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Scientific Report: Tobacco Industry Influenced European Decision Makers

By Eloquence in News
Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:00:45 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The tobacco industry in the United States has suffered a lot in recent years, mostly because of multi-billion dollar class action lawsuits. Damages awards in Europe are typically much lower than in the US, and class action suits are not supported by most legislatures. As a result, business in Europe is still good. On the other hand, European politicians have been trying since the 1980s to regulate the industry. Their failure, concludes a new report published in the renowned medical journal The Lancet, is the result of a well-planned strategy of lobbyism and bribery. Most receptive to these efforts: the German and UK governments.


The study has been conducted by Dr. Stanton Glantz and colleagues, of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California's School of Medicine. The full text is available online (free registration required, you can use l:kuro5hin, p:met4filter).

The research is based on internal documents by the tobacco industry, most of them made public under the US Master Settlement Agreement of 1998. "Documents reviewed dated from 1978 to 1994 and came from Philip Morris, R J Reynolds, and Brown and Williamson (British American Tobacco) collections. We also obtained approximately 15 000 pages of paper records related to British American Tobacco from its documents' depository in Guildford, UK." Internal documents by Philip Morris are available at www.pmdocs.com, those by R. J. Reynolds are at www.rjrtdocs.com.

One critical element of the European Community (EC) strategy to reduce tobacco-related deaths has been the control of tobacco advertising. The first such directive, 98/43/EC5, was proposed in 1989 and would have banned all forms of direct and indirect tobacco advertising in the EC and also made illegal tobacco sponsorship of events within the EC. A World Bank study cited by the study's authors claims that the ban would have reduced tobacco consumption in the EC by 7%.

The 1989 proposal was never effectively adopted: "The tobacco industry mounted a major and sustained lobbying campaign against the directive that appears to have contributed to the delay of its adoption for nearly a decade, until 1998, and to its annulment by the European Court of Justice in October, 2000."

The Philip Morris corporate affairs agenda for 1991 stated that PM wanted to "have the directive completely abandoned or alternatively converted into a non-legally binding resolution":

As a "fallback objective", Philip Morris sought to have approved an alternative "directive that permits continued advertising in any member state that chooses to authorize it".

In an effort to have the directive abandoned, the tobacco industry's strategy sought to use to their advantage the Council of Ministers' process of qualified majority voting, which allows a sufficient "blocking minority" of Council Members to block any action. The advertising directive was considered under the qualified majority voting process, and a 1993 Philip Morris marketing freedoms plan states: "maintain the blocking minority against the EC advertising ban directive". Philip Morris sought to maintain the blocking minority through lobbying programmes aimed at specific EC Member States: "so far our efforts have concentrated on seeking support from the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands. A separate programme is being prepared for Denmark." These nations all contributed to the subsequently effective blocking minority against the directive. [footnotes omitted]

"Germany was the most reliable opponent of the advertising ban", the report continues. A PR company was enlisted to "feed" German legislators with "solid 'proofs'" of the position against the advertising ban. Helmut Kohl, German chancellor from 1983 to 1998, was seen in internal documents as a strong ally since at least 1978, when he was only the head of the Christian Democratic Union's faction in the parliament. Kohl informed the industry about proceedings in the German parliament and supported their proposal for a "compromise". The 1992 German "compromise proposal" to the EC is compared in the report to the industry's own suggestion to Kohl -- the comparison reveals that the industry effectively authored the proposed legislation.

The advertising restrictions in the compromise are minimal, especially related to advertising "featuring models of less than 25 years of age and testimonials by well-known people". As is also admitted by an industry-internal report, "Germany has [..] committed itself to introducing a proposal at an early date [..]; barring accident, it will be largely based on the VdC's [the German tobacco manufacturer's association] proposal to the German Health Ministry." Besides the German chancellor himself, the industry relied on various contacts, including German European Commission member Martin Bangemann.

The tobacco industry also supported and helped to prepare a lawsuit by the German government against the EU advertising ban. This led to the verdict by the European Court which annulled the directive in 2000. The report does not state this, but this was already past Helmut Kohl's tenure. The new administration under Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder maintained the German opposition to the ban on "constitutional and formal grounds". As was reported in early April by dpa, EU consumer-commissioner David Byrne has criticised the German government for blocking any attempts to ban or restrict tobacco-advertising on the European level. He states that tobacco lobbying is responsible for this and thereby implies corruption. He also stated that the German government blocked WHO negotiations by 190 countries for stronger tobacco legislation.

The German media have hardly reported the controversy. The Byrne criticism was reported in a 15-second-segment of the dominating daily public TV 15 minute "tagesschau" news.

The Lancet report also examines the role of other governments in blocking the EU directive. The United Kingdom, under the conservative Tory government, has also been a member of the "blocking minority" in the past. Perhaps the most telling of the cozy relationship between tobacco industry officials and the government is correspondence between Philip Morris' Ian Sargeant and UK Secretary of State for Education and Science, Kenneth Clarke:

Dear Secretary of State . . . If the UK and Germany remain solidly opposed to the advertising and sponsorship ban, Holland and Greece will be equally solid and the blocking minority is assured. This is something I am sure you would welcome as much as we would. Knowing your interest in motor racing, may I take the opportunity of asking you and Mrs. Clarke to be my personal guests at a Formula One Grand Prix race. The British Grand Prix takes place on l2th July but, if this is not convenient, we would be happy to welcome you to any other venue during the calendar. Yours Truly, Ian Sargeant

According to the report, "Clarke's links to the tobacco industry have continued to the present. Beginning in 1998, Clarke received UK £ 100 000 a year to serve as a deputy chairman of British American Tobacco while also holding a seat in the UK House of Commons." The industry also had good friends in Denmark and the Netherlands.

