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Old Jun 18, 2014, 05:59 AM   #1
Felasco
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480,000 Deaths A Year

According to the CDC, 480,000 people die each year from tobacco use.

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_stat...index.htm#cigs

Imagine that I coded some Mac software, and when used as directed it killed 480,000 people every year. Imagine that I know in advance that this will happen. Imagine that I'm already very very rich, and that I'm willing to see more Mac users die so that I can get even richer.

Ok sure, agreed, nobody has to download and install my iDeath software, and it's their own fault if they do. Ideally, everybody would just stop using my software.

But imagine that I'm a savvy ruthless developer. I know that as human beings we're all subject to weakness and occasional stupidity, and I intend to exploit that weakness for every single nickel it's worth.

In this imaginary scenario, how long would it be before the entire Mac community rose up against me in outrage and began fiercely fighting back? About ten minutes, right?

After all, we live in a society today where lots of people love to be outraged about lots of things, and we love to point the moralizing finger and condemn. And it seems every other person is an activist of some sort or another.

Isn't it truly amazing how much the tobacco companies get away with?

Most people today, even many religious people, think of the Devil as a mythical figure. I'm beginning to wonder about that. How about you?
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 06:04 AM   #2
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How many people die every year down to alcohol?

And also how many people are born each year thanks to alcohol?
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 06:07 AM   #3
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And also how many people are born each year thanks to alcohol?
Ha, ha! Good point. We should definitely have another thread about Booze Babies.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 06:15 AM   #4
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Am I correct in thinking that the tobacco industry helped build America to what it is today? If so, then banning the industry may be a tough choice. The biggest argument being, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink.

Now if your iDeath software was a big hit for the App Store and really helped put Apple's devices on the map, I doubt Apple would be keen to block it.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 06:27 AM   #5
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Am I correct in thinking that the tobacco industry helped build America to what it is today?
Hmm, let's see, that would probably be the slave trade business.

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Now if your iDeath software was a big hit for the App Store and really helped put Apple's devices on the map, I doubt Apple would be keen to block it.
And I thought I was cynical about Apple!

But your larger point it taken. Governments at various levels now earn big bucks from tobacco taxes, and may in the process of being co-opted by the tobacco companies.

What would I do if the tobacco companies would pay me 10 million a year to not write posts like this? No, let's not go there, too scary....
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 07:27 AM   #6
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People talk about legalising drugs in the US. We have. This is the result.

(Anybody willing to venture a guess at how many die from tobacco-related illness in the developing world, which is where Big Tobacco is focusing its marketing as people in developed countries wise up and smoke less? Hint: world-wide we'll soon see a per-day casualty rate from tobacco that will equal that of WWII)
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 07:35 AM   #7
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Anybody willing to venture a guess at how many die from tobacco-related illness in the developing world, which is where Big Tobacco is focusing its marketing as people in developed countries wise up and smoke less?
That's a very good point, thank you for contributing this question.

You are so right to ask your question, given that the death toll listed in the title of this thread is actually only the tip of the iceberg, as that number refers to deaths in the United States only, a country with only 5-6% of the world's population.

What's so puzzling is how little outrage there is, given the scale of the tobacco companies negative impact. As example, Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans, one time, and we spent trillions of dollars in response to that. The hunt for bin Laden himself probably cost a billion or more.

The tobacco companies kill 160 times as many people as bin Laden, each and every year, for decades.

It really makes you wonder how we decide what to get worked up about. Logic doesn't seem to have much to do with it.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 08:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Felasco View Post
That's a very good point, thank you for contributing this question.

You are so right to ask your question, given that the death toll listed in the title of this thread is actually only the tip of the iceberg, as that number refers to deaths in the United States only, a country with only 5-6% of the world's population.

What's so puzzling is how little outrage there is, given the scale of the tobacco companies negative impact. As example, Osama bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans, one time, and we spent trillions of dollars in response to that. The hunt for bin Laden himself probably cost a billion or more.

The tobacco companies kill 160 times as many people as bin Laden, each and every year, for decades.

