« Iranian Law: Non Muslims Must Wear Colored Badges | Main | Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before... »

Blaming the victims? Not allowed

Let me begin by stating one simple fact: I loathe smoking. It was a factor in both my parents' deaths. It's a foul, stinking, habit that kills people, but slowly enough that too many don't care. If the tobacco plant were to vanish from the face of the earth, I would do a happy dance. Subsidies to tobacco farmers is probably the single government expenditure that most drives me insane.

That being said, I have to once again decry the insanity of the Massachusetts judicial system. The Supreme Judicial Court, the same body that gave the country officially sanctioned gay marriage by a 4-3 vote, has been weighing a lawsuit against Philip Morris by the widow of a smoker who died of lung cancer. And they have ruled that the smoker cannot be blamed for his own death.

For 40 years, cigarettes have carried warning labels. And their health threats have been known for far longer. Any one who smokes knows full well the hazards of smoking -- or at least ought to. And nobody is ever forced to become a smoker -- it's a conscious decision, and one that (as I understand it) takes a bit of effort -- it's a highly unnatural act, and takes considerable practice and effort to get over the unpleasant aspects of smoking. We are bombarded with anti-smoking messages and campaigns, the drug stores are filled with products to help smokers quit, taxes on cigarettes are getting higher and higher, and laws against smokers are getting more and more draconian. In short, it's getting harder and harder to begin and continue smoking, and takes a lot of effort to begin and sustain the habit.

But the Supreme Judicial Court doesn't recognize that. To them, apparently Philip Morris kidnapped Stephen Haglund as a youth and forced him to start smoking. They gave him cigarettes at every opportunity. And every time he tried to quit, the came around and threatened his family before tying him up and sticking more and more cigarettes into his mouth. He did nothing wrong, contributed not one whit to his death. It's all the fault of that evil tobacco company.

Some day, my innate laziness may win out and I may move to Massachusetts. I will just give up on being independent and responsible for myself and free, and let Big Nanny run my life for me while I do whatever the hell I like with myself.

On that day, I hope some kind soul kills me, because at that point I will no longer deserve to live.

Comments (37)

No, you would just deserve ... (Below threshold)
Master Shake:

No, you would just deserve pity at that point. Now, if you also voted for Kennedy and/or Kerry, then you would no longer deserve to live.

This incident demonstrates ... (Below threshold)

This incident demonstrates why I've come to believe that libs don't really like liberty and democracy, though they pay a lot of lip service to them:

They have no faith in people's ability to be responsible for their own lives.

Therefore, only the "right sort" of people (i.e. libs) need to be in charge. They'll make the right decisions FOR all the helpless little people because THEY know best.

One other point: if cigarettes are so lethal, then why isn't there an outright ban on their manufacture / importation?

Hmmmm.I'm going to... (Below threshold)


I'm going to drink, smoke and eat fatty foods in the sure and certain knowledge that if my health is ever adversely affected by this behavior I can move to Massachusetts and then sue the hell out of people for my having a good time.

Perhaps, Philip Morris shou... (Below threshold)

Perhaps, Philip Morris should not longer sell tobacco in Massachusetts.
I wonder how loud the policians would scream if their tobacco tax revenue goes to zero.

I am a smoker(one of those ... (Below threshold)

I am a smoker(one of those evil, loathsome people),and I can state for a fact that no one, at any time, made me pick up these things. It was my choice and no one else's. I happen to believe in personal responsibility, so if I have any problems due to my smoking, it is MY FAULT! It p*****s me off when these lawsuits come up for the reasons that are put forward in this post. Smokers, grow some b****s and take responsibility for your decisions and leave the courts out of it.

That being said, I have ... (Below threshold)

That being said, I have to once again decry the insanity of the Massachusetts judicial system.

I know Massachusetts is a favorite target of yours Jay, but is Mass any different from any other state? I'm not aware of any states that ruled differently on this issue, not even the tobacco-growing states.

I'm not defending the decision, just wondering why single out Mass. This decision seems par for the course these days.

Folks -- take pause:<... (Below threshold)

Folks -- take pause:

Knowing that the eminently brilliant and conservative Justice Robert Cordy was one of the 7-0 voting on this case, I pulled up the oipinion and examined it -- and it isn't what it seems.

At the risk of sliding into the dreadfully dull morass of jurisprudence on the Uniform Commercial Code, the decision was a rather straightforward application of the principle that in an action based upon breach of warranty of mercantability, "the user's negligence does not prevent recovery except when he unreasonably uses a product that he knows to be defective and dangerous." Philip Morris sought to assert the affirmative defense that the user "unreasonably used" the product; the plaintiff's case was dismissed on that basis, and the plaintiff appealed.