The study's authors conclude with an appeal:

Efforts to implement an effective pan-European advertising ban continue with the EC draft directive on tobacco advertising and sponsorship proposed in May, 2001.

[...]

In order to succeed, this new proposal must not only have a secure legal basis, but public-health advocates also must recognise and act to counter the tobacco industry's effective use of lobbying to oppose the directive. This goal can be achieved by understanding how the industry has succeeded to date within EC politics and taking action to prevent European politicians from acquiescing to the industry's agenda of promoting tobacco use with as few restrictions as possible.

Commentary

The report confirms suspicions that European politicians maintain a literally unhealthy relationship with the tobacco industry. There is hardly any serious opposition in the public to a tobacco advertising ban. That makes the media's silence on the subject, especially in Germany, all the more questionable. Together with recent corruption scandals in both major German parties, this will not help to build faith in the independence of the German government and media. The continuity of the opposition to the ban from one administration to the next -- administrations from completely opposite political sides, where the first health minister of the new administration was even a member of the "Green" party (as is the current minister for consumer protection) -- is especially scary. It remains to be seen whether voters will draw the consequences in the upcoming federal election.

The report, on the other hand, shows the benefits of making corporate information public. This raises the question of why we allow billion dollar corporations, especially those involved in drugs or arms sales, to keep critical information secret: Do these businesses truly have a right to "privacy"? Perhaps the most effective weapon against corporate abuses is forced disclosure.

Erik Möller 2002, public domain content. If you enjoyed this article, buy me a text-ad on Kuro5hin (email me for details).

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Poll
Should tobacco advertising be banned in Europe?
o Yes, because it increases tobacco sales 39%
o No, because it is speech. Corporate speech, but speech nonetheless 27%
o No, because it doesn't work 12%
o Only by individual member nations. The EU does not have the required competency. 8%
o Too EU-centric! 12%

Votes: 81
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Institute for Health Policy Studies
o University of California
o School of Medicine
o available online
o Master Settlement Agreement
o www.pmdocs .com
o www.rjrtdo cs.com
o David Byrne
o email me
o Also by Eloquence


Display: Sort:
Scientific Report: Tobacco Industry Influenced European Decision Makers | 78 comments (66 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Surreal advertising (4.00 / 3) (#2)
by synaesthesia on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 05:44:50 PM EST

Love it or hate it, a rather artful surreal genre was borne out of the restrictions placed on cigarette advertising.



Sausages or cheese?
thanks for that link (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by danimal on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:37:35 PM EST

As much as i abhore the tobacco industry I find marketing and advertising and it's effects on people facinating.
--
<bestest> what does the dark side lead to
<@justinfinity> a gleeful life of torturing people and getting your way
[ Parent ]
Mad props (1.60 / 10) (#6)
by BlackTriangle on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:05:52 PM EST

On the most absurd article I've ever read. If I've understood properly, then "European Decision Makers are Inherently Inferior to American Decision Makers" is your main thesis, as indicated by the following bit of absurdity in your opening paragraph:

Damages awards in Europe are typically much lower than in the US, and class action suits are not supported by most legislatures.

The rest of your article follows from this hilariously wrong-headed idea.



Moo.


Huh? (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:15:17 PM EST

I don't understand your implication. European countries usually do not allow class action lawsuits. As a result, there have not been any multi-billion dollar lawsuits against the tobacco industry in Europe (to my knowledge). This is a statement of fact, no "thesis" about the "inferiority" of European decision makers. What are you talking about?
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Correct (2.80 / 5) (#11)
by BlackTriangle on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:19:40 PM EST

You never explain what that has to do with your article, but your implication is clear. They don't do it like the US does it, therefore the Tobacco industry has their politicians in their back pocket. Truly absurdist logic.

Moo.


[ Parent ]
Wrong (3.80 / 5) (#12)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:27:22 PM EST

You never explain what that has to do with your article,

This should be obvious. It is part of the so called "Intro Copy" of the story. "Intro" is short for introduction. That means, describing what the article is about and listing the most important facts on the subject in a concise way. Since most readers of the site are from the US, it was appropriate to inform them about the current situation in Europe: What's the state of the tobacco industry? Did it undergo similar turmoils as in the US, or is it still thriving?

This is not a "thesis". It is a summary of facts that leads into the article's main subject, the tobacco industry's lobbying against advertising regulation.

None of this has anything to do with "inferiority" of European vs. US politicians.

They don't do it like the US does it, therefore the Tobacco industry has their politicians in their back pocket.

This is your conclusion, not mine, as you would know if you had read and understood the article.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Multi-million dollar lawsuits (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by juahonen on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:37:31 AM EST

Multi-million dollar lawsuits against tobacco companies are not necessarily bad for them. On one hand you could say the companies lose a lot of money. But the money lost does not impair them in any way, so it does not change anything but give some people loads of "lawsuit money".

On the other hand the companies get a PR win from the lawsuits. Even if they lose money, their actions are accredited by the smokers and probably some others. Most of the smokers will never suit tobacco companies. In fact, most of them like smoking. There are reasons why people keep on smoking even though they know what bad it does to their health. The tobacco companies are not losing money to the lawsuits, they are buing indulgences.

[ Parent ]

That's funny (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by cyberdruid on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:36:11 AM EST

I, for one, read the paragraph about not allowing class action lawsuits as a point in favour of EU. I think you have to be pretty paranoid to see that as some sort of an attack...