It really makes you wonder how we decide what to get worked up about. Logic doesn't seem to have much to do with it.
Because it's ones free choice to smoke.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 09:08 AM   #9
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Hmm, let's see, that would probably be the slave trade business.
My impression is that prior to the US Civil War, the North was substantially more wealthy than the South so does this statement hold up?
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 09:11 AM   #10
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My impression is that prior to the US Civil War, the North was substantially more wealthy than the South so does this statement hold up?
Yes, the North was more wealthy than the south at the time, and still is today.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 09:33 AM   #11
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Yes, the North was more wealthy than the south at the time, and still is today.
I was countering the premise that slavery made the US great.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 10:15 AM   #12
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I was countering the premise that slavery made the US great.
Tobacco has enslaved the health of a great many people, admittedly with their initial cooperation. After the initial decision, the picture becomes murkier.

As we all know, the tobacco companies have gone to extensive lengths for years to make their product highly addictive (and then lied about that repeatedly). So it's not just that they make a product that people enjoy too much, because a great many smokers (don't know the percentage) would like to quit but can't.

It's not appropriate or accurate to use the word slavery to describe this process. But we do need another similar word to describe a more modern and sophisticated way some corporations (and criminal gangs) take control of our economic output, with ruthless disregard for the impact on us.

The tobacco companies are like the Columbian drug cartels who attempted to buy the government with their enormous profits, the only difference being the tobacco companies have been far more successful at legitimizing themselves, and their product is far more deadly.

Anyway, sorry to rant on so, but it really is amazing what the tobacco companies have been able to pull off. They're killing a half million Americans a year, and many more around the world, it's all perfectly legal, and we in the public rarely find it worth commenting on.

Life can be so strange...
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 10:28 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Felasco View Post
Tobacco has enslaved the health of a great many people, admittedly with their initial cooperation. After the initial decision, the picture becomes murkier.

As we all know, the tobacco companies have gone to extensive lengths for years to make their product highly addictive (and then lied about that repeatedly). So it's not just that they make a product that people enjoy too much, because a great many smokers (don't know the percentage) would like to quit but can't.

It's not appropriate or accurate to use the word slavery to describe this process. But we do need another similar word to describe a more modern and sophisticated way some corporations (and criminal gangs) take control of our economic output, with ruthless disregard for the impact on us.

The tobacco companies are like the Columbian drug cartels who attempted to buy the government with their enormous profits, the only difference being the tobacco companies have been far more successful at legitimizing themselves, and their product is far more deadly.

Anyway, sorry to rant on so, but it really is amazing what the tobacco companies have been able to pull off. They're killing a half million Americans a year, and many more around the world, it's all perfectly legal, and we in the public rarely find it worth commenting on.

Life can be so strange...
"Slave trade"- if you were referring to nicotine addicts all along, the term confused me. Tobacco was a cash crop, but just part of the wealth of North America that helped the development of North America.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 10:31 AM   #14
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... What's so puzzling is how little outrage there is, given the scale of the tobacco companies negative impact. ...
There has been a great deal of outrage expressed and regulation imposed on the tobacco industry over the past few decades.

And as a result of public education and condemnation, the smoking rate has been steadily going down.

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Self-reported adult smoking peaked in 1954 at 45%, and remained at 40% or more through the early 1970s, but has since gradually declined. The average rate of smoking across the decades fell from 40% in the 1970s to 32% in the 1980s, 26% in the 1990s, and 24% since 2000.



http://www.gallup.com/poll/109048/US...ming-Down.aspx
As someone who was born in 1960, I've seen over the years a great deal of condemnation hurled at the tobacco industry and many public campaigns to stop smoking. I agree that the problem still demands our continued attention, but I just wanted to assure you that awareness of the issue has been going on for quite some time.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 10:37 AM   #15
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Because it's ones free choice to smoke.
YES, but they still received health care , if they wish to slowly kill themselves, why should the also drain society of medical care due to their own "choice"?
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 10:47 AM   #16
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How many people die every year down to alcohol?
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Originally Posted by VulchR View Post
People talk about legalising drugs in the US. We have. This is the result.
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There has been a great deal of outrage expressed and regulation imposed on the tobacco industry over the past few decades.
I actually think that the U.S. needs a "Vice" amendment. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, prostitution, are all harmful. But, the war on drugs, alcohol (during Prohibition), and prostitution are also harmful. I think a Constitutional Amendment needs to be passed that specifically exempts advertising for these products from the First Amendment.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 10:49 AM   #17
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Because it's ones free choice to smoke.
Are you being sarcastic?