The SJC's decision to reverse is explained simply this way:

"the Correia defense presumes that the product at issue is, in normal circumstances, reasonably safe and capable of being reasonably safely used, and therefore that the consumer's unreasonable use of the product he knows to be defective and dangerous is appropriately penalized. Here, however, both Philip Morris and the plaintiff agree that cigarette smoking is inherently dangerous and that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette. Because no cigarette can be safely used for its ordinary purpose, smoking, there can be no nonunreasonable use of cigarettes. Thus the Correia defense, which serves to deter unreasonable use of products in a dangerous and defective state, will, in the usual course, be inapplicable."

The decision merely sends the case back to trial -- it does not find in favor of the plaintiff. As the COurt noted:

"we also agree with Philip Morris that, in certain conceivable scenarios, an individual consumer's behavior may be so overwhelmingly unreasonable in light of the consumer's knowledge about, for example, a specific medical condition from which he suffers, that the Correia defense may be invoked. The jury determine unreasonable use from the specific factual context of each case, and we are loathe to foreclose assertion of the defense as a matter of law in every cigarette-related product liability action."

So, PM admitted that its product could not be used safely under any circumstances. If the moron who died smoked three packs a day and had high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, then PM will eventually come out on top.

I think there's enough blam... (Below threshold)

I think there's enough blame to go around here. Smokers...at least those who started when they are adults...ought to know better. I must say, though, the punishment (death) exceeds the crime (taking up a stupid, dangerous habit.)

Of course, tobacco companies who sell a product which, when used as directed, causes cancer...they're beneath contempt. Both the willing smoker and the nicotine pushers bear responsibility.

I'm a smoker. When I start... (Below threshold)

I'm a smoker. When I started I knew full well the dangers of it, just as someone bungee jumps knows the full danger of it. I made the conscious decision to start...I wasn't duped, deceived or coerced into buying their product, nor to continue using it.

Can someone explain to me how that puts PM at fault?
PM should be held to standards, transparency and strict marketing codes, but other than that, they supply a product that is consumed by choice.

For those who decry the moral absence of the cigarette companies ought to look just as unfavorably toward all the producers of alcoholic beverages; the excessive consumption of which can and does cause more psychological and physiological problems than tobacco. In addition it leads to destructive behaviour that makes victims of others that don't or haven't drank...like drunk driving for instance.

If I smoke a cigarette in my house at night am I in danger of killing a family of three that happened to be driving by? Am I more prone to beat my wife or kids?

We have a problem in this country for blaming everyone else for what we do wrong. Hot coffee spilled on your lap? Sue the company that brewed it. Got fat eating fast food? Sue the company that makes it. Got lung cancer from smoking cigarettes? Sue the comapny that makes them. Crashed your car into a house, killing an elderly woman because you got too drunk and got behind the wheel? Sue the bartender for serving you the drinks.

Pretty convenient.

I hope I can sue Burger Kin... (Below threshold)

I hope I can sue Burger King soon, since they made my ass fat.

Thanks to wavemaker for not... (Below threshold)

Thanks to wavemaker for not joining the other Tea-lemmings, and actually reading up about the case. You see, Jay, of course you can blame the smoker, the point is that PM can't use that as a defence of their actions (except exceptionally). Why? because they produce a product for which there IS no safe use - perhaps the triple negative confused you, Jay: "there can be no nonunreasonable use of cigarettes". It's a question of law, you see Jay. Try to remember such details before deciding conciously to publish your next ridiculous rant.

Hmmm.Frankly every... (Below threshold)


Frankly everything associated with smoking is utter nonsense.

Anybody remember when the tobacco companies tried to come out with a smokeless cigarette? Basically it was a short cigarette sized tube where you could "puff" on it and pull in the appropriately metered doses of nicotine.

It got killed because the FDA was persuaded by the anti-smoking lobby that if it came out, even more people would get hooked on nicotine. So the FDA ruled it a "drug delivery device" and then quashed it by requiring it to be treated as if it were a medical device.

So you could get legally be administered nicotine from burning dried tobacco leaves, but you couldn't legally get nicotine from a simple inhaler type device.

Frankly I wonder how many people died from lung cancer because of this idiot nonsense.

"It's a question of law, yo... (Below threshold)

"It's a question of law, you see Jay. Try to remember such details before deciding conciously to publish your next ridiculous rant."

Actually Mark, if PM had not admitted that the product was inherently dangerous as a matter of fact, then it wouldn't have necessarily been a foregone conclusion of law.

I don't happen to believe that cigarettes are inherently dangerous per se -- because I believe (based upon personal experience) that one is able to smoke cigarettes in moderation and only infinitessimally increase the risk of disease (a risk which, even though elevated for smokers, is still not that high).

