What our sponsors didn't want you to know.
We have been
"Every morning the evidence appeared - the dry, hacking
and persistent coughing. Every morning the same denial arose - that it might be the
harbinger of a much more serious medical condition.
Every morning the same ritual was performed - the lighting up of that first inescapable
cigarette. Every morning it would get a little worse - yet another bout of coughing in a blue haze
of tobacco smoke."
from "the Smokers' Home Companion"
Have you ever read the warning that comes on every pack? Maybe not, many of us were brought
up to become smokers before warnings were mandated. Nowadays a large majority of us view with
suspicion and mistrust many warnings from our government and tend to ignore them believing we know better.
In the curious case of the warnings concerning cigarette smoking, the government has clearly
either not done its homework properly (and actually believes that cigarettes are
no more addictive or dangerous than twinkies) or knows the truth and for some good reason
has deliberately produced what appear to be ineffective warnings.
Any good psychologist could tell them that as designed, they must be virtually useless.
They say one thing and the design implies something else.
In fact they appear to have been very cleverly crafted to produce the opposite of what was intended.
The mere presence of the warning
placed on an advertisement or a cigarette pack, seems to declare subliminally that the product is somehow
sanctioned by the government.
Even the type used in the warning labels seems inadequate, far too inconspicuous to be noticeable.
Could it really be that the warning labels are not meant to be heeded or read...?
Compounding all this are the cigarette companies, who under oath to congress have repeatedly
lied about what they know about smoking. They well know that smoking is addictive and
hazardous not only to the overall health of their customers but also to their families
who are forced to inhale the second-hand smoke. Yet they still play down the deleterious
effects of their product in the media and advertise in magazines and stores.
Apparently nothing is being done, almost to the point of criminal negligence, to change the
warnings to make them even minimally effective.
Whatever might be the intent of the current warning labels, it is known that every day they
are not taken very seriously by the thousands of
young people who 'chose' to start smoking.
Who unfortunately are too young and who don't appear to take the time to fully enquire
and appreciate the risks before starting to smoke.
The warnings have always been there. We have been warned, strenuously and repeatedly by a
variety of people and groupings.
Some parents told us, dying relatives should have worried us, the television is
again showing anti-smoking advertisements, public health bodies such as JAMA,
and the Cancer Society publish warnings and sound advice, even our own office of the Surgeon General
and the F.D.A. try to do everything they can within the constraints of a hobbled government, to tell us all the following message.
"Don't Smoke! Don't even start! Its highly addictive and you will meet with a great deal of difficulty
later in life if you try to stop. There is more than a good chance that it will rob you
you of your health for many years, diminish your sexual vigor and will certainly
feature and quite likely be the probable cause of an untimely, extremely painful and protracted death.
If that isn't bad enough; Smoking will harm and damage your unborn if you smoke whilst pregnant,
and cause excessive harm to your family's health should you smoke in their presence."
Just north of the border there exists a more enlightened and courageous government.
One not so easily swayed by votes and by the tobacco industry.
Here are the current sixteen very much to the point warnings mandated by Health Canada,
(Just click on the packet to reach Health Canadas' site).
They must have consulted a psychologist to help design what is clearly an effective label.
Anyone buying cigarettes in Canada knows exactly where the government stands on this crucial issue.
It cannot be misread, there is no subliminal endorsement. It is by far, a much more resposible approach to the problem,
by a government that seems to care for the lives of its young citizens.
Considering the direction they are taking, their next step will probably be to partially ban
this lethal and defective product, maybe through the simple expedient of increasing the legal age by one year, each
year, at which a person can purchase cigarettes. Its hard to imagine being 43 and having to produce I.D.
to buy cigarettes, for some it could soon be true.
Could Health Canada be going too far with their warning labels?
Whilst governments slept the tobacco giants were doing their research
and, like Rumplestiltskin,
were spinning gold from the 'flax' of improved cigarette tobaccos, at an unbearable cost
of human lives.
In order to head off this enormous public health crisis,
caused directly by the modern cigarette, Health Canada has had
to balance out the huge influence of the tobacco companies with their 100 year
history of marketing success.
This success has generated a false impression of confidence in the minds of many smokers
concerning the worth and safety of tobacco products,
leading them to firmly believe that
the so called 'dangers of smoking' are over rated and to view non-smokers and
government warnings alike as altogether ill-informed.
Unlike Canada the government of the USA does not have to directly foot the bill for all the
illness caused by cigarettes, and has a much greater vested interest in the tobacco
economy, which seems to account for its reticence.
Hopefully it will eventually mandate improved warnings and better
educate the public, especially young people, concerning the explicit dangers of tobacco use.
Making certain, once and for all, that cigarettes are clearly understood by everyone
to be in the same lethal league as Asbestos, Heroin, Dioxin, Thalidomide, Radium, D.D.T.,
Cholesterol, PCBs, Lead etc.
Let it Pass.