Wednesday, June 29, 2005

It is called personal responsibility

I don’t smoke.

My mother and father smoked. My sister smokes at times. I have friends that smoke.

But I don’t.

Why is that? Did I somehow not cave in to the apparently constant marketing of cigarettes to impressionable youth? (please note sarcasm).

I am sick and disgusted by the continual blaming of tobacco companies for everyone smoking and the extortion of money in these lawsuits.

There was more news on the lawsuit front yesterday. Go Google it. I am too lazy to find a good link. There were a couple items in the report that made me both angry and laugh. Here is the brunt of the story:

The government asked for companies to pay for a $10 billion (8.3 billion), five-year smoking cessation program and a $4 billion (3.3 billion), 10-year education campaign to counter tobacco marketing. Prosecutors also asked for cigarette makers to reduce youth-smoking levels by 42 percent by 2013, or pay stiff fines.

A five year “cessation” program that consists of telephone counseling and medication. You just lost Tom Cruise’s support on that one. But couldn’t this help the pharmaceutical companies that are (supposedly) charging us too much?

The 10 “10-year education campaign to counter tobacco marketing” is intriguing. How do you do that? Make commercials that demand you forget everything you have ever read, seen, or heard from a tobacco company?

And how can a tobacco company be responsible for reducing the number of kids who smoke? How? They do not advertise to them as it is. How are they to blame for little Johnny lighting up nowadays?

Here is another great line I liked:

The government alleges tobacco companies conspired for decades to mislead the public about the health risks of smoking.

I am in my 30s. I do not recall a single commercial, ever, that told me smoking was good for me. I recall the Surgeon General warnings being big, but nothing that said I would be much healthier if I smoked. I remember seeing old versions of I Love Lucy and watching Ricky Ricardo light up, but that didn’t make me want to smoke.

Then to cap it off, one of the biggest dingbats in Congress had this to say:

On Tuesday, Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, called the proposal "a political decision to cave in to Big Tobacco at the expense of the American people."

Yes, the expense of the American people. The same people who are also subsidizing the tobacco farms in the first place. Great expense there Teddy!

I have choices in life. I choose not to smoke. I choose to go to bars or restaurants where people may smoke. I know the risk involved with doing so. I invest money in stocks that are heavily tobacco related. I know those risks too.

I have made responsible choices. Don’t make me and other investors pay for those who can handle their responsibilities and must blame others. Don’t take cigarettes out of the hands of responsible adults who have chosen to smoke.

For once they are done with the tobacco companies, the next target will be the alcohol industry. Suddenly, every drunk is going to blame Miller, Budweiser, Jack Daniels, or Southern Comfort for their liver problems or drunk driving.

What is the end result here? I want to know. If you smoke, do you intend to quit? Why or why not? Afterall, people that don’t know you, have decided you should stop smoking because it is in your best interest.

Wait, what do you mean, what are you talking about, we decided!? My best interest?! How can you know what's my best interest is? How can you say what my best interest is? What are you trying to say, I'm crazy? When I went to your schools, I went to your churches, I went to your institutional learning facilities?!

Stop blaming others for your own actions.


Human Head said...

Word up. Your question at the end has the potential to start me on a written tangent that could last for weeks, but I'll try and keep it brief.

I know that smoking is bad for my health, the same as eveyone else, but I choose to anyway because I enjoy it thoroughly. I don't need anyone do do what's best for me, I'm an adult, goddamnit.

I may quit someday, if I have kids or something, but who knows...I love to smoke and don't really want to quit at this point.

If the cigarettes don't kill me, the preservatives in my Twinkies, or the continual exhaust fumes, or any number of things that people choose to ignore, will.

Like you said before, life is too short to drink cheap booze, and it's also too short not to smoke a good cigarette (or 10) if I enjoy it.

J. Gambino said...

Every person who decides to sue a company for making them fat, addicted to nicotine or a drunk should be exiled to (insert 3rd world country here). The minute we let others make our decisions, we lose. That would be like me suing Movieplex for my house not getting vacuumed because they showed A League of Their Own again. How can you not watch it uncut and no commercials?

EvaCanHang said...

Amen! We're all going to die someday. Let me do it on my own terms. I want the right to choose.

Aleta said...

Rather than go on a writing rampage, I'll just say ditto to the prior three comments...Although I was thinking of sueing the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Company for not making my vacuum cleaner more attractive, therefore I'd want to use it more often.

djw said...

my problem is, during my dry spell, my vacuum cleaner looks TOO atractive.