Wednesday, September 26, 2007
It drives me crazy that tobacco farmers are subsidized by our government and that tobacco makers have targeted other countries to pick up the slack of decreased cigarette smoking in the United States.
The 2007 farm bill was passed in July and continues the 75 year tradition of tobacco subsidies. As the tobacco farmers line up for government handouts, the Wall Street Journal reports:
"Nationwide, the tobacco crop has been rebounding. Today there are 355,000 acres under cultivation — still down from the 408,000 acres in 2004, but on the rise. Some farmers reinvested their buyout cash in their tobacco operations. In big tobacco-producing states such as Kentucky, and in smaller ones like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, many tobacco farmers are enjoying renewed prosperity. Tobacco production in Pennsylvania has more than doubled since 2004. In Illinois, production has gone from practically none to at least 1,000 acres."
At the same time as our tax dollars are used for growing tobacco, scientists from UCLA published an article in AM. J Public Health that showed more than 100 cigarette additives have pharmacological actions that are detrimental to human health. Some of the additives camouflage the odor of cigarette tobacco smoke and enhance nicotine delivery. Other additives contain chemicals that can make it easier for cigarette smoke to penetrate the lungs - possibly increasing the addictiveness.
They even found chemicals that anesthetize the smoker and make it easier to avoid coughing.
Enough is enough. Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death.
Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.
Although 70% of smokers want to quit and 35% attempt to quit each year, fewer than 5% succeed. The addictive properties of cigarettes rival cocaine and heroin.
It is a schizophrenic society that subsidizes tobacco growing, has no oversight or regulation on what goes into cigarettes and then cries about the rising cost of health care when those very cigarettes are the main cause of cancer and death. Hmmmmm.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 9:56 PM