Your Tax Dollars At Work

Much like a sub standard employee who every time the boss walks by he shuffles papers around on his desk to portray the mere appearance of industry, our government representatives just completed their orchestrated jihad on smokers, showing all the folks back home that they are johnny on the spot with doing the people’s business:

I know, it is their job to protect us from ourselves, that is what nanny states do.

I guess the old warning label of ,”Don’t smoke, it will kill you” was not clear enough. For those that either can’t read or can’t parse the meaning, pictures will certainly dumb the message down to even the stupidest of folks, and that is all they need, just the facts placed in front of them,now watch those smoker numbers disappear.

“President Obama is committed to protecting our nation’s children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help encourage smokers to quit, and prevent children from smoking,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation’s past, and not our future.”

Is anybody else bugged by this crass attempt at campaigning? Are not their motives pure enough without the injection of Obama, a chain smoker btw, into the mix? Is every new law, bill, or policy now going to have a preamble attached ,”President Obama wants to do this and we think it is a good idea”?

And how delusional, to think that pictures of dead bodies on the pack will somehow dissuade teens from lighting up, if anything it accentuates the risk making it more daring and appealing.

Smoking is a filthy habit, it is expensive and comes with a high risk of death and disease, duh, but can’t the same thing be said about being fat, drinking too much alcohol, parking your fat butt on the couch for prolonged periods, even being outdoors in the sun? I think the government should mandate that all fast food establishments have a life size photo of a 400lb naked woman on all means of entry. All beer bottles/cans must have a still smoldering picture of Ryan Dunn’s car crash (what a Jackass). Couches should also have warning labels, for our protection of course.

It’s not that I begrudge them for looking out for the folks, but don’t we have bigger fish to fry? And how much money did this whole thing cost? Maybe another congressional hearing into the use of steroids in baseball, anything to get attention off of this congress that can’t even manage producing a budget, put a warning label on that.

Comments are closed.

  1. Kimpost

    I don’t think a campaign in itself works all that well, but I do think that the campaign is a sign of societal disapproval. As such, I think we’ll see a long term effect of dropping smoking rates.

    I’m all for it. Namely because I think it’s a pure poison. Unlike alcohol or unhealthy foods, there is no level, where smoking actually becomes beneficial. Couple that with my stance on healthcare (I regard it as an inalienable right), and I think society has a right and an obligation to make sure that smoking is properly warned for. Also, I prefer warnings over bans any day.

    Another thing to do, which could encourage people to quit (or to smoke less), would be to slap a tax on tobacco. I tried to check for US tobacco tax rates, and found that it was a states issue, which figures. New York has a USD 4.35 tax/pack while Missouri has it as low as USD 0.17. Looks like the CDC (or is it the FDA?) still has some lobbying to do.

    Thumb up 0

  2. loserlame

    My Euro friends were rebels, took to rolling their own in defiance of ever-higher fag prices, This was a symbol of societal disapproval. “Death to the government ” Aye, and its goddam free health care, paid for by noble smokers, eh.

    Thumb up 0

  3. richtaylor365 *

    but I do think that the campaign is a sign of societal disapproval.

    How is that new? Since smoking rates have declined each decade for the last 3 decades, since warning labels were required from 1965 on, since cigarette companies can not advertise on TV or billboards, since the simple act of smoking has been outlawed almost everywhere (and in some cities even in your own house) I think it is safe to say that society has disapproved of smoking for a long long time now.

    there is no level, where smoking actually becomes beneficial.

    How about self esteem (looking cool) or that nicotine high, aren’t those benefits?

    and I think society has a right and an obligation to make sure that smoking is properly warned for.

    But we have already been doing that, for almost 50 years now.

    I like the idea of taxing smoking, states do that already, maybe a uniform tax nationwide.

    Along that same vein, I think people that voluntarily put their health at risk, such as smokers and fat people, should pay more for healthcare, fair is fair.

    Thumb up 0

  4. CM

    Of course it’s more than just “people’s business” when it comes to smoking as it affects people anywhere in the vicinity.

    This Australian report suggests that they found a “graphic” campaign had worked quite successfully, and was excellent value for money:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/06/04/1941268.htm

    Evaluation of Australia’s famous ‘Every cigarette is doing you damage’ ad shows that after the first six months of the mass media campaign smoking rates in Australia dropped by 1.4 per cent, representing 190,000 fewer smokers. An economic evaluation has shown that the campaign was excellent value for money and resulted in significant savings to the health system.

    Of course if a government is the one forking out healthcare money, it’s in their interests to try reduce smoking. If a campaign was shown to have reduced smoking in the US, the financial benefits to the government might not be so good if they’re not paying the associated health costs. (And obviously with less smoking there is less tax coming back to the Government coffers).

    Yep, tax it all to hell.

