Kicking Butts

I was trying to get to work on time when I heard a little bell go off to tell me I am low on gas. I pull into a gas station and run inside to hand the attendant $20 to get my gas. Of course since I’m in hurry there is a long line at the register. The first guy is getting a dozen different instant lottery tickets and can’t decide on which ones. The Elecpencil realizes his asshole magnet is on just because he is in a hurry.

The next customer says, “I need smokes make it a pack of Marlboros.” The register jockey asks, “ Marlboro Reds, Blues, Lights, Ultra-Lights, Menthol, Menthol Lights, Icy Mint, Crisp Mint, Fresh Mint, Super Marbles, Filter Plus, Filter Plus Ones, Kings, 72’s, or 100’s?” The smoker says, “Red Kings.” When the register jockey finds a pack young Marlboro Man says, “I want the hard pack not the soft pack.” The next customer was not as wealthy as Mr. Marlboro as she was buying a pack of cigarettes named, Basic. I think it is probably time to quit smoking when your brand is named, Basic. Basic must be the floor sweepings from the tobacco factory. If Marlboro is the steak of cigarettes Basic must be the hot dog or bologna of cigarettes. Truth is with the cost of cigarettes if you can afford to smoke Marlboros you are probably making to much money.

As I’ve said in the past I look at almost everything from the aspect of how it’s going to affect my children. Smoking has killed a lot of my relatives before their time so my children never got to meet some really special people. Smoking pollutes my children’s air and cigarette butts litter the planet my kids will inherit. On another note I have been fortunate to work with many young activists and have been disappointed to see so many of them smoke.

I find it strange activists protest things like the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the World Bank that exploit people in the Third World while they’re smoking cigarettes the most exploitive product in the whole world. One needs look no further for a metaphor for the greed of capitalism than cigarettes. The tobacco corporation bastards making cigarettes know they’re killing smokers, yet they laugh all the way to the bank. A perfect example of that comes from an R. J. Reynolds executive. When asked why he and his colleagues did not smoke, he replied, “We don’t smoke the shit, we just sell it. We reserve that for the young, the poor, the black, and the stupid.” (Committee on Energy and Commerce, United States House of Representatives Hearing on tobacco issues, 1989) That’s what they think of their customers.

When he said “shit,” truer words were never spoken. There are 4000 chemicals in cigarette tobacco and at least 43 are known carcinogens (cancer causing agents). Among these chemicals are: methanol, a rocket fuel, carbon monoxide, the poisonous gas in car exhaust, acetone, used to make paint stripper, butane, a form of lighter fluid, beta-maphtyl methyl ether, commonly known as mothballs, and formaldehyde, which is used to preserve dead bodies. For you smokers, who fire up one for breakfast, why not just put some rat poison on your Wheaties. That’s right; cigarettes include cyanide, a rat poison. They also include hydrogen cyanide, the poison used in gas chambers. Cigarettes also contain nicotine, a substance that addicts you. Tobacco companies have added ammonia to boost the availability of nicotine by up to 100 times. The process of adding ammonia to increase the impact of nicotine is called “free-basing,” and it is similar to the process used to heighten the effects of cocaine.

In a lawsuit against cigarette companies, a file called, The Kestrel Project by the British American Tobacco Company came to light. The project memo talked about ways to addict and market cigarettes to the young generation. Ideas included adding flavors, like root beer and fruit juices. Tobacco corporation’s research has shown that black is the favorite color of today’s youth. Therefore, cigarettes called “Just Black” are being marketed in developing countries. To keep the price low for young kids, they are sold in a 10 pack referred to as kiddie packs. The Kestrel Project is a fitting name because a Kestrel is a bird of prey that feeds on rodents. And the tobacco corporations who prey upon them consider smokers disposable rodents.

These are all reasons enough not to smoke, but let me appeal directly to activists on various social justice issues:

Racism: Early tobacco producers used black slave labor. Cigarette advertising billboards appear more in minority neighborhoods and more tobacco ads appear in black magazines than white ones.

World Hunger: In low-income countries where fertile land is rare, acreage that was used for needed food production is now controlled by tobacco corporations. Poor countries export much of the world’s tobacco and now are highly dependent upon food imports.

The Environment: The leading cause of deforestation is tobacco farming. Over 90% of tobacco land is in developing nations, where wood is the fuel used to cure tobacco. One acre of trees is cut for fuel per each acre of tobacco.

Animal Activists: Dogs who live with smokers are 1.6 times more likely to get lung cancer and 2.5 times more likely to develop nasal cancer.

National Health-Care: Tobacco use results in annual medical costs of $50 billion. That’s money that could go towards funding a national health-care system

For men, if I haven’t convinced you yet, how about the fact that smoking is going to make your penis shrivel up and drop off? OK, I’m exaggerating; it’s only going to result in 50% more impotency than nonsmokers and “result in a decrease in the number, duration, and quality of erections.” For women smoking causes earlier menopause and an increase in cervical and vulvar cancer.

Our world needs all the activists it can get. So kick the habit and put those greedy capitalist tobacco corporations out of business.

