have a lot of sympathy for passive smokers. Passive smokers especially those in smoky workplaces have no choice in the matter. If anyone deserves the label “victim”, it is passive smokers who front up with cancer.
9) Banning all forms of advertising, selling of cigarettes to minors, placing warnings on boxes, banning smoking in all indoor venues are good things to do. It wont stop people from smoking though because of 3), 4) 5) and 6).
10) If we make recreational drugs fully legal (such as heroin, speed, dope), the industry that evolves to make and sell those drugs will be identical in behaviour, profitability and outlook as the cigarette industry.
11) alternative socialist, anti-capitalists left-leaning vegetarian types who smoke cigarrette industy made tobacco should be sneered at at every opportunity. Right wingers who smoke cigarrettes should be encouraged to take out private health insurance.
12) Smokers should grow and cure their own tobacco.