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How Smoking Bans Serve the Corporatocracy

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Message John Jonik

We are often told of things on the plus side of smoking bans. We hear about clean air, protecting workers, protecting the kids, nicer breath, non-smelly clothes and hair, fewer heart attacks, lower public health costs, and so on. You'd think the smoking ban movement was a rare leftie success story. But many other pluses, rarely if ever mentioned, would not be seen in a positive light by the left. It's a good idea to look at things in a balanced way, from both sides, and to be suspicious of claims of "pluses" that come from commercial media and from public officials who are so well-funded by and otherwise in cahoots with private industry, including parts of the cigarette cartel.

It is time to list just some of the smoke-ban pluses that somehow are not announced publicly.

- The smoking ban crusade distracts from cigarette makers' contamination of products with residues any of hundreds of pesticides registered for tobacco use. That's a big plus for cigarette makers. The many tobacco pesticide providers (including pharmaceutical firms that also make tobacco pesticides) see this as a plus as well. They've evaded questioning, indictments, and seriously bad PR.

- The bans distract from the contamination of typical cigarettes with cancer-causing radiation (PO-210) from use of certain still legal phosphate fertilizers. The entire radiation industry sees this as a plus because rads are not, once again, given a bad name.

- The bans and the "crackdowns" on unwitting victims and utterly non-complicit bar and restaurant owners and the like, distract from the still legal use of any of about 1400 untested, often toxic non-tobacco cigarette additives.

- They distract from the decades of the "legal", government-approved, use of added burn accelerants in cigarettes despite all the fires, injuries and deaths. Burn accelerants speed up use of a cigarette, and help increase usage, sales, and "sin tax" revenues.

- Bans distract from the issue of still "legal" added sweet, flavorful, aromatic and soothing substances (none tested for safety) in cigarettes that serve to attract young people to the products. Bans distract from the little matter that pharmaceuticals (ostensible "health care" industries) provide some of those additives---preservatives, humectants, artificial sweeteners, flavors, aromas, etc.

- The ban crusade gives public officials responsible for allowing all of that a chance to don the halo of concern about health even as they accept funding, personal income, and jobs from many parts of the cigarette industry such as pesticides, chlorine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, paper-pulp, etc., and their insurers and investors. (There are many non-tobacco agricultural parts of typical cigarettes, and top for-profit health insurers invest billions, with a "b", in cigarette manufacturers.)

- Pesticide and chlorine firms see the whole anti-smoking crusade as a plus because if one is sickened or killed by pesticides or dioxin-creating chlorine or any industrial toxin or carcinogen in a typical cigarette or elsewhere, and if the person happens to smoke or live with a smoker, the blame can be put on "smoking", the behavior of individuals. It is a plus for those industries to have so many scapegoats. To blame "smoking" is to blame the victims. To correctly blame Manufacturing Technologies is to blame the perpetrators and their enablers in government.

- The bans are a plus for many government and industrial wrongdoers as the population has been purposefully fractured into two camps--for or against "smoking". There is less likelihood of outrage and rebellion and public unity against mass contamination of consumer products. The topic of criminally inhumane contamination of cigarettes or foods or air and water and other products and substances is kept out of the discussion. Those who prefer to keep the public divided---black vs. white, Anglo vs. Latino, middle class vs. lower class, pro vs. anti smoking, etc.---have found a plus in this smoking brouhaha.

- It's all a plus for corporate media that rarely if ever work to protect the public from corporate toxins and carcinogens or other risky and harmful products. Media can, like the sold-out officials, look as if they care, but generally they only get upset about the "lifestyles" of individuals, not about the "lifestyles" of corporate criminals.

- The bans benefit the corporate establishment because they expose, demonize, isolate, and discredit those who do not robotically heed bogus illegitimate government warnings, advice, and even laws. Smokers have been made into the infidels in the corporate religion.

- Bans are a plus for pharmaceutical firms that hope to eradicate the public domain tobacco plant to replace it with patented drugs for appetite suppression, alertness, digestive relief, stress relief, and even symptomatic relief for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Natural drugs, like cannabis and tobacco and others, simply are not as profitable. Indeed, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an adjunct of big chlorine-using and synthetic nicotine-delivery-product-manufacturing Pharm, Johnson and Johnson, is in the forefront of "smoking bans". We essentially have Big Chlorine fighting a Chlorine-Drenched product, but failing to mention that it is such. RWJF calls it "tobacco" just as the cigarette industry does.

- Bans are great for insurance firms that can charge smokers more for premiums, or outright deny them coverage. That some of those insurers own billions of dollars of investments in cigarette manufacturing and cigarette ingredients suppliers is an integral issue, though rarely mentioned.

- Bans are good for the cigarette makers who face no bans on putting known deadly substances in cigarettes, and who are happy to pass the cost of "tobacco settlements" along to their customers, their victims, via price hikes. Another plus--if a cig maker can sell one pack for four times (or more) the previous cost, even if three out of four people quit smoking, the cig makers profit better than ever.

- Bans are a boon for rights-ignoring police who, what with bans on smoking in cars with kids, can arbitrarily pull over and search more people, especially those of the wrong race or with wrong bumper stickers.

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Long time activist in areas relating to industrial toxics, media content and control, death penalty, Mumia Abu-Jamal, hemp prohibition, civil rights, insurance influence in public governing, religious influence in public governing, unsafe foods, (more...)
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