- Robert M. Palmieri
- United States of America
***I did NOT creat this article! It is a portion of the article called, "Why ban the sale of cigarettes? The case for abolition" by Robert N Proctor.***
The cigarette is the deadliest object in the history of human civilisation. Cigarettes kill about 6 million people every year, a number that will grow before it shrinks. Smoking in the twentieth century killed only 100 million people, whereas a billion could perish in our century unless we reverse course.1 Even if present rates of consumption drop steadily to zero by 2100, we will still have about 300 million tobacco deaths this century.
The cigarette is also a defective product, meaning not just dangerous but unreasonably dangerous, killing half its long-term users. And addictive by design. It is fully within the power of the Food and Drug Administration in the US, for instance, to require that the nicotine in cigarettes be reduced to subcompensable, subaddictive levels.2 ,3 This is not hard from a manufacturing point of view: the nicotine alkaloid is water soluble, and denicotinised cigarettes were already being made in the 19th century.4 Philip Morris in the 1980s set up an entire factory to make its Next brand cigarettes, using supercritical fluid extraction techniques to achieve a 97% reduction in nicotine content, which is what would be required for a 0.1% nicotine cigarette, down from present values of about 2%.5 Keep in mind that we're talking about nicotine content in the rod as opposed to deliveries measured by the ‘FTC method’, which cannot capture how people actually smoke.5
Cigarettes are also defective because they have been engineered to produce an inhalable smoke. Tobacco smoke was rarely inhaled prior to the nineteenth century; it was too harsh, too alkaline. Smoke first became inhalable with the invention of flue curing, a technique by which the tobacco leaf is heated during fermentation, preserving the sugars naturally present in the unprocessed leaf. Sugars when they burn produce acids, which lower the pH of the resulting smoke, making it less harsh, more inhalable. There is a certain irony here, since these ‘milder’ cigarettes were actually far more deadly, allowing smoke to be drawn deep into the lungs. The world's present epidemic of lung cancer is almost entirely due to the use of low pH flue-cured tobacco in cigarettes, an industry-wide practice that could be reversed at any time. Regulatory agencies should mandate a significant reduction in rod-content nicotine, but they should also require that no cigarette be sold with a smoke pH lower than 8. Those two mandates alone would do more for public health than any previous law in history.5
Death and product defect are two reasons to abolish the sale of cigarettes, but there are others. A third is the financial burden on public and private treasuries, principally from the costs of treating illnesses due to smoking. Cigarette use also results in financial losses from diminished labor productivity, and in many parts of the world makes the poor even poorer.6
A fourth reason is that the cigarette industry is a powerful corrupting force in human civilisation. Big tobacco has corrupted science by sponsoring ‘decoy’ or ‘distraction research’,5 but it has also corrupted popular media, insofar as newspapers and magazines dependent on tobacco advertising for revenues have been reluctant to publish critiques of cigarettes.7 The industry has corrupted even the information environment of its own workforce, as when Philip Morris paid its insurance provider (CIGNA) to censor the health information sent to corporate employees.8Tobacco companies have bullied, corrupted or exploited countless other institutions: the American Medical Association, the American Law Institute, sports organisations, fire-fighting bodies, Hollywood, the US Congress—even the US presidency and US military. President Lyndon Johnson refused to endorse the 1964 Surgeon General's report, for instance, fearing alienation of the tobacco-friendly South. Cigarette makers managed even to thwart the US Navy's efforts to go smoke-free. In 1986, the Navy had announced a goal of creating a smoke-free Navy by the year 2000; tobacco-friendly congressmen were pressured to thwart that plan, and a law was passed requiring that all ships sell cigarettes and allow smoking. The result: American submarines were not smoke-free until 2011.9
Cigarettes are also, though, a significant cause of harm to the natural environment. Cigarette manufacturing consumes scarce resources in growing, curing, rolling, flavouring, packaging, transport, advertising and legal defence, but also causes harms from massive pesticide use and deforestation. Many Manhattans of savannah woodlands are lost every year to obtain the charcoal used for flue curing. Cigarette manufacturing also produces non-trivial greenhouse gas emissions, principally from the fossil fuels used for curing and transport, fires from careless disposal of butts, and increased medical costs from maladies caused by smoking5 (China produces 40 percent of the world's cigarettes, for example, and uses mainly coal to cure its tobacco leaf). And cigarette makers have provided substantial funding and institutional support for global climate change deniers, causing further harm.10 Cigarettes are not sustainable in a world of global warming; indeed they are one of its overlooked and easily preventable causes.
But the sixth and most important reason for abolition is the fact that smokers themselves do not like their habit. This is a key point: smoking is not a recreational drug; most smokers do not like the fact they smoke and wish they could quit. This means that cigarettes are very different from alcohol or even marijuana. Only about 10–15% of people who drink liquor ever become alcoholics, versus addiction rates of 80% or 90% for people who smoke.11 As an influential Canadian tobacco executive once confessed: smoking is not like drinking, it is rather like being an alcoholic.12
Ban The Sale Of Tobacco In Utica NY.
The Petition To Ban The Sale Of Tobacco In Utica NY petition to Robert M. Palmieri was written by Trevor Vanderlan and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.