When the cigarette manufacturer Liggett Group Inc. revealed that its people lied when they’d maintained that their advertisements didn’t “target” teenagers, and that for decades they didn’t known smoking was “dangerous,” the anti-tobacco crusaders interpreted these admissions as confirmation of what they’d long suspected: all tobacco companies lie, and not just about the intent of their advertisements and the dangers of smoking. What these crusaders openly practice in their relentless attacks against the tobacco industry, via issues such as addiction, second-hand smoke, responsibility for smoking-related illnesses, advertising, and teenage smoking, are many equivocations, misrepresentations, and lies — and therefore injustices. Yet their practices are often unchallenged because the corrupt, non-objective, statist ideas and measures that spawned and fuel the anti- tobacco crusade are widely practiced, increasing and intensifying throughout America. The anti-tobacco crusade has thus been gradually achieving their fundamental goal: the destruction of a legitimate industry.
Trial lawyer John Coale, lead counsel for a coalition representing 60 law firms suing tobacco companies and a participant in the negotiations that preceded the recent court settlement between the U.S. tobacco companies and forty state Attorney Generals, said that some health activists will not settle for “anything less than the destruction of the (tobacco) industry.”1 He said the settlement would give regulators and health activists more than they could get through litigation and legislation. Outrageously, the anti-tobacco crusaders’ violations of the individual rights of tobacco company owners are partly perpetrated under the cover of “The rights of individuals to seek just compensation …,”2 as Matthew Myers, an anti-tobacco lawyer with the campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, revealed.
|The germ of the controversy over “addiction” rests on the fact that a clear, objective definition of it hasn’t been established.|
As with any essentially irrational crusade, the crusaders must create a plausible, just moral facade in order to perpetrate their injustices. The valid claim that the anti-tobacco crusaders primarily ride on is that smoking can cause lung cancer and contribute to other cancers, such as esophagus and bladder.3 The controversy over this crusade fundamentally begins with its crusaders’ claim that smoking is “addictive,” and with their attempts thereafter to use government’s monopoly on coercion to back them on this and the other aforementioned issues, or “causes,” against the tobacco companies.
The germ of the controversy over “addiction” rests on the fact that a clear, objective definition of it hasn’t been established. As syndicated columnist, legal writer and author of Science Under Siege, Michael Fumento writes, “One definition of addiction says that the substance in question must have some sort of intoxicating effect, and cigarettes do — albeit very slight compared to such drugs as cocaine and heroin. But researchers have found the same thing about chocolate, that it raises levels of certain chemicals in the brain and makes you feel better.”4 Time magazine reported that when nicotine is inhaled, dopamine is raised in the body, a chemical that causes physiologically-based pleasure, such as when one eats chocolate. Ignoring any attempt to define addiction, Time’s article instead provided statements that engender the non-objective consensus on smoking and addiction: “[F]ormer smokers can no more control the urge to light up than Pavlov’s dogs could stop their urge to salivate,” — i.e., because one has an urge that is deemed to be “uncontrollable,” this necessarily equals “addiction”;
|This last statement suggests that the “forces” of genes and society may vary in each smoker, determining who may or may not remain a cigarette “addict,” — and this is how the anti-tobacco crusaders rationalize the fact that many millions of former smokers freely chose to quite smoking without any medical treatment.|
“Addicts do not crave heroin or cocaine or alcohol or nicotine per se but want the rush of dopamine that these drugs produce,” — i.e., drug-intake per se doesn’t cause drug addiction but nonetheless per se produces the “craving” that causes addiction, and therefore this necessarily applies to nicotine; “Americans tend to think of drug addiction as a failure of character. But this stereotype is beginning to give way to the recognition that drug dependence has a clear biological basis,” — i.e., Americans must accept the equivocal alternative that either they believe addiction is based on failure of will or on biology and therefore outside of will; “Genes and social forces may conspire to turn people into addicts but do not doom them to remain so.”5 This last statement suggests that the “forces” of genes and society may vary in each smoker, determining who may or may not remain a cigarette “addict,” — and this is how the anti-tobacco crusaders rationalize the fact that many millions of former smokers freely chose to quite smoking without any medical treatment. Thus, these equivocations, half-truths and lies are used to pass off as a “possible” fact that to stop smoking has little, if anything, to do with free will.
