It’s that time of year when we all start to take personal assessment. Then, we put our new year resolutions together. Then, we smile. Yes, then despite my desire to drop a few pounds, I will still reach for the bread brought to the table.
The same cycle of goal/failure occurs to smokers. Overwhelming evidence of the harms of smoking only cause it to be part of the resolutions list in the first place. Still, the history of the harms through the eyes of tobacco companies are more of a failure than the failed resolution list.
Here is some history:
A Johns Hopkins researcher reports in 1938 that smokers do not live as long as nonsmokers. Six years later, the American Society for the Control of Cancer warns that smoking might pose dangers but said “no definite evidence exists” that it caused lung cancer.
In 1964, the U.S. surgeon general, Luther L. Terry, issues a landmark report linking smoking and cancer. That sets in motion measures that deeply cut into smoking rates. This is unfortunate for Big Tobacco because it cuts into tobacco’s profits and influence.
The first effect is with Congress passing laws that require health warnings on cigarette packages. Then, later banning cigarette advertising on radio and TV. Then, more regulations and restrictions on Big Tobacco.
Despite the previous findings, Big Tobacco routinely defeated lawsuits brought by smokers (and families of deceased smokers) Still, lawsuits were placing heavy attention on the ill effects of smoking. Lung cancer had once been a rare disease. Now, it was effecting millions globally at an alarming rate.
In 1998, Tobacco companies agreed to pay $206 billion to settle a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of 46 states, who were seeking compensation for costs to the public related to smoking-related illnesses.
1997 was the first time that Big Tobacco admitted causing cancer. It is estimated that in 2015, there will be about 6 million deaths from past smoking. In addition a recent study shows that smoking causes men to lose their Y chromosome. That is the explanation for why it causes cancer. Tough to get an admission of wrongdoing.
And for pic o’ day, I was looking for a Christmas picture and got sidetracked with this celebration: