Friday, September 07, 2007

Reynolds Tobacco Bankrolling Campaign Against Children's Health Care

In Oregon, Reynolds American, the big tobacco company that produces as much as 1/3 of all cigarettes sold in the U.S., is bankrolling an effort to prevent voters from passing a constitutional change ballot measure intended to increase cigarette taxes to make companies like Reynolds pay for part of the huge public health crisis and costs that they create with their secondhand cigarette smoke.

Medical documentation clearly implicates cigarettes as responsible for causing Sudden Infant Death in small infants, Otitis Media(middle ear infection) in children, often resulting in ear tube surgery, and epidemic of childhood asthma. or even cancer and emphysema. Yet Reynolds American doesn't believe that they should pay the bill for any of this public health problem that they create.

In their propaganda TV ads, Reynolds claims that HMOs will profit from any increase in cigarette taxes meant to pay for some of the medical problems that they creaste. Wait a minute. Because children require a doctor's visit or a trip to the hospital emergency room due to a potentially fatal asthma attack caused by the secondhand smoke from from a Reynolds American produced cigarette, then Reynolds should not pay the bill? That makes a lot of sense, doesn't it. Reynolds fails to post any warning on their cigarettes about the threat of secondhand smoke to children including death to infants by SIDS. Isn't this pure product negligence and grounds for injury and wrongful death suits by nonsmokers?

Cigarette makers have been accused for years of manipulating the nicotine levels and adding products into their cigaretes to make them more addictive so that people would find it very difficult to stop smoking. Nicotine is just as addictive as heroin according to medical experts. Reynolds does everything possible to create a demand for their product by selling something with a highly addictive drug in it.

The executives at Reynolds also profit by preying on some vulnerable persons to make profits. An estimated 80% of persons with diagnosed mental illness are smokers according to some experts. And among alcohol or other drug addicts, cigarette smoking is very high. Smoking becomes a chain around some of poorest of Americans, trapping them into further poverty and serious health related issues and costs. An estimated 50% of all smokers will eventually die from their drug addiction. And many nonsmokers have their quality of life destroyed from secondhand smoke as well.

While toymakers withdraw toys from the marketplace because of some lead content in the paint, Reynolds and other cigarette manufacturers continue to market cigarettes that put lead into the bodies of smokers and nonusers alike through secondhand smoke air pollution. Secondhand cigarette smoke involves as many as 4,000 pollutants including heavy metals such as lead, nickel and cadmium.

Reynolds is also concerned that any increase in cigarette taxes will cut their sales and demand for their deadly products. Good, it should. Any way to discourage persons from becoming nicotine drug addicts is good for society.

Reynolds needs to be held reponsible for at least part of outrageous medical costs to health insurance and society from the deadly products that they produce. These death merchants need to pay part of the huge cost to society that they create. And children are some of the most victimized by these drug pushers from big tobacco.