[ Parent ]
One thing I forgot to mention (4.62 / 8) (#8)
by Eloquence on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 06:09:16 PM EST

In sharp contrast to the opposition to tobacco advertising, the EU is still heavily subsidizing tobacco farming. These subsidies, which some in the EU have been trying to phase out for years, amount to ca. 1 billion euros per year. The Lancet report also refers to them: "BASP produced a report exposing the disparity between the EC's UK£719 million of annual subsidies to tobacco farmers and its UK£1 million annual support for tobacco control."
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
That's sickening! (4.50 / 4) (#17)
by greenrd on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 09:05:50 PM EST

As a UKian, I'm disgusted that our tax money is being used not only to pay for the quite considerable health effects of smoking, through increase costs to the NHS - but also to subsidise an industry which profits from death!


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Tax money (none / 0) (#56)
by vrai on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:55:57 AM EST

While I am also shocked that tax money goes to tobaco farmers (I disagree with all farming subsidies) smokers actually make a large positive contribution to the treasury.
Firstly they pay enourmous levels of tax on the cigarettes, which more than covers the cost of cutting out their knackered lungs. Secondly they don't live as long and so reduce the cost of state pensions.
In an ideal world everyone but you and your friends would be a smoker: tax would be lower and when you retire there would be loads of pension money to go round.

[ Parent ]
Silly. :) (4.50 / 2) (#57)
by Alfie on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:20:13 AM EST

I can't tell whether you're serious, so I'll reply anyways.

Firstly they pay enourmous levels of tax on the cigarettes, which more than covers the cost of cutting out their knackered lungs. Secondly they don't live as long and so reduce the cost of state pensions.

Regarding your first point, one could simply raise taxes in the first place to generate similar amounts of income for the government without harming citizens' health. Though I suppose using an addictive drug(s) does help the citizenry part with their money more easily.

As to your second point, you could achieve the same effect, but much more cleanly, by using lethal injections before people get too old. Personally, I'm wary of any plan which claims to do good for the many by intentially hurting or killing people.



[ Parent ]
Taxes (2.00 / 1) (#58)
by vrai on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:41:19 AM EST

Regarding your first point, one could simply raise taxes in the first place to generate similar amounts of income for the government without harming citizens' health.

But raise taxes on what? Income based taxes are undemocratic and a general sales tax raise would just hurt those that don't smoke. Basically people are always going to smoke, its their body and they can decide what they want to do with it. Given this the fairest way of recovering the cost of treating them is to have a high tax on cigarettes. The fact that they drop dead before claiming too many taxes is just a bonus for society as a whole.

[ Parent ]

Income Tax Undemocratic? (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by blurp on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:48:40 PM EST

Income based taxes are undemocratic...

Sorry to move off on a tangent, but can you explain how Income Tax is undemocratic? By defintion any law passed by a majority of people (or a majority of their representitives in the case of a republic) is democratic. This of course doesn't mean to imply they are fair. Thanks, blurp

[ Parent ]

Income Tax [OT] (none / 0) (#67)
by vrai on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:49:07 PM EST

OK (though I know I'm going to get modded to buggery for being OT :).

Firstly in my opinion the only valid government is one that has an absolute majority of voters. In practice this means that only one UK goverment in the last 100 years has truely represented the will of the people (I think it was the 1931 Conservative/Labour coalition government). Thus IMHO many laws that are passed are not democratic, they are often want the goverment thinks is best for the people: not want the people want.

Secondly I belive that 95% of all goverment expenditure is needless. The only thing the government should provide is defence, protection of personal and property rights, and administration of the non-profit corporations that provide the natural monopolies.

The current taxation system is basically that the government decides on a social engineering program (i.e. give 50% of the middle-class's income to the poor) then enforces this redistribution of wealth by force (i.e. pay up or go to gaol). Combine this with the fact that the middle classes could provide the three staple public service (health, pensions, education) for themselves at a lesser cost than paying tax (and get a better service with it) and you get a very unfair system.

To get back to the original point: income tax is a key component of this state actioned theft. Why should someone pay more tax just because they've managed to get a good job? Do they use the resources of the state more than someone who earns less? No, in fact under the current system they often provide their own health insurance, pension funds, put their children into private skills, but get no tax rebate on the public services they haven't used.
Funding (the greatly reduced) government with a sales tax is much more fair. You are only taxed when you realise your wealth. Until then your are free to save and invest your income without charge. After all under the current system you are tax before you receive your pay; taxed on any interest you receive while its in the bank; and then taxed when you spend it.

[ Parent ]

Correct! (2.00 / 1) (#36)
by chbm on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:32:22 PM EST

The EU gives money farmers to grow tobbaco. Those grants allow tobbaco to be sold cheap to drug lords^W^Wtobbaco companies, which otherwise would have to pay the *production* price. So, the EU is piping money directly into tobbaco companies to keep farmers from growing food. The tobbaco companies operate just like any drug pusher: lie, steal, kill, whatever. Can you say *C*O*R*R*U*P*T*I*ON ?

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
[ Parent ]
Cause 'n Effect (4.50 / 8) (#18)
by Lode Runner on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 12:39:44 AM EST

Damages awards in Europe are typically much lower than in the US, and class action suits are not supported by most legislatures. As a result, business in Europe is still good.

Another, probably more important reason tobacco business is still brisk in Europe is that Europeans continue to smoke like chimneys, young people especially.

Whenever I (an American from tobacco country!) visit Europe, I'm always struck by the ubiquitousness of smokers. In most places, smoke-free restuarants (or seating sections) are unheard of. At the universities, it seems like almost all the students smoke. Lines at the tobacconists often stretch out the door, and they're not queued up for phone cards either.