They are, however, inherently disgusting to non-smokers (and social smokers who are not smoking) -- which I believe is what drives most of the LOONEY ANTI-SMOKING ZEALOTS.

And by the way Mark -- how dare you use MY words to slur Jay. Make up your own next time.

I remember those smokeless ... (Below threshold)

I remember those smokeless cigarettes. The idea that they would get more people addicted to nicotine may be a valid concern. Once you remove the danger, people who avoided cigarettes for health reasons might want to try the smokeless version.

The problem is that it took away the smokeless cigarette from smokers. It's not the nicotine that does you any harm. All it is is a stimulant. The danger of cigarettes is the carbon in the "tar". Nobody gets cancer from nicotine.

The other problem is that if a smokeless cigarettes is a "drug delivery device", then so is Nicorette Gum. Anti-smoking groups ought to keep in mind why they are anti-smoking. It's not the harmless "drug" nicotine, it's the carcinogen "tar" that's the enemy.

Stoopid anti-smoking lobbyists.

Something to consider, why ... (Below threshold)

Something to consider, why do people choose to smoke, I blame it on clever marketing and social pressure. First of all, Marketing, I think it is not just the ads. I fear it is enviromental. I was terrified against the idea of smoking by my father, who scared me away from the idea of it since I was old enough to know. Which was confusing because I knew my mom smoked. I was just too scared of my dad ( not abusive but scary) Anyway, I was not encouraged to smoke, and I was old enough to learn of it's dangers, I was able to see peer pressure and Still not choose to smoke, but it did lead me to feel like an outsider. Which leads me to think that it is peerpressure that makes it all the more seductive. To be part of the group. respected for your strength.

Then comes the rub. Addiction. Nicotine is so strong an addictive quality that the body rejects all urges to give it up. This component is what makes the cig so desireable because the alternative is unthinkable and painfull.

Why add it?

because it is like salt and seasonings in fastfood. It makes it more desireable
we have secret sauce, 11 herbs and seasonings, MSG and other ways to make something more desireable. Is there anything wrong there?

At times I think yes.

because while we are able to choose, invoking an addictive component reduces our freedom to choose.

This is nothing but the gov... (Below threshold)

This is nothing but the government mafia trashing tobacco for profit. They are totalitarian scum.

Per the discussion above ab... (Below threshold)

Per the discussion above about the nicotine inhaler:

It is available since I believe 1998, also as a nasal spray.

Nicotine may not cause cancer, but it contributes to hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, etc., thus it does present a health risk. The delivery method, inhalation, provides sharp peaks (and valleys) that accentuates certain addictive behavior, though the slower absorption methods [transdermal and transmucosal] provide more sustained levels and are actually harder to quit from. The high peaks from inhalation would increase the medical risks of nicotine use.

Anyways, if you are interested in alternatives to smoking don't forget the rectal route:


For a Canadian Physician's perspective on alternative systems for delivery:


Both tobacco and alcohol us... (Below threshold)

Both tobacco and alcohol use lead to markedly severe adverse effects upon our economy. Early death and lost wages, extra medical costs, litigation, not to mention the huge diversion of money (be it for the goods or the taxes on them) from other commerce and [gasp] health care efforts.

So they get a lot of attention. However, a legal approach without societal support is meaningless [for example Prohibition less than 100 years ago]. The current litigation is more about lining the pockets of the trial attorneys than any social good as far as i can see. Even if you manage to bring all the US tobacco companies to bankruptcy, tobacco will simply flow in legally from other countries (or illegally as marijuana, cocaine and opiates do). So I see these torts as harmful and wasteful.

Blame the evil company or the "victim." Waste of time.

"Why? because they produ... (Below threshold)

"Why? because they produce a product for which there IS no safe use - perhaps the triple negative confused you, Jay"

Yes, there is no safe use. So don't use it. You see how uncomplicated that is markswrite? If you do use something that has no safe use...like about 80% of all drugs on the market (look at the list of side effects some time) out of personal choice and complete disregard of any warning issued by the company that produced it, than the said company cannot be held accountable.

As far as notasmoker's take on why people smoke...I think you're again deferring personal responsibility to this "clever marketing." You described the pressure you felt for not smoking. As far as ads go, I'm hard pressed to find a cigarette ad...and peer-pressure cannot be attributed to the company.

That said, such companies that produce products with no safe usage absolutely must be strictly regulated...as the tabacco companies increasingly have.

Why did I start smoking? The stupidist reason of all, devoid of any marketing or outside pressure: I was bored.