    Thumb up 0

  5. loserlame

    I disagree. Smoking is deeply rooted in rich and ancient cultures; Native Americans smoked peace pipes, for Allahs sake.

    And nicotine is also proven addictive by experts, which makes it the culprit here, not the user who can’t resist imbibing. To cynically tax those who can’t help but crave it is simply unfair.
    If anything, they should get a tax break.

    Thumb up 0

  6. Kimpost

    How about self esteem (looking cool)?

    The sad thing is that I actually DO think it looks cool. I saw a new documentary, with “never-seen-before” footage from the Kennedy assassination the other day, and all the reporters were smoking on the air, constantly. Every single one looked cool.

    Thumb up 0

  7. loserlame

    The people have an obligation to step in and support minorities, so they should be paying to fix a few errant smoker’s problems, such as addiction and peer pressure, the massive for-profit tobacco lobby brainwashing them into spending

    Thumb up 0

  8. Section8

    I think they need to hand out pamphlets of graphic images to anyhow who is about to get an abortion. We do not yet know for certain if the fetus can feel or understand, especially the farther into the pregnancy, so not just the mother is affected. Also, family members may disprove and feel the hurt of loss, so it’s in societies’ best interest to show graphic pictures.

    Also, any fatty food should come with pictures of people with legs chopped of from diabetes, pictures of enlarged hearts, etc. The way to make good parents is to show them how they are killing their young, as no doubt the kid is going to have some junk food from time to time. This is nothing short of child abuse, and since we can’t jail everyone no matter how much we try, propaganda is the next best thing.

    Do you know how many people die in car accidents each year, many due to drivers not paying attention? I think graphic photos of crash victims should come with every GPS and MP3 player, and car owner’s manuals.

    Thumb up 0

  9. loserlame

    I’m oft told that all the proof of everything is on the Internet, handed to us by experts, yet theres still countless abortions and stuff going on.
    That enlightened people today can still reach the point to where abortions “simply must be performed, in our best interests” is whats disappointing to me.

    Thumb up 0

  10. CM

    The sad thing is that I actually DO think it looks cool. I saw a new documentary, with “never-seen-before” footage from the Kennedy assassination the other day, and all the reporters were smoking on the air, constantly. Every single one looked cool.

    LMAO. Indeed.

    Thumb up 0

  11. richtaylor365 *

    One of the perks about living in the US is that we get about a kazillion different channels, one of those that I really like is Turner Classic Movies, I always notice that the old movies (even up to say the 60’s) show almost everyone smoking, it was so natural back then. Given that when I get within 15 feet of a smoker I get nauseous, I honestly don’t know how they did it.

    I think the coolness factor only works with kids, and that window is short. The war on smokers, the costs, the stigma of lighting up (try throwing a lit cigarette out the car window and see how much the fines are) it is thinning out the herd, and only for the better.

    Thumb up 0

  12. HARLEY

    I notice our Libs on here seem to approve of a big governmental push to stop smoking, typical.
    I prefer a more social movement, sorta like MADD or such. Just heap personal disaproval on smokers, and keep at it, there is no reason to involve the Fed Gov.
    Oh this is irony many of those that want to ban tobacco smoking a highly addictive substance want to legalize Marijuana, with is FAR FAR less addictive…..
    I can see it now Mexican tobacco smugglers having a shoot out with boarder patrol agents over their product.

    Thumb up 1

  13. loserlame

    Aye, marijuana, and its far more manly, focused cousin, hashish – preferred by true revolutionaries in Europe – is considered by some pseudo-experts in overseas as “Einstiegsdroge” – “gateway drug to bigger things”.
    Whats more, hashish is an Arab thing.

    Its believed that hashish originated in West Asia, where the cannabis plant was widely available. Northern Pakistan has a long social tradition in the production of hashish, known locally as Charas, which is believed to be the same plant resin as was burned in the ceremonial “booz rooz” of ancient Persia

    Ergo, its a cultural thing. Should we not lobby the far more brotherly Euros to accept Arabs and their traditions as they admonish us to finally accept Mexicans as humans and peers? Legalize hashish, Europe.

    jk – the only thing addictive about marijuana is its deep and rich place in peace and global understanding. And de-criminalizing it would make the entire drug market collapse, leading to lasting peace.

    Thumb up 0

  14. CM

    I notice our Libs on here seem to approve of a big governmental push to stop smoking, typical.

    If we didn’t have public healthcare I probably wouldn’t be as supportive. As explained, if it saves the Govt money than it costs then it makes financial sense.. But then there is also the passive side of it (and if we consider that a negative externality, then why not try to correct the market failure like a good free-marketer).