I'm curious, how did this situation come to pass? And how is it that people who are so worked up about the potential dangers of GM food are also content to suck down cigarette after carcinogenic cigarette?



Smoking in Europe (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by linca on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:13:53 AM EST

I'd say a fair amount of the protest on GM food comes not from the fear of health damages but rather those of environmental damges and social, too (farmers becoming overdependant on the likes of Monsanto).

As for the ubiquitousness of smoking, it comes from a less puritanical outlook on this kind of problems ; i.e. no "mothers against smoking" movements ; compare with attitudes towards Alcohol (never heard of prohibition in Europe, I did).

[ Parent ]
partially protectionist.. partially honest. (5.00 / 2) (#22)
by Weezul on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:12:12 AM EST

Local food (beer and whine) are traditionally importent in Europe, as is the quality of these items. Simultaniously, European food producers are affraid of losing buisness to foreign food producers. No one wants to change traditional dishes. The local food producers want to distingish their product from foreign products. The natural European compramize is for local food products to be essential for traditional dishes.. and for those traditional dishes to dominate the market. A ban on GMOs is a perfectly natural way to accomplish these goals. The real question is do you support economic intervention to maintain local culture. As an American who has eaten food in Lyon France, let me tell you, it is worth preserving!

UIltimatly, I think the WTO should not have any say over attempts to preserve culture. I think the Europeans should just be able to say "Our cheifs say your food sucks, so your not allowed to sell it here." Needless to say, the cheifs will not be able to make a convincing case for all food products (grains perhaps), but they will be able to provide convincing arguments for many products (milk perhaps).

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
Attitude (4.00 / 2) (#21)
by juahonen on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:56:40 AM EST

Most people whom I'm acquianted with tell, when asked, that they decide what poisons to put to their own body and that's no-one elses business. So around here the young people at least claim they do it because they can.

The health risks are long-term so most young people think they don't have to care. And then there's the general attitude, that I've heard, of people wanting to die young. Most of them change their opinions when they grow old but that doesn't change their attitude towards tobacco and alcohol until then.

You can do little to change the youth. The future is not secure in any way to them. It is unknown, the people don't know what will be for them when they grow old, so they rather not care. It could be that young people smoke because smoking and it's health issues give them a sense of certainty towards their future; at least they know some of whats coming to them. But that is not the whole picture. There are as many reasons as there are people.

[ Parent ]

Exaggeration, exaggeration... (4.00 / 4) (#30)
by dazk on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:13:33 AM EST

First of all, most Universities in Germany I know are generally smoke free areas with some places where smoking is allowed. This is actually true for most public buildings. Couldn't tell about other european countries though.

What struck me in your comment is your comparison to GM Food. There is no knowledge whatshoever about the possible longterm problems with GM food. You don't know how it affects nature in long terms. Have you heard of the way animals or plants from other countries can extinguish the local variants because they are stronger or more resistant than the local variants? This happens quite a lot actually and those are only importet variants that were accidentally or purposedly relocated. What about GM variants modified for resistance on purpose. Can you convince me that there really is no harm? This is only an obvious case. What about long term effects on humans or animals eating the manipulated food. Are you sure there isn't something that is overlooked right now? The BSE Problems we had in Europe were man made. They are the results from man changing the natural food cattle eats. Are you sure GM food does really not have similar problems not known now?

On the other hand the risks of smoking are well known. You know that it causes cancer and the likes. It's a risk you can estimate.

Additionally it should be obvious that prohibition doesn't change a lot. Talking about alcohol for example. In the US and Canada you can legally get it when you are older than 19-21 depending on where you are. People nevertheless drink it a lot earlier and they have ways to get it. When I stayed for a year in Canada I was shocked to see how easy it was to get LSD, Cocaine and various other drugs compared to Alcohol. I was shocked how many people took hard drugs. Of course there are a lot of people in Europe taking that crap, too but there are less. If it's easier to get a beer than to get LSD, most people will stick to the beer. You see what I'm getting at?

There is another such subject, birthcontrol. I'd say most of the german youth is educated enough to at least know about birthcontrol and especially HIV. Here peope seem to know that their children will eventually become sexually active no matter what. You can affect the timing a little with education but you will never be able to prevent it up to a certain defined age. So isn't it better to educate? In the US it seems, people rather not talk about that subject. Why not? Ever wondered why there are so many very young mothers?

Coming back to the subject. Of course, as long as smoking is allowed you will actually see people buying cigarettes and smoke them. Yeah, even in public.


[ Parent ]
re: hard drugs (2.50 / 2) (#41)
by Rainy on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:11:02 PM EST

Additionally it should be obvious that prohibition doesn't change a lot. Talking about alcohol for example. In the US and Canada you can legally get it when you are older than 19-21 depending on where you are. People nevertheless drink it a lot earlier and they have ways to get it. When I stayed for a year in Canada I was shocked to see how easy it was to get LSD, Cocaine and various other drugs compared to Alcohol. I was shocked how many people took hard drugs. Of course there are a lot of people in Europe taking that crap, too but there are less. If it's easier to get a beer than to get LSD, most people will stick to the beer. You see what I'm getting at?

I really think hard drugs are better than alcohol and nicotine. Habitually drinking and smoking is much worse for health and society than taking lsd once every few weeks, and almost nobody does it more often than once a week, but plenty of smokers and drinkers are hooked to it like it's an iron lung. Even in case of worse hard drugs like coke and heroin, at least people take them seriously. I know some people who do these things and they all feel that nicotine is much scarier, dirtier and worse than anything else. I myself only smoked a few cigarettes and never liked them well enough to continue. I also tried coke a few times but didn't like it well enough to continue, besides I have a very sensitive nose, and it hurts if I snort anything. Alcohol is just plain disgusting..
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Re: hard drugs (none / 0) (#72)
by bogado on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:36:09 AM EST

I know some people who do these things and they all feel that nicotine is much scarier, dirtier and worse than anything else.