Wavemaker's legal point is ... (Below threshold)

Wavemaker's legal point is absolutely correct.
However he did not dot the last "i" or cross the last "t" and more tellingly neither did the Mass. Supreme Court. The State has the power to regulate or outright ban products that are entirely harmful when used precisely as intended. In other words as long as tobacco is legal the State is just as much at fault as the tobacco companies. One can easily make the inherently harmful as used argument in regards to illegal drugs for those espousing legalization of illicit drugs.

Just a shade off subject, b... (Below threshold)

Just a shade off subject, but along the same lines: I was INFURIATED last night when a health teacher across the hall from my class brought in a woman from Planned Parenthood, who spent the next three hours (a) passing out flavored items - some of which actually scared me (b) talked up the benefits of using all of these items to avoid STD's rather than avoiding having sex with everything that moves and (c) spent an enormous amount of time showing the class how to follow the TWELVE proper steps to put on a condom (she used a large wooden penis as a "tool" in this particular part of the show). Who, in the heat of the moment, would pull out a checklist and be sure to hit all of these twelve vital steps?

My students, who could hear all of the hullabaloo going on, were (a) mortified and (b) alarmed that she never even mentioned avoiding sex with multiple partners. Most of my students, by the way, are teen parents.

One of my students informed me that we have a group of ELEVEN year olds in town who have gonorrhea (sp?) of the MOUTH. I am so grossed out by this I can hardly type.

Yes, I'm not talking about cigarettes - but if we don't take the bull by the horns and start teaching our kids right from wrong at HOME, I don't know what's going to happen. I'm glad my kids are homeschooled - if they were learning this stuff without my consent or knowledge (many of these students are well under 18) I would snap.

There are plenty of reasons... (Below threshold)

There are plenty of reasons why Big Tobacco is culpable. The short your basic smoker is so damn ignorant that it's pathetic. And no I'm not talking about the 4 rotating labels warning of health risks -- everyone knows smoking is bad for you.

There was a fifth label proposed by the Government way back when: "Smoking is addictive." Big Tobacco was so scared by this that they said they'd use the other 4 without a fight if they did not have to use the 5th one, and the Government stupidly agreed.

So what does it mean that smoking is "addictive"? Most don't have a clue. They imagine it refers to "psychological" dependency -- that they just need that nicotine "kick."

Well, here is what smoking is really all about: People smoke to put nicotine in there bodies. Without nicotine, people would not smoke. Big Tobacco has tried to sell non-nicotine cigarettes; they don't sell. Nicotine is a neurotoxin more deadly than strychnine or arsenic. 40 mg to 60 mg will kill a 150 pound person. Smoking delivers around 1.2 mg per cigarette on average (they are made to do this). Nicotine does what it does by mimicking the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a chemical that works to regulate cellular communication of chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. In small doses (short drags) it acts as a stimulant increasing the action of acetylcholine by fitting into its receptors. In slightly larger doses (longer drags over time), it acts as a depressant because receptors eventually become desensitized to nicotine (and with it, acetylcholine). Nicotine in a large enough dose shuts down the receptors of acetylcholine, which causes chemical communication to shut down and with it convulsions and respiratory paralysis. (Nerve gas kills in a similair way.)

Once smoking becomes regular, smokers experience increasing receptor desensitized and unconsciously increase their intake to get the stimulating effect back. This "high chasing" goes on till the user levels off at some point. This is drug tolerance: the need for more and more. At this point, without nicotine in their system and being desensitized to their own acetylcholine, they experience chemical withdrawal symptoms, manifesting as anxiety, irritability, depression, etc. Smokers, not knowing any better, label these symptoms "stress" and they think this is why they smoke, to alleviate "stress." But the only way to feel normal again is to keep up nicotine intake for their desensitized brain: this is addiction. Smokers spend most of their smoking lives smoking to restore normalcy. Big Tobacco has known this since at least 1963 as you can see from this excerpt from an internal memo:

"In a chronic smoker the normal equilibrium in the corticotropin releasing system can be maintained only by continuous nicotine intake. It means that those individuals are but slightly different in their aptitude to cope with stress in comparison with a non-smoker. If nicotine intake, however, is prohibited to chronic smokers, the corticotropin-releasing ability of the hypothalamus is greatly reduced, so that these individuals are left with an unbalanced endocrine system. A body left in this unbalanced status craves for renewed drug intake in order to restore the physiological equilibrium. This unconscious desire explains the addiction of the individual to nicotine."

Some of the receptors come back over night; this is why the first cigarette is the best for smokers (many take much longer), but soon as the morning progresses and desensitization sets back in, smokers smoke just to feel like non-smokers. Besides being tragic, regular smoking is pointless. But, hey, fork over $1800 a year to PM or RJR to you can desperately obtain your precious artificial acetylcholine for your desensitized body, like a diabetic needing regular insulin -- and kill yourself in the process.

