"Hey, kids, gotta get 'em all!"
By now, you must be wondering how tobacco companies can get away with all these shady practices. We're glad you asked, because the thing is, they're ...
Enlisting The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce To Fight Their Battles
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sounds pretty damn political, but that's because you're thinking of the Department of Commerce in the president's Cabinet. The Chamber is a giant group of businesses united together so that the U.S. will pursue what they deem pro-business policies. And the Chamber has deemed that there's nothing as American as shoving American tobacco down everyone's throats. That's why Big Tobacco and the Chamber of Commerce have been using their combined might to intimidate countries into shelving their own tobacco regulations.
"So emphysema's been getting a bad rap lately, right?"
How do they do this? Like any pitchfork-wielding devil, they have a "three-pronged strategy:"
Prong one: Partnering with its foreign affiliates (it has more than 100 overseas), the Chamber fights anti-tobacco laws in each country, thereby keeping the fight against smoking as divided as possible. It helps that there is often confusion about whether or not the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has anything to do with the U.S. government (it doesn't), and they prefer not to correct anyone.
"This is written on legal paper. Its probably legit."
Prong two: It plays country against country, like how it provoked Ukraine into suing Australia over Australia's right to enact stringent anti-smoking laws on Australia's own land.
Prong three: The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce himself, Thomas J. Donohue, personally lobbies Washington on behalf of the tobacco companies.
The latter, by the by, is contrary to the Chamber of Commerce's own procedures. They're supposed to be advocates for business in a more general sense, instead of focusing on specific pet issues. The Chamber tries to pass it off as trying to protect a branch of business under fire, but as a collection of these threatening letters to different countries shows, they will go as far as attacking legislation like bans on smoking in public places.
And if that seems like Big Tobacco has its yellow-stained hand up the Chamber's exit, you might be right. A position paper on plain packaging used by the Chamber in Brussels sounded a lot like it was written by a tobacco company. The New York Times discovered that was probably because an early draft was written by Anne-Laure Covin, a Philip Morris International executive.
Weirdly, some of the Chamber's members are suspiciously okay with this, including several hospital groups and insurers (you know, the same insurers who will screw you over for smoking). Also included in the Chamber is Pfizer, makers of Chantix, the smoking-cessation drug. So now it's come full circle -- you make money off of the disease, then you make money off of the cure. Cancer is big business, after all.
Nimby Smith wants you to know that if you want to quit smoking, a good first step is to call a toll-free service, such as 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), a national routing number to each state's program. They are staffed by quit coaches -- people trained to help you with a personalized plan to quit smoking. Hours vary. You can also call 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848), which is run by the National Cancer Institute. Once again, tobacco companies kill up to half their customers, and kill six million people a year. Also, you should read all those links in the last entry -- they lead to some really solid reporting.
Also check out 6 Annoying Realities Of Being An Ex-Smoker and 5 Life Lessons You Only Learn Through Quitting Smoking.
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