I would say that this is a result of exagerated marketing campaings. Several goverments have being doing oversized campain against smoking and drugs, the campain over drugs are usualy generical ("just say no" or "drugs kill") hence they do not atack any drug or effect in special. Smoking propaganda atacks only one kind drug (nicotine) and can be specific about the effects and single out cases (like the cowboy from malboro who died of cancer).

The effect is that everyone gets a feeling that the dangers are overstated in the drug case and aren't in the smoke. The truth is that you can smoke since you're 14 till you die at 90 or more and never have cancer or any lung problem appart for getting tired easier. Also there are "drugs" that can be very dangerous and other that may be more or less safer. Marijuana for instance is said to be safer then smoke and alcohol. Heroine is a killer and already killed several celebrities.

The truth is that proibition is the wrong way of doing this, the more you forbiden the more people will want to do it. Why there are more people on cocaine? Because it is extremely forbiden. When most people start to smoke? I would tell from my experience that most people start smoking and drinking when they are forbiden to do so.


[]'s Victor bogado da Silva Lins

^[:wq
[ Parent ]

re: nicotine (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by Rainy on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:50:00 PM EST

The truth is that you can smoke since you're 14 till you die at 90 or more and never have cancer or any lung problem appart for getting tired easier.

They don't like the irritability, smell, bad appetite, drained energy, feeling of being a social outcast, chronic cough - to name a few.

It's very interesting how you use a double standard comparing heroin and nicotine. You may die from heroin, and you may live while using nicotine. You can turn this statement around and say that you can die from nicotine (cancer) and live while using heroin.

I think nicotine is more dangerous for a whole host of reasons: it's not taken as seriously, it's more addictive, it hooks you up quicker, it's more socially tolerated, it's much more engaging - people who smoke often smoke a few packs a day, ashtrays surround them, the smell fills the air, their clothes, the very pores of their skin. It almost seems like there's more nicotine in them left than humans.

Heroin is more of a make or break drug. You won't be slowly dying all your life, you'll either die or get out. It's a more honest drug, so to say.

But on the other hand, I'm always very suspicious about wide spread drugs - caffeine too. Believe it or not, but caffeine hypes me up much stronger than cocaine. Caffeine is perhaps even worse than nicotine - it's very subtle and socially tolerated. It smells good, tastes good, nobody thinks of it as a drug, and it's likely that most people who are hopelessly hooked on it don't even know they are. It's the most low-down lying bastard drug there is. It's not my cup of tea.
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]

Re: Re: nicotine (none / 0) (#78)
by bogado on Wed May 08, 2002 at 08:12:33 AM EST

Maybe I did not make my point very clearly. I was just stating that heroin is more dangerous then nicotine.

The hole point of my post is that the feeling people have about drugs in general has little to do with how bad they are for your heath or how bad you et dependent of them. The public feeling is a responce to a series of marketing stunts by the goverment(s) and industries (tobaco and alcohol). The result of this can be bad, if someone is arrested for possession of drugs, and this information got in "wild", he could loose his job. The same person would be arrested by drunk driving, I don't think this would happen, even if the "drug" we are talking about is simply some marijuana.


[]'s Victor bogado da Silva Lins

^[:wq
[ Parent ]

Ubiquitousness (4.33 / 3) (#35)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 12:13:12 PM EST

Whenever I (an American from tobacco country!) visit Europe, I'm always struck by the ubiquitousness of smokers. In most places, smoke-free restuarants (or seating sections) are unheard of. At the universities, it seems like almost all the students smoke.

Well, smoke-free zones seem to become more popular as restaurants and public transportation are trying to reduce the waste problems of smoking. Here in Berlin, you will find many preadolescent kids smoking right in front of the huge tobacco posters (frequently sporting sexual imagery) in the subways -- in spite of the fact that there are regular announcements via loudspeaker: "Dear passengers. Please respect the smoking ban." My university's cafeteria is a non-smoking area with large, visible signs -- yet people are smoking at literally every table. I tried to have lunch there. My clothes would stink for the next days until I washed them. After such encounters with large groups of smokers, I am often asked whether I have picked up the habit myself, because of the smell ..

The only tobacco-related imagery kids and juveniles are confronted with on a regular basis are the positive advertisements which are almost unescapable in every large city. Most biology teachers will tell them about the dangers of smoking, but it has long been revealed that such "pedagogic" measures do not work. What is known to work are photos and videos that show the real, ugly effects of smoking on the human body. The German exhibit of plastinated dead human bodies, "Körperwelten", shows the body of a smoker with a tarred lung, arranged in a pose where he is holding a cigarette. Sadly, I only found photos of the healthy lung / tarred lung picture comparison online (these are real, plastinated human lungs), not the smoker. But I came across this collection of children's testimonies, which shows that the lungs left an especially strong impression on the children visiting the exhibition.

One crucial factor in getting people to smoke are the chemical additives that increase the effect of nicotine. This report summarizes the problem. Not only are tobacco companies increasing the nicotine "kick", "sweeteners and chocolate may help to make cigarettes more palatable to children and first time users; eugenol and menthol numb the throat so the smoker cannot feel the smoke's aggravating effects." David Byrne has also criticized the industry for its use of additives, but no real masures have been taken yet. If smoke alone is sufficient to get new addicts, you need no advertising.