Hmm, now why don't they put this info in with each cigarette??? Oh well, you knew all of this, didn't you?

What a bunch of hooey.<br /... (Below threshold)

What a bunch of hooey.
Quittiing smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times.

Now here's something to make you laugh out loud.

Wow, we're really On Beyond... (Below threshold)

Wow, we're really On Beyond Condoms now. Who woulda thunk a post about tobacco lawsuits would lead here?

Sorry wavemaker, I didn't r... (Below threshold)

Sorry wavemaker, I didn't realize you were one of the lemmings. I don't believe I used any of YOUR actual words, I just wanted to acknowledge that I wasn't the first to note that we should "take pause". oops, that WAS you, sorry.

The short your basic smo... (Below threshold)

The short your basic smoker is so damn ignorant that it's pathetic.

Color me pathetic, wlow. I still will not blame anyone else for my decision.

And as a matter of fact, I do know what you're talking about...it's a little difficult not to with so many the poeple shoving it down your throat at every opportunity.

Is it because you care...or because it makes you feel like the better person?

Hmmm.The problem e... (Below threshold)


The problem epador is that the first smokeless cigarette was made in around 1964. Then the FDA wouldn't allow it without a prescription, but the law allowed for nicotine delivery as long as there was something burning. So then they created a smokeless, ahh, tobaccoless cigarette that you had to light.

Once they realised how absurd that was, they gave up.

Sure nicotine is addictive. But the damage from nicotine is small potatoes compared to the damage from tar and the monoxides created from burning tobacco. By providing smokeless cigarettes to smokers in 1964 a whole generation of people dying from lung cancer could have been avoided.

Absent a full-blown prohibition against cigarettes and tobacco, a small step would have been a good idea.

I thought all the Mass smok... (Below threshold)

I thought all the Mass smokers drove to NH to buy their smokes on the cheap. Maybe the state should start checking cars at the Mass border for NH cigarettes the way they do for fireworks - and hey - if their not wearing their seatbelt they can potentially get three citations!

As long as tobacco is legal... (Below threshold)

As long as tobacco is legal, there will be poeple using it and I don't see the government making it's use a crime anytime soon. They get a large chunk of revenue that comes from each pack of carton sold.

They made one mistake almost 100 years ago by criminalizing booze and look at the tax revenue that was lost. If you really get down to brass tacks, the government for all of their lip service to the contrary, will not ban smoking, because of the lost revenue.

Without addressing the law-... (Below threshold)

Without addressing the law--let's just assume that selling cigarettes is legal...which it is. Let's assume that people choose to smoke...which, stupidly they do. And let's assume that these smokers are responsible for their actions...which they are.

Isn't is STILL morally reprehensible to manufacture and sell a product that cause a horrible painful death to users? I believe it is.

HeralderIs it b... (Below threshold)


Is it because you care...or because it makes you feel like the better person?

A little bit of both actually.

Forget the idea that it's your "decision" to smoke -- that's just pride talking. If you are like most smokers, you started when you were 13-14 years old. There is a reason that we do not let kids that old sign contracts -- we recognize they are not old enough to understand what they are getting into. Neither did you. The average pack-a-day smoker will choke down some 300,000 cigarettes in their (shortened) lifetime. Is this what you signed up for?

In a survey conducted by PM itself, 85% of smokers surveyed said they wish they had never begun smoking. 70% try to quit each year, but only 7% make it past 6 months. Are these people doing what they want to do? Is regular smoking really an expression of free will?

Or does oncomming withdrawal symptoms -- rooted in your body's growing desensitization to acetylcholine, which smoking fosters -- bait you back to the death trap time and time again to counter those withdrawal symptoms. Try to go three days without a cigarette and tell yourself again it's your "decision" to smoke.

Quotes from the Industry about your "freedom":

"I'm told that the entire matter of addiction is the most potent weapon a prosecuting attorney can have in a lung cancer / cigarette case. We can't defend continued smoking as 'free choice' if the person was 'addicted'."
September 1978: A USA Tobacco Institute memo

"The nicotine deliveries of these products may be low enough to constitute a partial weaning of the smoker". [Without nicotine] "the cigarette market would collapse [Philip Morris] would collapse and we'd all lose our jobs and consulting fees."
F J Ryan of Philip Morris, in a memo warning of the dangers of reduced nicotine; 1977

"Raleigh and Belair smokers are addicted to smoking. . . They smoke primarily to reduce negative feeling states rather than for "pleasure."
1983 Brown & Williamson Tobacco internal memo

"People continue to smoke because they find it too uncomfortable to quit. Over 85 per cent of smokers "agree strongly / very strongly" to 'I wish I had never began smoking'. Over 80 percent claim to have had attempted to quit."
1984: A Report for Philip Morris examining the "Cigarette Consumer"