However, “addiction” in the narrow medical use that is applicable today means: given over to a bad habit which involves physical withdrawal symptoms that cannot be overcome simply by will. Addiction cannot mean simply that withdrawing from something will have painful effects. Stopping anything that has become a pleasurable habit will have painful effects.
|But no matter that a certain tobacco company lied, the truth of smoking’s “addictive” characteristics cannot be objectively validated by their dishonesty.|
That’s true, and makes no difference, whether it is withdrawal from food, sex, money. The existence of physical effects after one stops something habitual and pleasurable cannot be the definition of addiction. Otherwise anything one wants or is accustomed to one is “addicted” to — thus the word becomes completely meaningless. Addiction specifically is the bad habit that involves physical withdrawal symptoms that one cannot overcome by will. Tobacco is not “addicting.” To hold that it is is an equivocation. To hold that because there are physical withdrawal symptoms from smoking, and that therefore these are so uncontrollably severe that they cannot be overcome by will, making smokers helpless victims to the vicious substance of tobacco, is a bizarre irrationality.6
Observe how other journalists use this equivocation to smuggle in and tie the controversial issue of addiction to the valid claim that smoking causes disease. In an article that begins by recounting the “lying under oath” by top executives of leading tobacco companies who swore to Congress that they didn’t believe cigarettes to be addictive, New York Times editorialist Frank Rich writes, “Andrew Schindler, president of R. J. Reynolds, testified that cigarettes are no more addictive than coffee or carrots. Alexander Spears, chairman of Lorillard, said under oath that he didn’t think Americans die of diseases caused by cigarette smoking.”7 By packaging both quotes under “lies,” Mr. Rich attempts to make the issue of smoking “addiction” an established fact on a par with smoking’s disease-causing factors. And note that both men quoted are from different tobacco companies. When Ligget Group Inc. admitted they’d maintained certain lies, the same manipulative packaging was being used when their admissions were widely-reported as a tobacco company “breaking ranks.” The implication being that “big” tobacco definitely conspires in such lies; and therefore if one company lies about their ads or about cigarettes not causing diseases, they’re “possibly” all lying about addiction, too. This corrupt logic leads to the statist idea that if one company in an industry is a wrongdoer, then all in that industry are suspect and must have non-objective laws and regulations imposed on them, which assumes them guilty until proven innocent.
|…even if smoking is an activity one cannot stop by will, it nevertheless fails to warrant governmental regulation of tobacco.|
Since tobacco companies lie about addiction, the anti-tobacco crusader’s logical sequence proceeds, then smoking must cause addiction. But no matter that a certain tobacco company lied, the truth of smoking’s “addictive” characteristics cannot be objectively validated by their dishonesty. When and if a tobacco company lies to evade certain accusations against them, their motive likely rests on the facts that the government threatens to somehow unjustly use its monopoly on force against them whenever smokers claim anything negative, such as becoming “addicted” to cigarettes, and because they are philosophically incapable of providing a consistent, rational defense for their self-interest and individual rights. However, even if smoking is an activity one cannot stop by will, it nevertheless fails to warrant governmental regulation of tobacco. It is outside government’s proper, objective function to prohibit individuals from selling or purchasing anything that fails to initiate physical force on individuals against their will. Regulations to “protect” individuals from “addiction” is just another excuse by government, particularly the FDA, who will receive money from tobacco companies via the settlement, to increase its paternalistic powers. As an article in Time Magazine reports, “[A]ntismoking forces in the [Clinton] Administration and Congress stress that the Food and Drug Administration must retain the power to regulate tobacco as a drug, as well as limit the nicotine content of cigarettes — conditions that the industry has resisted.”8
|Since then regulations and laws have increased to the point where despite these health warnings, and despite the detrimental health effects of smoking being widely known for over a century, former smokers are nevertheless suing tobacco companies now for such ill effects that they incurred from smoking.|
By finally classifying tobacco as an “addictive drug” in a nation that unjustly regulates or outlaws almost all drugs, it is inevitable that the government “must” then regulate sales and use of tobacco. And since regulations beget more regulations, the tobacco companies will inevitably undergo further injustices. The precedent that begot the Federal Communication Commission’s ban on TV cigarette ads in 1971 was the Surgeon General’s 1964 demand that health warnings be placed on all cigarette packs. Since then regulations and laws have increased to the point where despite these health warnings, and despite the detrimental health effects of smoking being widely known for over a century, former smokers are nevertheless suing tobacco companies now for such ill effects that they incurred from smoking. The recent lawsuits against the tobacco companies arose from a new strategy by certain anti-tobacco lawyers. “This time,” Newsweek reports, “instead of suing just on behalf of individual plaintiffs, they championed taxpayers who had lost billions paying for Medicare and Medicaid treatments for smokers. The distinction was crucial. While juries were tempted to blame individual smokers when they went to trial — after all, they chose to smoke! — they tended to be much more sympathetic to cases brought by a state. The jurors were, after all, taxpayers themselves.”9 Therefore, state governments, desperate for revenue to support a morally and financially bankrupt socialist medical care system, which forcibly confiscates money from individuals to redistribute to others, are now imposing the smoker’s responsibility for his smoking-related medical costs onto the tobacco companies . Most of the $368.5 billion they are being sued will support the medical costs caused by smoking. The truly crucial distinction, which the anti- tobacco crusade helps erode, is that personal responsibility, i.e., responsibility for ones own actions and life, does not include the falsehood of “social responsibly”, i.e., that each individual is somehow responsible for others. This statist idea of evading and manipulating the essence of personal responsibility so as to transform its meaning to include social interdependence, on which Medicare and certain anti-tobacco crusade “causes” are based, engender injustices, such as the looting of individuals to support the lives of others.