Personal experience: Once, after spending a lot of time with smokers, I started to feel a strange sort of "hunger", but I wasn't hungry at all. Reflecting more on the feeling, I realized that I, never having smoked before, wanted a cigarette. Of course I suppressed the urge, but it was very scary. It is under this condition of consciousness that people start to smoke. A child or teenager will not normally reflect on their feelings like that, especially when not (emotionally) educated about the effects of smoking. But when someone in their peer group smokes, not only will they face peer pressure, but because they have consumed second hand smoke, will be more receptive to start the habit.

This is the key reason the tobacco industry has focused their PR efforts on trying to discredit scientific studies revealing the addictive nature of second hand smoke. "We're doing everything to curb smoking among teenagers. But smoking itself does not lead to new smokers," they insist. In reality, they have deliberately engineered their cigarettes to work in that precise fashion. It's better than advertising, and much harder to attack politically.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

I have just one question.. (4.40 / 5) (#23)
by Weezul on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 03:16:38 AM EST

Why does the EU have any say in Tobacco consumption or advertising? Shouldn't this (and all drug policy) be the perogative of individual nations. [Should all drug policy be the perogative of individual states here in the U.S.]

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
Becuase of legislative shopping.... (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by hughk on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 04:21:21 AM EST

Already we have seen F1 threatening to leave counties because of advertising rules. Cancer sticks are a major provider of sport sponsorship and this threat has been used to prolong advertising.

If such threats can be countered by EU-wide legislation, then it is somewhat easier to prevent organisations such as Formula 1 playing off one country against another.

I have no objection to people smoking, but encouraging new addicts is about as moral as giving crack to 12-year olds. Advertising restrictions are necessary to stop this.

[ Parent ]

Also because of cross-country advertizing... (3.50 / 2) (#34)
by karjala on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:14:04 AM EST

Magazines can be sold across Europe, and if different countries would have different laws concerning tobacco advertizing, that would give an unfair competitive advantage for extra ad revenues to magazines from countries that allow it.

[ Parent ]
bullshit (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by Weezul on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:32:25 PM EST

It is self evident that a nation should apply advertising restrictions to imported magazines. Indeed, the French should feal free to restrict the number (and popularity) of non-French magazines imported. If you publish a magazine, you should either publish a French version or out bid other non-French magazines. The magazine publisher should just have to have diffrent layouts for the diffrent countries.

Now it can be a human rights violation to prevent access to information, but this just means that the local restrictions should not apply to all subscribers, i.e. if I live in France I should be free to order the non-French version of the magazine.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
[ Parent ]
Agreed. (none / 0) (#45)
by karjala on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 06:43:55 PM EST

Agreed.

[ Parent ]
Read a book (none / 0) (#47)
by ubu on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:12:05 PM EST

The word is "PREROGATIVE".

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Frell this (3.28 / 7) (#25)
by Hopfrog on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:01:25 AM EST

Smoking is good. Give people the freedom to do what they want. I am a liberal, and I say that the Government should step out of the private life. If people want to kill themselves, no problem.

If they want to discourage it, they should say that people who smoke get to pay much higher health bills.

Hop.

Same old problem (2.33 / 3) (#28)
by cyberdruid on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:43:41 AM EST

People who smoke may have to pay higher health bills, but most of it comes from the tax-payers (my) pocket. It's the same deal as with drugs. I don't want to have to pay for life support for morons who mistreat their bodies. Especially when I take such careful care of mine.

No public healthcare for smokers and bullfighters!

[ Parent ]

do what canada does (4.50 / 2) (#38)
by unformed on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:01:03 PM EST

Tax the hell out of cigarettes. When smokers get sick, their medical bills have already been paid for. I am a (sometimes) smoker, as well as a (some) drug user. I would not mind paying tax on drugs for them to be legal, and also understanding that people should not be paying for my health problems.

[ Parent ]
Never ape the Canadians. (none / 0) (#46)
by ubu on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:11:08 PM EST

If you're willing to pay your own way, you shouldn't support raised taxes in the first place. Not unless you're a fan of the waste and social engineering that come as the direct result.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Problem with this (none / 0) (#54)
by Mashx on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:57:35 AM EST

The UK already does this: the average price of a pack of cigarettes in the UK is nearing £5 ($12 Canadian?). The problem this causes is that smokers are addicted, and in fact the UK government would lose a large proportion of it's revenue if people stopped smoking. In fact, because cigarettes are so expensive in the UK, there is a large black market that the cigarettes on the continent, and imports them illegally: most cigarette packets now have a cellophane wrapping with the words 'UK Duty Paid' on them now to stop shops selling the cheaper black market imports.

And what do I do? I get cigarettes in France, because they are less than half the price. So it brings you back to the same problem...
Woodside!
[ Parent ]

then why not (2.33 / 3) (#40)
by strlen on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 02:47:38 PM EST

just get rid of public healthcare all together? i'll give up that convenience if that's what it takes to shut up the people who want to tell me what to do with my own body.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Public healthcare (none / 0) (#50)
by juahonen on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:43:36 AM EST

Public healthcare is meant for the general public. Not everyone is rich enough to pay for the doctors bill; they are quite high even for small things. If there were no public healthcare the general welfare and well-doing would drop nationwide.

[ Parent ]
so? (none / 0) (#62)
by strlen on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:35:39 PM EST

so in order for general welfare you want to tell me what to do with my own body? isn't that kind of trading liberty for security?