"People smoke to maintain nicotine levels; stress robs the body of nicotine, implying a smoker smokes more in times of stress due to (the symptoms of) withdrawal, not to relax, whatever ... Nicotine is the addicting agent in cigarettes."
1982: B&W Tobacco researcher, A. J. Meilman

Most cigarette smokers begin smoking at an early age. They smoke for some period, attempt to quit, but then relapse. This sequence is similar to that for drugs of abuse. For example, both the opium and tobacco habits develop quite rapidly. Cocteau's dictum, regarding opium smoking, that "he who smoked will smoke," is equally true for tobacco smoking. In both cases, simple exposure to the substance ("experimentation") usually leads to repeated and then chronic use. To the extent that experimentation leads to chronic use, tobacco appears to have "an addictive potential" similar to that of opium.
Excerpted from an RJR internal memo

"Starters no longer disbelieve the dangers of smoking, but they almost universally assume these risks will not apply to themselves because they will not become addicted. Once addiction does take place, it becomes necessary for the smoker to make peace with the accepted hazards. This is done by a wide range of rationalization."
Quote from tobacco industry internal documents reported by David Simpson in Tobacco Control, Summer 1999, p. 132

"If you ask people why they carry out a practice which they are unable to stop (by and large) and which they basically would prefer to stop (if they could) it is reasonable to expect them to take refuge in justifications - i.e. enjoyment, pleasure, taste, satisfaction, tension relief, etc."
May 19, 1977 A memo from Dr. Jagger of British American Tobacco's (BAT) Brazilian subsidiary Souza Cruz

"[T]he desire to quit seems to come earlier now than ever before, even prior to the end of high school. In fact, it often seems to take hold as soon as the recent starter admits to himself that he is hooked on smoking. However the desire to quit and actually carrying it out, are two quite different things, as the would-be quitter soon learns."
Project Plus/Minus Report for ITL by Kwechansky Marketing [952 Kb] Report for Imperial Tobacco Limited. Montreal: 1982.

"However intriguing smoking was at 11, 12, or 13, by the age of 16 or 17 many regretted their use of cigarettes for health reasons and because they feel unable to stop smoking when they want to . . . Over half claim they want to quit. However, they cannot quit any easier than adults can"
"Project 16". By Kwechansky Marketing Research Inc. Report for Imperial Tobacco Limited. Montreal: 1977

Withdrawal is akin to being whipped every time you stop. Even the Tobacco Industry knows your next cigarette is not a free choice.

"Forget the idea that it... (Below threshold)

"Forget the idea that it's your "decision" to smoke -- that's just pride talking. If you are like most smokers, you started when you were 13-14 years old."

Pride has nothing to do with it wlow, I'm not proud of smoking, it's just something that I do. I started when I was 23 years old.

I quit for 2 years at one point..and started again not out of withdrawal, or addiction, but because I simply wanted to smoke.

As far as addiction nixing fee choice, well, everyone is able to quit, while an annoying effort, completely possible. I know many who have simply quit and have never gone back, my sister and mother among them (my mother had smoked for 23 years and just stopped cold turkey)

Interesting survey though.

Hmmmm.Wit... (Below threshold)


Withdrawal is akin to being whipped every time you stop. Even the Tobacco Industry knows your next cigarette is not a free choice.

Except that there are nicotine containing alternatives to cigarettes now.

The "pride" comment was not... (Below threshold)

The "pride" comment was not in reference to the act of smoking but to the conviction that the next cigarette you smoke is rooted in your "free choice."

There is an experiment in psychology that might illuminate this. Some people with severe epilepsy have their left and right brain hemispheres surgically severed as a drastic procedure to help abate their symptoms. Since both hemispheres cannot "talk" to each other anymore, the subject in effect has two brains. Well, even though the right hemisphere basically controls the left side of your body and vise-versa, brains are not perfectly symmetrical in their function. The left side does most of the language processing, though the right side has some rudimentary language abilities.

So, seeing an opportunity to learn something, scientists give a simple command to the person's right hemisphere, like "walk" or "laugh" and as the subject performs the command, they ask him (or, really, his left hemisphere), "What are you doing?" The left hemisphere has no access to the original motivation, but nevertheless confabulates an explanation. "I'm getting a Coke." or "I'm laughing because you guys make a living doing this." In these experiments the brain never fails to blithely weave false explanations which are fully believed by the espouser.

The brain seems to be programmed by genetics to delude the conscious Self when necessary so as to safeguard social status. Believing your self-serving lies leaves you less exposed to the other "tribe members" probing for doubt. (The best liar is someone who believes the lie.)