|The truly crucial distinction, which the anti- tobacco crusade helps erode, is that personal responsibility, i.e., responsibility for ones own actions and life, does not include the falsehood of “social responsibly”, i.e., that each individual is somehow responsible for others.|
The corollary and equally crucial distinction that statists must destroy to perpetrate these injustices is between voluntary, self-responsible action and the initiation of physical force. If a company sells cigarettes — especially when warnings of their possible detrimental health effects have been forcibly placed on each cigarette pack for over three decades, health effects of which were widely known for many decades prior to such warnings — and people voluntarily smoke their cigarettes and become ill from them, then such harm is not the responsibility of the tobacco company, any more than it is McDonald’s responsibility if one often consumes their hamburgers and subsequently develops heart disease. When failure of personal responsibility for discovering the known dangers and consequences of anything one voluntarily ingests are excused, and when laws are subsequently enacted which hold others, i.e., businessmen, responsible for initiating force for what individuals have voluntarily indulged in, then irrational lawsuits are filed and justice becomes impossible.
|…if a man’s cigarette, barbecue, or fireplace smoke, for example, wafts daily into his neighbor’s house, the owner of which involuntarily inhales the smoke, any physical harm it causes that neighbor entitles him to retribution.|
Another of these irrational lawsuits involves the issue of second-hand smoke and its effects on non-smokers. It is true that one has no right to harm another man in any manner to which that man didn’t voluntarily agree. Thus, if a man’s cigarette, barbecue, or fireplace smoke, for example, wafts daily into his neighbor’s house, the owner of which involuntarily inhales the smoke, any physical harm it causes that neighbor entitles him to retribution. Any manner of physically harming an individual against their will is force initiated against them. However, the claim that second-hand cigarette smoke causes cancer also remains an unsettled issue, despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s report in 1993 that concluded Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is a known human carcinogen which causes lung cancer. Other scientists contend the EPA’s claim, charging it used “faulty science, manipulated scientific data, ignored major studies that contradicted its conclusions and used methodology not generally accepted by the scientific community.”10 The EPA’s faulty science, based on their non-objective methodology, has lead to a ban on silicone breast implants, asbestos, Alar, to name merely three politically-driven (which includes the FDA) health scares of the past that were proven false. The EPA therefore cannot be upheld as legitimate; but in America’s increasingly non-objective, statist climate it remains a legitimized agency. “Despite the facts [that the EPA was without enough evidence to draw its conclusions],” writes Michael Fumento, “cigarette smoking has become the target of public health groups and lawmakers nationwide. These policy-makers are using the EPA’s 1993 report classifying ETS as a ‘known human carcinogen’ as the basis for legislation and regulations banning smoking.”11 Thus laws have been enacted that ban smoking in certain private establishments.
|Only the owner of a private establishment should set its smoking policy, and when patrons and employees know that he permits smoking, they have voluntarily agreed to assume the health risks within such an environment.|
However, even if second-hand smoke causes detrimental health effects to non-smokers, this is another issue the government has no right to use to infringe on individual rights, such as those who own restaurants, hotels, workplaces. Only the owner of a private establishment should set its smoking policy, and when patrons and employees know that he permits smoking, they have voluntarily agreed to assume the health risks within such an environment. People who decline to take those risks can choose to dine, sleep or work elsewhere. One cannot sue a known “smoking-friendly” restaurant, hotel or company for any ill effects one acquired from the smoke therein if they voluntarily agreed to frequent those establishments. It is the individual’s responsibility to learn the known and potential harms of the various actions they take, and if they become ill their voluntary agreement to these conditions then renders any claim of force used against them as unjustified. Force exists, for example, when one frequents a non-smoking establishment where the owner secretly emits smoke through its air vents, just as a restaurant owner is using force when he serves adulterated food to one who agreed only to eat an untainted meal. Nevertheless, the government prohibits smoking in private establishments and thereby takes another step in its gradual dictatorial takeover of private property.