P. S.  Smokers you stink something awful. You make me gag when you get near me.

Attention New Smokers

Underground Sound anti-smoking

Anti-smoking commercial

I’m glad I don’t have to explain to a man from Mars why each day I set fire to dozens of little pieces of paper, and put them in my mouth.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966


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2 responses to “Kicking Butts

  1. Reeder Foon

    Gasoline, Petroleum and the plastics made from it are the single largest cause of cancer in the world. This is a known fact, verified by thousands of studies which the oil industry counters by paying pundits to say: “Well, we just are not sure yet”. Now are are sure. The TPH array in petroleum and petroleum products exists as microscopic particles which leach off of plastic materials, (ie: the plastic in water and baby bottles) and float in the air as vapor, (ie: the fumes around gas stations). These particles are absorbed into the body and broken down to a cellular level and then to a DNA level. As the DNA replicates, a constant process, these TPH materials cause the replication process to make mistakes and create genetic mutations. TPH is a very particular array of items so the “mistakes” that it causes occur as the same thing over and over. We call this repeating mistake: “cancer”. Other materials in our environment cause other kinds of genetic mutations that do not manifest as onerous, or extremely negative, or obvious things. TPH manifests cancer.

    The TPH chemical array has killed more Americans than every terrorist since the beginning of time.

    The petrochemical bisphenol-a, or BPA, causes precancerous tumors and urinary tract problems and made babies reach puberty early.

    Every gas pump has a label on it that oil and gas causes cancer and a host of lethal medical problems.

    Archeologicial digs show that ancient peoples living near tar pits got cancer.

    When there is an oil spill, you are not allowed on the beach because most agencies classify oil as toxic.

    A study of childhook leukemia in England mapped every child with the diserase and found they all occurred in a circle, in the center of which was a gas station.
    Living near a petrol station could quadruple the risk of childhood leukaemia, research suggested today.
    The study in France found a link between cases of acute leukaemia among youngsters and how close they lived to a fuel station or a repair garage.
    Research has already shown an association between adults’ occupational exposure to benzene, a hydrocarbon derived from petrol, and leukaemia.
    The latest study is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The French Institute of Health and Medical Research based their findings on 280 cases of childhood leukaemia and a comparison group of 285 children.
    They were drawn from four hospitals in Nancy, Lille, Lyon and Paris, with almost two-thirds of the children with leukaemia aged between two and six.
    The team found no clear link between the mother’s occupation during pregnancy or traffic levels around where they lived and the risk of child leukaemia.
    They also saw no link between leukaemia and living near manufacturers using materials such as aluminium or plastic.
    But a child whose home was near a garage was four times more likely to develop leukaemia than a child whose home was not.
    The risk appeared to be even greater for acute nonlymphoblastic leukaemia, which was seven times more common among children living close to a petrol station or garage. The longer a child had lived there, the higher their risk of leukaemia appeared to be.
    There are 6,600 cases of leukaemia a year in Britain. Although it is the most common form of childhood cancer, it affects three times as many adults as children.
    The authors admit the findings could be due to chance. “But the strength of the association and the duration of the trend are arguments for a causal association.”

    Alberta’s oil sands are one of the world’s biggest deposits of oil, but the cost of extracting that oil may be the health of the people living around them. High levels of toxic chemicals and carcinogens have been found in the water, soil, and fish downstream of the oil sands. The local health authority of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta comissioned the study in response to locals’ claims that the oil extraction projects upstream were damaging the health of citizens. Petrochemicals and their byproducts, such as dioxin, are known to cause an array of serious health problems, including cancers and endocrine disruption.Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) is a term used to describe a large family of several hundred chemical compounds that originally come from crude oil. Crude oil is used to make petroleum products, which can contaminate the environment. Because there are so many different chemicals in crude oil and in other petroleum products, it is not practical to measure each one separately. However, it is useful to measure the total amount of TPH at a site.TPH is a mixture of chemicals, but they are all made mainly from hydrogen and carbon, called hydrocarbons. Scientists divide TPH into groups of petroleum hydrocarbons that act alike in soil or water. These groups are called petroleum hydrocarbon fractions. Each fraction contains many individual chemicals.

    Some chemicals that may be found in TPH are hexane, jet fuels, mineral oils, benzene, toluene, xylenes, naphthalene, and fluorene, as well as other petroleum products and gasoline components. However, it is likely that samples of TPH will contain only some, or a mixture, of these chemicals. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that one TPH compound (benzene) is carcinogenic to humans. IARC has determined that other TPH compounds (benzo[a]pyrene and gasoline) are carcinogenic to humans.

    Benzene causes leukemia. Benzene as a cause of leukemia had documented since 1928 (1 p. 7-9). In 1948, the American Petroleum Institute officially reported a link between this solvent used in many of their industries used and cases of leukemia in their workers. Their findings concluded that the only safe level of benzene exposure is no exposure at all (2).

    The largest breast cancer incidents are in Marin County, California which is tied to the air, water and ecosphere of the Chevron Oil refinery right next door.

    The oil industries spend tens of millions of dollars on fake pundits and disinformation to make sure the above information is never known by the public. Cure Cancer: Stop oil. It is a national security need in more ways than one.

  2. Thanks for the wealth of research you shared. Fortunately, I decided in my early teens that I was never going to allow myself to be talked into smoking, and never did. However, over my long life I’ve been forced by others to smoke without ever having to put a cigarette to my lips. One of my reasons for being happy here in Florida has been the benefit of living in a state that bans cigarette smoking in all public places.

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