Smokers of the world unite! It’s strange for a physician to be sympathizing with the tobacco companies, purveyors of the opium of the people. Am I a stealth nicotine addict, an apologist for Big Tobacco who supplies me with my daily fix? This scurrilous allegation can be vaporized in a one-question quiz:
Q: Identify which two of the three individuals listed below are cigarette smokers:
– John Boehner, newly elected Speaker of the House , 3rd in line to the presidency
– Barack Obama, Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world
– Michael Kirsch, Hemorrhoid Examiner
I’ve never smoked and I detest the habit. It kills people and separates lower income Americans from money that could likely be devoted to more worthwhile endeavors. I remember caring for folks with end-stage emphysema as a medical resident and thinking that this disease was worse than cancer. I haven’t changed my mind.
Yet I have felt for years that Big Tobacco is demonized by the press and the government as Big Scapegoat, and this blame shift has always troubled me. I am well aware that the tobacco companies are guilty of many offenses. They have lied about their corporate practices, advertising strategies and manipulation of nicotine content. These companies — like any individual or business — should be held accountable with available legal remedies. If crimes were committed, then I’m sure this nation has a few idle and altruistic attorneys who can fight them in the courts. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*
The FDA will soon require new cigarette package labeling to deter smoking. So in politically-correct governmental fashion, they are asking which labels you’d like to see. (You can pick your favorites here.) My personal favorite (so far) is the one shown to the left, but its impact factor pales in comparison to this example found in England. (That, my friends, is cancer!)
Ironically, it appears the FDA isn’t too sure how forceful it should be in these warnings about the dangers of smoking. They offer a cornucopia of milquetoast labeling options, many of which contain cartoons. Might such unrealistic portrayals defy they hard-hitting message they want to project? Worse, at least one cartoon (seen here) even seems to promote cigarettes AND drug use together!
In an even more astonishing example, some images almost make me what to take up smoking so I can blow big bubbles. Since I could never do this well before, maybe I should take up smoking! Seriously, is an empowerment message what the government wants to portray?
Make these labels big, ugly, and real. Anything else is a waste of taxpayer’s money.
-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.
*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*
I had a fascinating discussion with an ex-tobacco farming expert. He’s an expert because he used to grow tobacco, but not anymore. If you’re a smoker, or user of any tobacco leaf product, what he said should shock you. I take that back — you’re a smoker: “shocked” is never going to happen to you.
What did he say that was so striking? I’m not a farmer, so it became a little difficult to understand all the science behind the conversation. Needless to say, he said they used to farm vegetables and tobacco side by side. He said something about potato farming being timed with tobacco crops, and when the potato market went south he got out of the tobacco farming business for good and went with just vegetables. Now he’s a full-time vegetable farmer.
While he was a tobacco farmer, how did he run his tobacco farm? Like I said, he grew vegetables and tobacco side-by-side. He used different pesticides for the vegetables than he did for the tobacco farming. He farmed based on the concept that people who ate vegetables were looking for a healthy food. So he used pesticides in their lowest recommended concentration and applied them at the longest recommended time frame between applications and used the safest formulations available. None of his chemicals carried the skull-and-crossbones warning. And what about the tobacco farming? Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*