Another seemingly plausible ideal the crusaders use to cloak further statist controls is that certain governmental actions must be taken “to protect children.” Thus enter the prohibitions of tobacco ads that “target” teenagers, and of cigarette sales to them. Since smoking is undertaken voluntarily, whatever consequences that proceed from it are the smoker’s responsibility, and whether tobacco is to be used by teenagers is their parent’s decision and responsibility. But, the crusaders hold, since the consensus is that tobacco is an “addictive drug,” then teenage smoking must be prohibited. This is another equivocation. Adult drug use should be legal since an individual has a right to act for or against his life and because it doesn’t per se physically harm or endanger the lives of others. Because drugs can seriously harm one’s mind and some can be immediately lethal, their sale to and use by minors should be banned; however, cigarette smoking, although potentially harmful and/or lethal later in life, fails to harm or threaten the young smokers mind or life. It must therefore only be the parents’ decision whether they allow their child to smoke, not the governments. Nonetheless, since tobacco has officially become an “addictive drug,” cigarette sales to teens are prohibited and tobacco companies must now have certain advertising, i.e., free speech, banned.
|Prohibition of the free speech inherent in advertising is now considered a right tobacco companies must concede.|
According to the New York Times, The Federal Trade Commission sought the ban on the widely-known ads of cartoon figure Joe Camel, which the agency claims lured young people to emulate his “cool” and “smooth” image by taking up smoking or switching to the Camel brand.12 Furthermore, all outdoor advertising of tobacco products, including billboards and outside store signs; all products with Tobacco logos (Joe Camel, Winston, Marlboro, et.), such as sweatshirts, hiking gear, jackets, T-shirts, duffel bags, lighters; all brand name tobacco sponsorships including tennis matches, sporting events, car races, boxing matches, will all be outlawed.13 All these bans amount to violations of free speech.
Robert Habush, a lawyer who represented the state of Wisconsin in its Medical lawsuit, said “Industry can stop advertising to teen-teenagers any time it likes. If they are giving up the right to do something that they shouldn’t be doing in the first place, that doesn’t sound like a big concession.”14 Prohibition of the free speech inherent in advertising is now considered a right tobacco companies must concede. But no matter what the consensus is of its moral implications, tobacco advertisements “targeting” teenagers should not be unlawful. To prohibit the companies’ legitimate advertisements are a violation of individual rights. To the crusaders, however, free speech is subordinate to the “good cause” of “protecting children.”
|This provision holds that tobacco companies must be responsible for any diseases caused by smoking not currently known. But if currently unknown, then on what grounds are the companies to be held “responsible” for these “possible” diseases?|
The recent settlement holds that the tobacco companies will only be liable if they sold an adulterated product, if a smoker’s injury resulted from a violation of federal regulation or if it was found that smoking caused diseases not currently associated with smoking.15 The first provision would apply to the sale of any product since the sale of anything adulterated is unjust. The second provision means that tobacco companies can be sued based on the vast number of the unjust, non-objective regulations forced on them; while the last provision exemplifies the irrationality that such regulations are based on. This provision holds that tobacco companies must be responsible for any diseases caused by smoking not currently known. But if currently unknown, then on what grounds are the companies to be held “responsible” for these “possible” diseases? On the grounds that they are expected to possess the impossible: omniscience. This a precedent ripe for future regulations. This is where the non-objective ideas of statism lead. And that the tobacco companies agreed to that provision demonstrates best their inability to defend and save themselves.