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
No it is not (none / 0) (#63)
by juahonen on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:50:26 PM EST

Public healthcare does not make you lose any control over your own body. The forces putting restrictions to what you can do to your body lie elsewhere, namely in the government. The function of public healtcare is to bring inexpensive medical utilities at the reach of the general public. Nothing to do with taking away your liberties.

But of course, if you have some drugs and then go to see a doctor, it is pretty sure he'll try to do something about it; limiting your control of what you do with your body. But that is not the point here. Public healtcare in general does not restrict your liberties.

[ Parent ]

ok (none / 0) (#69)
by strlen on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:51:32 PM EST

so what if i want to see a doctor that doesn't care about drugs? find me a public health care plan where i have any choice in doctor, treatment, and medication? again that freedom is limited. and again there will be a government making drugs illegal, people intercepting drug shipments etc.. US doesn't have public healthcare, and they're not that bad at all. tell me once place where you can't get an infectious decease treated in the US, anyway. and no i don't care about some poor grandma not getting her dentures. second if health care is public, someone has to pay, namely the government. and if the government pays and owns for it, it is essentially a part of government. ive lived in a country with public healthcare, and unless i felt that getting cavities (along with getting tonsils pulled for some, luckily not me) done without anesthesia is my thing, i'd never want to go back again.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Private doctors (none / 0) (#71)
by juahonen on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:05:12 AM EST

You can go see a private doctor if you wish they didn't intervene in your affairs. Public health care is funded by taxes, the amount of which dictates the quality of treatments. Less money means poorer treatments.

tell me once place where you can't get an infectious decease treated in the US
Your question is a bit misleading: Infectious diseases must be treated in order to protect others. The question is not wether you can get treatment or not, it is rather about the price and quality of such treatment. In countries which offer public health care there are also private doctors. Usually the privates are more skilled but they demand higher prices for their treatments. Because it is so much easier to get to government job, the less skilled doctors are usually found in the public sector. Countries providing public health care regulate private work on the sector more than countries without public health care.

So the case of US would more likely be this: The poor grandma would find a doctor to do her dentures, but she cannot afford a good expensive one, turning instead to a local doctor. If you'd be having some major surgical operation, for example, you'd need to check the doctors background, ask for opinions etc. because it might just be that the doctor is a freak. That is less likely to happen in a country where there is public health care and regulation on private doctors.

[ Parent ]

Your body and mine (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by cione on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 11:14:41 PM EST

You words portray that people have an inherent right to dictate what poeple do to their bodies. You treat your body one way, that doesnt make other's wrong.

The taxpayers "pocket" is not yours. It is mine and yours and the guy down the street. We all chip some in so we all get a chance to gripe and complain. The smokers pay a sin tax to smoke. Now whos paying for what. ________________________________________________
Your rules may be right but that doesnt make millions more wrong

[ Parent ]
hypocrite! (none / 0) (#74)
by krek on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:59:01 PM EST

You stop driving your car and then we will talk about me giving up my cigs. I do not enjoy sunburns, skin cancer anymore than you would enjoy lung cancer. I am also thinking that getting hit by cars is a greater drain on our health care system than lung cancer. Besides, eventually they will be able to cure cancer like they do a rash (sorta), then it will not be such a drain on the system.... meanwhile, cars will continue to maim, dismember and kill thousands every year.

[ Parent ]
Greatest Thing I have read (2.00 / 1) (#26)
by leviramsey on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:25:57 AM EST

On the tobacco subject was over at SomethingAwful.



Better link (none / 0) (#51)
by jsoderba on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:51:06 AM EST

The saturday update has been archived here. As always, Lowtax is a god among men.

[ Parent ]
The thing you never get told (5.00 / 3) (#29)
by eviltwin on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:57:15 AM EST

About tobacco is ho much money governments make off it - in Australia the cost of a pack of 25 cigarettes is approx $8.50. the government levies a WHOLESALE excise of 110% - that means that a retailer buys a pack for around $7.50 - of that 7.50 over half of it goes to the goverment.

In this counrty the constant argument is smokers use more of the health budget when in fact excise used in health care is about 10% of the total take - so the government makes more out of tobacco that the companies do.

Any they wonder why they won't ban it - meanwhile drinking excessively is seen as an aussie habit and advertising on TV for that is allowed but there is no cigarette ad's allowed at all -whens the last time someone smoked a carton of smokes and then crashed into a carload of kid's an killed them ? (Australia has a massive problem with Drink Driving)

DISCLAIMER - I am a smoker who spent 5 years working for a large tobacco company - this must be taken into account when reading this comment - bias is unitntended but unavoidable

All generalisations are false, including this one.
Smoking and driving (none / 0) (#49)
by r1chard on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:54:08 AM EST

Smoking while driving is known to increase the probablity of accidents; poeple look for lighters, conecntrate on lighting them, drop buring butts on themselves, try to find the ashtray...

RG

[ Parent ]
Oh please (none / 0) (#53)
by suick on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:28:35 AM EST

<Anything> and driving increases the probability of accidents. Replace "anything" with talking, finding a radio-station, looking for a restaurant, etc.

Uh oh, cigarettes are a choking hazard for babies--we should ban them for that as well!

order in to with the will I around my effort sentences an i of more be fuck annoying.
[ Parent ]
Oh thanks (none / 0) (#59)
by YesNoCancel on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:45:23 AM EST

<Anything> and driving increases the probability of accidents. Replace "anything" with talking, finding a radio-station, looking for a restaurant, etc.

That's the reason why these activities - eating, smoking, talking on a mobile etc. - are illegal while driving (in most states).