See: Why We Lie http://www.sciammind.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=0007B7A0-49D6-128A-89D683414B7F0000

The split-brained patients are programmed by genes to spin the fiction that they are always "in control" even though their explanations are in reality bogus.

Well, the denial of addiction has parallels here. Addicts are driven by forces they don't understand but spin the addictive behavior to socially maintain the fiction that they *are* in control; this is not a conscious act.

You don't smoke because of "stress." You don't smoke because it's "pleasurable," because real pleasure suffers from diminishing returns -- you get less and less out of more and more -- and because real pleasures can be exchanged for alternative pleasures.

You smoke to maintain nicotine at a certain level in your bloodstream to compensate your acetylcholine level. When nicotine levels decline, that's when the compulsion to smoke comes on stronger because withdrawal sets in. Should you smoke a "light" brand, you will alter your smoking to draw in the same level of nicotine as a regular brand. If acid builds up in your system, you will smoke more because nicotine is an alkaline (acids and alkalines neutralize each other). Alcohol turns into an acid when consumed; this is why you smoke more when you drink. Stress creates acid neutralizing nicotine, so you smoke more to avoid withdrawal.

"People smoke to maintain nicotine levels; stress robs the body of nicotine, implying a smoker smokes more in times of stress due to (the symptoms of) withdrawal, not to relax, whatever ... Nicotine is the addicting agent in cigarettes."
1982: B&W Tobacco researcher, A. J. Meilman

"Smokers may require 'optimum' doses of nicotine and that in order to obtain them from cigarettes of different nicotine content or availability they modify their smoking habits accordingly."
The Tobacco Research Council; 1969

"Determine the minimum level of nicotine that will allow continued smoking. We hypothesize that below [this] very low nicotine level, diminished physiological satisfaction cannot be compensated for by psychological satisfaction. At this point
smokers will quit, or return to higher T&N (tar and nicotine) brands."
A Memo to the highest levels of Lorillard's management setting out its research goal

"Intravenously injected nicotine was found to be an acceptable substitute for smoking in a study with 35 smokers (Johnson, 1942)."
Fall, 1969 Philip Morris draft report by Thomas Osdene, then VP of Research and Development, to the board of directors, "Why One Smokes." Minnesota Trial Exhibit 3681 Bates # 1003287036-48

"This effect in the case of cigarette smoking is rapid but passing. The absorption of nicotine through the lungs is as quick as the junkie's 'fix'. The blood-brain barrier is no barrier to nicotine which reaches the brain within a minute of a person lighting up. Its effect is short-lived. In twenty to thirty minutes after the smoker has finished his cigarette, most of the nicotine has left his brain for other organs -stomach, liver and kidneys - and this is just about the time that the heavily dependent smoker needs his next cigarette."
B&W Tobacco report; 1973

Addiction to nicotine results in withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop smoking. For example, a study found that when chronic smokers were deprived of cigarettes for 24 hours, they had increased anger, hostility, and aggression, and loss of social cooperation. Persons suffering from withdrawal also take longer to regain emotional equilibrium following stress. During periods of abstinence and/or craving, smokers have shown impairment across a wide range of psychomotor and cognitive functions, such as language comprehension.
NIDA National Institute on Drug Abuse, Department of Health and Human Services

As far as addiction nixing fee choice, well, everyone is able to quit, while an annoying effort, completely possible. I know many who have simply quit and have never gone back, my sister and mother among them (my mother had smoked for 23 years and just stopped cold turkey)

Oh, sure. Everyone is so able to quit. So explain this:

74% of smokers believe that they are addicted to cigarettes. 86% of females and 77% of males would not start smoking if they had it all to do over again. 90% of smokers feel that smoking is harmful to their own health.
April 1993 Gallup Poll (reported by Gary Giovino at Nicotine Dependence Conference, Atlanta, November 12, 1993)

"Half of those who have had a lung removed and 40 percent with heart disease return to smoking ...smoking is a compulsive behavior that people find hard to stop."
Dr Martin Jarvis, Director of Imperial Cancer research Fund's Health Behaviour Unit at University College, London:

The severity of nicotine dependence in smokers can be illustrated by the fact that only 33% of self-quitters remain abstinent for two days, and fewer than 5% are ultimately successful on a given quit attempt.
American Journal of Psychiatry, October 1996 Supplement, p. 3

Yes, the decision to start again was your decision, but once chemical dependency sets in you get trapped on a receding treadmill having to run just to stand still. Your body has, in essence, an acetylcholine-deficiency that you must now suppliment with nicotine just to be normal. You are no more free than a diabetic is from insulin. Wake up! Go through withdrawal and let your body resensitize itself to your own acetylcholine.

