The Curious Idea of Controlling Tobacco
Did you know there is a scholarly journal calling itself, indeed, Tobacco Control?
The very title shows the wrong-headed approach to the smoking problem: tobacco doesn’t need to be controlled; it needs to be abolished.
In a recent edition there is an editorial and a research paper complaining that the full list of ingredients in cigarettes is not available to the smoking public because such information is protected as a trade secret. This situation, it is said, ‘prevents consumers from receiving information that directly impacts their health.’
Does it really? Suppose consumers had in front of them a detailed list of all the ingredients in cigarettes, what then? Suppose they were aware that cigarettes contain, among many other poisons, acetone, acetic acid, ammonia, arsenic, benzene, butane, cadmium, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hexamine, lead, naphthalene, methanol, nicotine, tar and toluene? (Source: American Lung Association.) Would they change their minds about buying them and thenceforth be non-smokers?
This argument implies that smokers smoke because of ignorance about what cigarettes contain, and if they did know this they would be put off smoking through fear.
In my unhumble opinion this is nonsense. Smokers smoke because of addiction to the poison nicotine, and no matter what information they have about the other ingredients in cigarettes, they feel compelled to go on smoking.
This compulsion, however, can easily be overcome if you go about it in the right way. For a full explanation, see my books.
Text © Gabriel Symonds