People's choices don't exist in a vacuum - they are a function of class, social ties, and more. In other words, 'choice' is entirely spurious - we can explain who smokes and why without having to use the concept of 'choice'. If we take a population and change its circumstances we know that rates of smoking will change predictably as well. Yeah, people make choices, but those choices are constrained and determined (especially for something habitual like smoking), so the invocation of 'choice' explains very little and helps even less.

Even if it's one's 'free choice' to start smoking we know that cigarettes result in dependency, which means it's not one's 'free' choice to continue smoking. And what do you know, it's continued smoking which results in the greatest harms.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:06 AM   #18
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Are you being sarcastic?

People's choices don't exist in a vacuum - they are a function of class, social ties, and more. In other words, 'choice' is entirely spurious - we can explain who smokes and why without having to use the concept of 'choice'. If we take a population and change its circumstances we know that rates of smoking will change predictably as well. Yeah, people make choices, but those choices are constrained and determined (especially for something habitual like smoking), so the invocation of 'choice' explains very little and helps even less.

Even if it's one's 'free choice' to start smoking we know that cigarettes result in dependency, which means it's not one's 'free' choice to continue smoking. And what do you know, it's continued smoking which results in the greatest harms.
so how do you explain those who do NOT smoke ? its a CHOICE.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:20 AM   #19
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so how do you explain those who do NOT smoke ? its a CHOICE.
We can predict people who don't smoke the same way - their socioeconomic status, family structure, social ties, and so on. I thought that would have been obvious.

Anyway, caps isn't an argument, nor is repeating yourself. Maybe you could explain to everyone why people make the choices they do (and lo and behold, you'll find that those choices are a function of some antecedent cause).
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:23 AM   #20
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Because it's ones free choice to smoke.
Free choice to smoke what?
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:35 AM   #21
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We can predict people who don't smoke the same way - their socioeconomic status, family structure, social ties, and so on. I thought that would have been obvious.

Anyway, caps isn't an argument, nor is repeating yourself. Maybe you could explain to everyone why people make the choices they do (and lo and behold, you'll find that those choices are a function of some antecedent cause).
sorry, I disagree, people chose to smoke, they even chose to quit smoking as they see fit. my mom smokes & a few of my brothers smoked, I never smoked and some of my brothers decided to quit smoking, its a simple choice one makes.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:36 AM   #22
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Because it's ones free choice to smoke.
Is it? Perhaps when one begins to smoke, but after long term exposure the picture is less clear. Long term relapse into drug taking is higher in smokers than in users of heroin.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:38 AM   #23
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Is it? Perhaps when one begins to smoke, but after long term exposure the picture is less clear. Long term relapse into drug taking is higher in smokers than users of heroin.
AND the people who quit managed to do so why? all my brothers quit, my FIL quit. I know plenty who quit.
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:43 AM   #24
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AND the people who quit managed to do so why? all my brothers quit, my FIL quit. I know plenty who quit.
Mark Twain stated that quitting smoking was the easiest thing he ever did - he'd done it a thousand times. Talk to me when you have done a proper followup study over years.... you might find that those that 'quit' will return to smoking ....
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Old Jun 18, 2014, 11:43 AM   #25
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sorry, I disagree, people chose to smoke, they even chose to quit smoking as they see fit. my mom smokes & a few of my brothers smoked, I never smoked and some of my brothers decided to quit smoking, its a simple choice one makes.
And the bold is why you'll never understand. I challenge you to drink nothing but water and eat nothing but fruits and veggies for a year, then come back and say it's a simple choice. Most smokers were enticed from their teen years and most find it hard to quit.
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