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