I have an older friend who quit at thirty for three years. She started again. She is now 50. That's 7200 cigarettes a year times 17 years. Add it up. That's 122,400 cigarettes. The most damage is by the cigarettes smoked passed age 30.

But if you can't quit, that only makes'em smile. Heck, they count on you:

"Our vision of the future market looks like this. . . A slightly shrunken but titanium-hard and impenetrable '[uncollapsible] core' of smokers -- resolute, self-indulgent and largely indifferent to what other people think."
1989 memo prepared for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Corp. Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune 02/26/98

Or in other words, lost in denial about why they smoke.

Again, you're giving an ove... (Below threshold)

Again, you're giving an overly verbose response to my comment.
I've never said that cigarettes are not addictive, but that it is your choice to start and it's completely possible to quit once you have started.

Being that it was my choice to start, and it's well within my capabilities to quit, I will not blame someone else for me smoking. You seem to think I should blame someone else, but I won't. You can post any amount of surveys that you want but it will not change the above fact.

I think you're in denial ov... (Below threshold)

I think you're in denial over how in control you are over your smoking -- the ability to start and stop at will. If a vast majority of smokers express a deep desire to quit, and they even make an attempt to quit each year, but only a tiny minority can actually do it for any length of time, just how realistic is the statement "it's completely possible to quit once you have started." Hey ... wait, do you work for Philip Morris?

The statistics do not back up such a disingenuous statement. It's also completely possible to run a 4 minute mile. It is. I've known people who've done it. I guess the 50% of people who lose a lung and go back to smoking *could* quit -- if only they had a strong enough motivation to do so.

I'm saying addiction is like an undertow pulling you along toward continued use and as you "go with the flow" you are conning yourself that you are doing the swimming.

You are unusual that you started so late; most kids start when they are 12 - 14 years old. Is that old enough to make such a choice? C'mon, you're a VP at RJ Reynolds, right?

And, no, I hold you no more responsible for your need to get that hourly nicotine dose in your system (while taking in 4000 other toxic compounds) than I would a diabetic having to take insulin. Deal with the facts. Your acetylcholine receptors are numb. You have a genuine neurological disorder. Without the supplementation of nicotine, you suffer.

Prosecutor: Sir, you advocate adults in America having the freedom of choosing whether to smoke, do you not?

Philip Morris CEO Geoffrey C. Bible: Yes, I do.

Prosecutor: Are you aware that there's a corollary to freedom of choice, and that's called full disclosure? In other words, people should have all the information needed to make their choice?

Geoffrey C. Bible: No, I wasn't aware of the corollary, but it sounds sensible.
From the deposition of Geoffrey C. Bible, the then CEO and Chairman of the Board of Philip Morris Companies; the State of Florida vs. Philip Morris; August 21, 1997

I'm sure you knew all about that acetylcholine desensitization and withdrawal, that "lights" really give you the same nicotine and tar as regular brands, that there are some 600 additives including things like ammonia added to boost the addictiveness of cigarettes to keep you hooked, that the Tobacco Industry knew how addictive and how deadly cigarettes were decades before everyone else ... but, oops, they neglected to tell you. Ah, who can blame them.

Why blame the people who have bamboozled you for 40 years? If I'm "verbose" compared to you it is because you do not have any kind of substantive response to offer.

Look, as combative as I come across, I'd like to see you quit. I would hate to see your kids watch you become yet another statistic, withering away to some smoking disease in your 60s or earlier. What is the point to smoking again? Is it the lingering stench? The stains? The smoker's cough? Having to loiter outside in the cold these days to smoke in public? Because it's still so "cool" to you? Does it impress your friends? Is it waking up at 3 am needing to smoke? Is it the $1800 a year you flush down the toilet? The smoker's breath? Having to empty dirty ashtrays over and over? The fatalist mindset you need to adopt to make peace with the fact that you are killing yourself?

Or does it chase away your anxiety and negative moods -- it's nice to have something that pulls you out of acetylcholine crashes time and time again, isn't it.

First, Let me thank you all... (Below threshold)

First, Let me thank you all for your ignorance in your comments about my father who is gone, Yes, Stephen Haglund. Although, you all speak of him as if he were some monkey during an experiment, he was NOT. He was a wonderful man. He had much more class then any of you, he would never speak of someone alive or passed on as you all have. He tried to quit numerious times. While you all speak of this action, lawsuit, leagalities etc. SHOW SOME RESPECT FOR MY FATHER & keep in mind, he is passed on. he is not here to defend himself of your thoughts or actions. He did not make these laws, & none of his family asked to view such ignorance. He had a family who misses him very much. No matter what it was that gave him cancer. I hope one day, none of you have to miss or feel the loss as much as I do.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy