Here is a story is about an Australian oncologist who, dismayed at the damage that she saw “Tobacco” doing to her patients, was horrified to find out that her medical institution held “Tobacco” company stock as part of its investment portfolio.
Well, she set to work, she did, and although the gruff, cynical world of big money managers was skeptical at first, this plucky, photogenic Australian Oncologist has managed to create a very successful “Tobacco-free Portfolio” movement worldwide.
The article is chock full of feel-good quotes from financial wizards who were absolutely bowled over by the moral and ethical intensity of the Aussie doc’s arguments, and her ghastly photos of diseased lungs, and now they are 100% on board with her in shunning the “Tobacco” industry’s stocks in their portfolios.
The problem here is emblematic of the failure of anti-“tobacco” movements to even begin to identify who and what they need to be attacking. The core of the problem is that the industry has so completely propagandized people and institutions at all levels that most people actually believe that it is Tobacco killing all those people who die from smoking cigarettes.
While these movements and lawsuits and non-profit (sic) campaigns are all aimed at “Tobacco”, that plague-like carrier of the dreaded addictive nicotine toxin that destroys lives and stalks children, the industry slides right by because its products have almost nothing at all to do with Tobacco anymore. 100% of the attacks against the industry based on the assumption that its products are “Tobacco” are virtually meaningless and a complete waste of hope, energy, and money.
Almost all US cigarette brands are up to 100% recycled waste with nicotine added in precise dosages. Does anyone who reflects for even a few seconds believe that it would be possible to manufacture billions of cigarettes from natural plant material and be able to print the precise amount of tar and nicotine on every pack? The amount of nicotine varies so much from field to field, from plant to plant, and from leaf to leaf that even if they were using actual Tobacco leaf they couldn’t control the amount of “Nicotine & Tar” without doing some major processing.
The only way the industry can achieve uniformity is to produce a synthetic product, and in fact the industry does just that, by the millions of tons each year. The industry calls it “synthetic smoking materials” or, in a more colorful (and unconsciously accurate) industry term, “sheet tobacco”. That’s what it is – recycled waste processed into sheet of material that are then shaved, infused with precise amounts of hundreds of chemicals including nicotine, and then shaved into little curls and made into cigarettes. Anyone who knows the industry is laughing at the “Ammonia” lawsuit. Sure Ammonia is used in manufacturing “tobacco sheet” – huge amounts of it. But it isn’t “added” to the material, it’s used in a super-cooled process to puff it up after its been shaved into little curls so that it will look and smoke more like real leaf. The Ammonia is long-gone by the time those little ciggys are all packaged up and ready to be inhaled by some poor idiot who really is being deceived, manipulated, injured and murdered as a result of deliberate, profit-driven decisions of this industry.
If the 2016 US “Tobacco” industry were to be a startup industry with no history, and it came to even the highly-manipulated US regulators with the products it currently makes and proposed to make those products, they would not only be denied they would probably be arrested as terrorists.
But after many decades of very expensive and well-crafted propaganda, this industry now has even those who see it clearly as committing crimes against humanity led unknowingly to be aggrieved at “Tobacco” and to spend all their energy and resources attacking the “Tobacco industry”.
I’m afraid that for the most part anti-“Tobacco” people are useful idiots. They aren’t stupid, or foolish, or wrong in what they are trying to do. Bless them. However, they are being so effectively manipulated that they are the “Tobacco” industry’s most ardent defenders when it comes to anyone trying to point out the error of their “anti-Tobacco” ways.
In the 1980s I had written a four-part expose of the “Tobacco industry” at the request of a senior editor with the Nader organization, and just before that series was to begin publication, a senior member of Nader’s Board, a well-known “anti-Tobacco” physician, said (as my editor told me) that they had spent so many years convincing people that Tobacco was the worst possible thing for their health that they weren’t going to publish anything that might suggest that it might not be the Tobacco that’s the problem at all.
This industry is completely protected at the institutional/governmental level, and it seems that all of the “anti-Tobacco” movements in the world have also been effectively co-opted.
This industry has been earning more real wealth than any other tightly-held industry in the world for generations and that wealth has gone into ownership of hundreds of companies in every industry and every financial sector in the world. So as sincere and well-motivated as our Australian Oncologist is, I’m afraid that the hideous damage she sees in her “Tobacco” smoking patients has little or nothing to do with Tobacco, and the so-called “Tobacco” companies are fully divested out of range of any possible legal or regulatory action.
Many of those hundreds of companies owned by “Tobacco” money are consumer products, food, transportation, retail and leisure companies that advertise heavily in every medium. So any story about any strategy that had even a remote chance of actually harming the interests that profit directly or indirectly from the slaughter would not make it into any medium that relies on advertising. Stories that are really dangerous to the “tobacco” industry somehow don’t make it through the media screening process. And there’s not a whiff of “tobacco” anywhere in the room where the decision is made to kill the story at the editorial level – they’ve simply heard from a few of their best retailer and consumer products advertisers. I have personally seen this happen.
So you can be that the “Tobacco industry” isn’t worried about the “Tobacco-free Portfolio” movement one bit.
Divesting “Tobacco” company stock as a means to rein in their murderous behavior is worse than ineffective – it makes people feel that they are actually accomplishing something. No portfolio manager could divest of every stock and bond connected to every company owned by “Tobacco” money – there wouldn’t be many stocks or bonds left to own.
But you can’t even scratch the “Tobacco” industry by selling off its stocks. However, the industry still puts on a good show for the quixotic victors whenever someone like our plucky Aussie Oncologist does appear.
It fights and fights and then gives up and wails and gnashes its teeth – just like it did with the “big” Tobacco Liability settlements a few years ago. “Oh stop, stop. Here, take a few billion dollars. You’ve got us. We give up. We’ll do better from now on.”
We’ve all heard it and seen it and while a lot of us know it’s just an act very few of us can see what a truly well-crafted act it is. This act cost hundreds of millions, probably billions of dollars and decades to craft to perfection. The industry has been hiring the best behavior modification scientists in the world for decades, along with thousands of other scientists in many other disciplines, either directly or through hidden sponsorship with “research grants”. The industry almost has a 100% effective mindset in place at all levels of society, and keeping people fixated on “Tobacco” and “Nicotine” is at the core of the strategy.
However, if you have read this far you are one of the people that the “Tobacco” industry really, really hopes will just shrug your shoulders and walk away. Oh well, it’s all true but what can be done about it?
I do have a small suggestion. A class action lawsuit that actually identifies a class of cigarette smokers that consists of people who have been damaged by this industry in specific ways by cigarette products based on a specific, broad and deep knowledge ON THE PART OF THE ATTORNEYS of how the industry operates, would succeed quite nicely and not just in a monetary awards for the plaintiffs. Such a lawsuit could actually lead to meaningful change, if not from the existing “Tobacco” industry then from an alternative heirloom, truly natural Tobacco movement on the local level, perhaps right alongside legalized Cannabis. I don’t believe this kind of legal action has ever been tried, but would love to hear from anyone who knows of such a case.
This industry’s vulnerability is that it is so wealthy, powerful, diversified and protected that it has come to rely completely on its ability to keep on fooling all the people all the time. This industry believes that it controls all of the rules of the game that it has us all playing. And Rule #1 is that we all agree that Tobacco and Nicotine are the problems. So, all together now …..
This industry is pure psychosis in institutional form.