Talking while driving is legal, of course. =)

[ Parent ]

eating & smoking illegal while driving? (none / 0) (#64)
by crcerror on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:01:52 PM EST

Eating and smoking while driving are illegal in most states? I know they're starting to illegalize talking on cell phones without a headset... but I've never heard about the others.

Do you, by chance, know which states have made those illegal or have a link? I'd be interested to see it.

[ Parent ]
Re: eating & smoking illegal while driving? (none / 0) (#65)
by YesNoCancel on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:07:02 PM EST

I know for certain that eating & smoking while driving (as well as talking on a mobile phone) are illegal in Germany and Austria, and I've heard it's also illegal in most of the other European states (never read the respective laws though).

As for countries outside the EU, I don't know. Might be legal in some, illegal in others.

[ Parent ]

Speak for yourself. (5.00 / 2) (#32)
by alge on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 07:22:49 AM EST

A common error nowadays: Europe != the EU(/EC). There are still a few independent countries out there.

Here in Norway, all tobacco ads are illegal. You have to 18+ to buy tobacco. Smoking in public buildings is illegal, except for designated smoking areas. And it seems to be working - more people stop smoking every year.

And according to Rk tobacco TV ads are illegal in Switzerland, too.



vi er ikke lenger elsket her

Media silence. (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by chbm on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 01:38:47 PM EST

The media silence about the lack of action by corrupt politians is all too clear. Media is against any type of advertising bans: less ads = less money.

-- if you don't agree reply don't moderate --
"bribery" (4.66 / 3) (#42)
by karb on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:08:49 PM EST

Your header mentions "bribery". Yet neither the article nor the study in question seem to make any mention of this. From where do the allegations arise?
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
Depends on your definition of evidence (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by Eloquence on Sun Apr 14, 2002 at 05:43:43 PM EST

The study mentions the case of Kenneth Clarke, as cited in my article. That's probably the closest you will get to hard evidence from the industry's internal documents. Bribery is, as you might guess, a quite sensitive subject. But if industry documents mention that a certain person is a "friend" or "ally", it doesn't take a rocket scientist to conclude that they were receptive to industry offers like a "personal invitation to a Formula One racing event" or the £ 100K "consulting job" Clarke got.

But if you want a clear cause-effect relationship, a signed letter that says "We will give you money if you do this", you won't find it. Corruption doesn't work that way.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Suffered? SUFFERED? (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by jonr on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:35:54 AM EST

What a unfortunate choose of words. The people in industry is probably the one of the sleaziest, dishonest, lying bast*rds ever. They have faked lab results, spent millions on lobbying and used every trick in the book to push their drug. (Yes, I consider tobbaco a drug, people get addicted to it) So please don't use that word again in this context.

Why believe in advertising bans? (5.00 / 2) (#55)
by crank42 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:03:45 AM EST

There seems to be an idea that advertising bans should be enacted against whatever happens to be the current public menace. Why?

It's not like advertising is so terribly powerful, unless people have already been trained to be sheep. Why not dump the money into education -- teach people to be able to use that otherwise pointless mass of goo between their ears? The idea that adverts magically make people go and buy the advertised product is just silly.

After all, if adverts were so powerful, merely counter-advertising against tobacco would work. It doesn't, though, because people laugh at the silly, puritanical ads produced for that cause.

Do advertisers believe that? (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:34:02 PM EST

Certainly billions of dollars are spent each year by people who believe that advertising works.

In any case, I thought I'd heard that the new "The Truth" anti-smoking campaign was very effective...


--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
Yes It Was (2.00 / 1) (#70)
by FuriousXGeorge on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:00:06 AM EST

"The Truth" campaign (after about a year of watching their ads on TV) was the major factor that lead to me quitting cigs bout a week ago.



-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]
Hey now (none / 0) (#75)
by vile on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:39:20 PM EST

After reading about The Truth campaign being advertised, I was magically compelled to <puff> not smoke. I think I'll be putting out my <puff puff> cigarette now. <puff>.. ok well.. maybe just one more..

~
The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
[ Parent ]
And so? (none / 0) (#76)
by crank42 on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 08:22:38 AM EST

Certainly billions of dollars are spent each year by people who believe that advertising works.

All that tells me is that a poorly-educated, completely uncritical populace is subject to the soma peddled by advertisers. Without any critical faculties, people may well be easily manipulated. But we could improve those critical faculties, if we wanted.

Besides, anyone claiming former lack of knowledge about the risks of smoking is not being honest. People called cigarettes "cancer sticks" as early as the 40s. Everyone knew they were bad for you. They didn't care. It's our puritan age that has made the change, not new knowledge of risks.

[ Parent ]

HUH? (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by fishy on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:37:50 PM EST

"UK Secretary of State for Education and Science, Kenneth Clarke: "

That should be former SoS, making:

"Clarke's links to the tobacco industry have continued to the present. Beginning in 1998, Clarke received UK £ 100 000 a year to serve as a deputy chairman of British American Tobacco "

Not such a great quote, as he was a has been in 1998. Selective facts to make a story, there must be a book deal in there somewhere.

F

Read (none / 0) (#68)
by Eloquence on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:19:59 PM EST

I wrote: "The United Kingdom, under the conservative Tory government .."
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy · Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Re: HUH? (none / 0) (#77)
by mickwd on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 06:24:59 PM EST

Maybe not a complete has-been - he came close to becoming leader of the Conservative party last year. But I would agree he's not as significant a figure as he once was.

It's also worth noting that he was also Secretary of State of Health (as well as a former Chancellor of the Exchequer).

[ Parent ]

Scientific Report: Tobacco Industry Influenced European Decision Makers | 78 comments (66 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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