Former FDA commissioner David Kessler, The New York Times reports, “said that he was skeptical that the proposed settlement would be strong enough to force the tobacco makers to act against their own self-interest [my italics] by selling fewer cigarettes.”16 Matthew Myers “would like to see the end of the war over smoking, compensation for those who are ill and a new era, where the tobacco industry worked to curtail smoking rather than encourage it.”17
|Health activists and anti-tobacco crusaders have every right to try to persuade individuals to curtail, stop, or not start smoking. They have no right to force their ideals on tobacco companies by imposing on them non-objective laws and regulations, and thus forcing them to act against their self-interest.|
This last claim, referring to the provisions in the settlement that demand tobacco companies to fund a nationwide anti-smoking campaign and to assume responsibility for a mandated degree of decline in teenage smoking or else face further lawsuits, is like asking McDonald’s to encourage people to curtail their hamburger consumption. It seeks the tobacco companies’ intellectual and legal self-disarmament, which would thereby prevent a “war”, i.e., self-defense, and cause their slow suicide — all according to whatever whims the anti-crusaders demand with government backing . It is not the tobacco companies, or any businesses, responsibility to compensate others for any harm they voluntarily incurred, nor to encourage others not to consume their gods. Health activists and anti-tobacco crusaders have every right to try to persuade individuals to curtail, stop, or not start smoking. They have no right to force their ideals on tobacco companies by imposing on them non-objective laws and regulations, and thus forcing them to act against their self-interest.
How did these injustices toward the tobacco companies reach these recent precedents? It is not primarily because of the anti-tobacco crusaders but of the tobacco companies’ appeasement of them. It is the predominant non-objective and statist ideas that underlie our culture — of which the owners and heads of the tobacco companies adopt and thereby intellectually and morally disarm themselves with when their rational self-interest and individual rights must be defended. The lesson they refuse to learn is that when they compromises fundamental principles , such as individual rights, for a “settlement” and hold this as “practical,” they are only appeasing the unjust and setting precedent for future regulations that will cause their ultimate destruction. Like many businessmen, they fail to think long-range, yet it is their long-range survival that they feel will emerge from such compromises. This is their gravest mistake. So long as they evade the destruction caused by their compromises, unjust regulations and laws will be allowed to mutate uninhibitedly — with the end of the road being the cliff of tobacco’s prohibition
|How did these injustices toward the tobacco companies reach these recent precedents? It is not primarily because of the anti-tobacco crusaders but of the tobacco companies’ appeasement of them.|
John Coale revealed the essence of the crusade against the tobacco industry when he said, “These cases were a gun to their heads. Now the industry has to prove its good faith.”18 Matt Moore told Newsweek “If the lawsuits kept going the companies would have gone Chapter 11 but come back clean as Clorox. Those who say you should never deal with the Devil have their heads in the sand.”19 The consensus that the tobacco companies should have never been settled with, that they, not the anti-tobacco crusaders or the government, are the evildoers, is a most telling sign that the moral atmosphere is ripe for the crusaders to successfully destroy the tobacco industry.
The tobacco industry, forced at gunpoint to “negotiate” on lawsuits that, in reality, should never exist, decided not to consistently uphold and defend their individual rights but to sacrifice them for a compromise with their antagonistic practitioners of illogic, thereby strengthening the upper hand of such irrationalists. The tobacco companies have again decided to face in the future, as the past proves, a host of new accusations and lawsuits that threaten to destroy them. Yet they are largely held as the evildoers, as the Devil never to be compromised with, and who are expected to contritely prove their good “faith” at gunpoint. After all these injustices perpetrated against them, they are held as the Devil who emerged as “clean as Clorox;” — i.e., unpunished.
“Negotiations of this size and scope create compromise, not perfection. But on balance this plan is preferable to the continuation of a decades-long controversy that has failed to produce a constructive outcome for anyone.” That statement was released jointly by Philip Morris Cos., RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., BAT Industries PLC, the British parent of Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., and Loews Corp., which owns Lorillard Tobacco Co. Because they are philosophically incapable of consistently upholding and presenting a case of rational self- interest and individual rights, the tobacco companies dare not say, nor fully admit to themselves, that they have been dealing with the Devil. When drama critic Robert Benchley was once warned that drinking is “slow death”, he replied, “So who’s in a hurry.” The same rationalization of compromising with evil — of compromising reality’s facts — will slowly bring the tobacco companies to an early, unnecessary death.
1) USA Today (6/3/97); 2) Ibid.; 3) The True State of The Planet, by Ronald Bailey, p.146; 4) Michael Fumento’s Web Page www.his.com/~calert/Fumento/ ; 5) Time magazine (5/5/97); 6) A paraphrase of a statement made by Dr. Leonard Peikoff on his radio show (9/16/96); 7) The New York Times (4/24/97); 8) Time magazine (4/28/97); 9) The New York Times (6/30/97); 10) The National Smokers Alliance’s Web Page www.speak up.org/ ; 11) M. Fumento’s Web Page; 12) The New York Times; 13) Association of Objectivist Businessmen News Brief (6/25/97); 14) The New York Times; 15) The New York Times; 16 & 17) The New York Times 18) Time magazine ; 19) Newsweek (6/30/97)