Smokefree DC is a citizen-based group whose goal is to promote smokefree environments in Washington, DC.

“The industry should hold its board meetings in an alley”

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen today wrote one of the best pieces I have ever read about the evil nature of the tobacco industry and the culpability of the top brass in hundreds of thousands of deaths and cases of illness.

I’ve often wondered, as Cohen does in this piece, what the heads of the tobacco companies think when they go to bed at night. Do they feel the slightest bit guilty about the deadly product they are peddling? Do they feel the slightest twinge of doubt about their  companies’ aggressive marketing to impressionable teens — marketing that will lead kids to get hooked on a product that will shorten their lives and make their final days pure misery? Do they?

In this piece, Cohen suggests that the heads of the big tobacco companies have their photos on cigarette packs so we all know who is responsible. He describes his anger toward the industry, from the perspective of a former smoker:

[T]hey sell the only legal product known to mankind that, if used as directed, might have you spitting blood in the long term and out of wind in the short. For this, they are well paid.

We former smokers are an intolerant lot. We are motivated by regret and rage. We have been suckered and sucker-punched, lied to repeatedly and fooled in our juvenile years into taking a course that we can only partly remedy. The lies of the cigarette industry are legion, and it thrives today because its customers are addicted. The industry should hold its board meetings in an alley.

Hey, putting those photos on cigarette packs just might work. If they knew they likenesses would become ubiquitous, perhaps they would take another job.

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