    Here is an example of a campaign being successful in the US:

    Scientific research has delved into the subject of teen nicotine addiction time and time again. It has been shown that such things as increases in cigarette prices, clean indoor air laws as well as strict advertising restrictions do help to reduce the number of smokers, however by what percentage is not known. It has also been proven that counter-marketing campaigns that seek to destroy many of the myths surrounding cigarettes that make them appealing to teenagers do have an effect on whether smoking is viewed as acceptable or unacceptable amongst the younger set.

    After all most teenagers that start smoking do so because of the glamorous and sophisticated image that is portrayed to them through cigarette advertisements. Smoking is made to look chic and sexy and cool. Smokers in these advertisements appear to be independent and happy people with terrific lives.

    In order to compete with such images, those who wish to send an anti-smoking message to teens must find a brand that appeals to youngsters but also one that provides the truth that smoking advertisers wish to hide. For example it needs to tell teenagers that smoking is a dirty habit that will age you prematurely, destroy your teeth, make your breath stink and make you vulnerable to developing lung cancer and heart disease.

    Such a brand and such a campaign were launched in the state of Florida in 1998 by the American Legacy Foundation. This campaign became known as the Truth Campaign and it was a tremendous success. Analysis of the campaign yielded the result that 20 percent of teenagers who were contemplating starting to smoke never did which led to an estimated 450,000 fewer teenage smokers across the country. Every dollar that was spent on this counter- marketing campaign resulted in six dollars being saved towards future health and medical costs.

    I prefer a more social movement, sorta like MADD or such. Just heap personal disaproval on smokers, and keep at it, there is no reason to involve the Fed Gov.

    Fair enough. I’d be in favour of that if it saves everyone money (and improves health, especially with less passive smoking) and it costs zero tax dollars. But is it really an issue that can gather sufficient momentum on its own to be effective?

    Thumb up 0

  15. loserlame

    After all most teenagers that start smoking do so because of the glamorous and sophisticated image that is portrayed to them through cigarette advertisements. Smoking is made to look chic and sexy and cool. Smokers in these advertisements appear to be independent and happy people with terrific lives

    I call bullshit. We don’t have glamorous ads everywhere anymore.

    In April 1970, Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banning the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio starting on January 2, 1971. The Virginia Slims brand was the last commercial shown, with “a 60-second revue from flapper to Female Lib”, shown at 11:59 p.m. on January 1 during a break on The Tonight Show.] Smokeless tobacco ads, on the other hand, remained on the air until a ban took effect on August 28, 1986. Recently, even further restrictions took effect under the newly enacted Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Effective June 22, 2010, the new regulations prohibit tobacco companies from sponsoring sports, music, and other cultural events. Also, tobacco companies can no longer display their logos or advertise their products on T-shirts, hats, or other apparel

    Not good enough. Euros did it more recently! So they win.

    All tobacco advertising and sponsorship on television has been banned within the European Union since 1991. Many nations, including Russia and Greece, still allow billboards advertising tobacco use. Tobacco smoking is still advertised in special magazines, during sporting events, in gas stations and stores, and in more rare cases on television

    Russkis are the good people, so…

    I blame peer pressure and stupid teens playing outlaw.

    Thumb up 0

  16. richtaylor365 *

    Not that I am quibbling about your position (it is sensible and fairly in line with my own) but from your link:

    However, other research studies on the subject have received more dubious results. Some statistical analysis has discovered merely a tenuous association between the sales of cigarettes and ad campaigns geared towards anti-smoking. These anti-tobacco programs cost a great deal of money to put into play but only bring about a small drop in cigarette sales (less than a pack a year per capita is what the research shows). Some individuals believe that the money and resources used for these campaigns to discourage the practice of smoking would be better off being put towards other kinds of public health policies where the results show more promise.

    The jury is not in on this issue

    My complaints in the post was not so much concerning anti smoking campaigns, I am basically for them if they are well thought out and not too cost prohibitive, but more for hammering our elected officials for putting their time and our money into something that is already working, and why they don’t put that energy into what is really ailing us, the economic malaise. Sure, they will counter with ,”We can walk and chew gum”, and they are suppose to wear many hats, but I see them truant in many of their other more important duties, this seems a side show to me.

    Thumb up 0

  17. Section8

    If we didn’t have public healthcare I probably wouldn’t be as supportive. As explained, if it saves the Govt money than it costs then it makes financial sense..

    And therein lies the hallmark of the left. Force something on the public because it’s for their own good, state the government is paying for it, so now you have to give up certain rights or allow government interference, otherwise the government is a victim of your actions after being so generous to you. What if one doesn’t want government’s healthcare, which society, which means I pay for anyhow, then I have to pay for a campaign ad because I get “free” healthcare which I really pay for.

    Government does not pay for anything. I pay for it, you pay for it. Show me a revenue generator the government has that can pay for all these goodies that doesn’t involve taxing people.

    At the end of the day, one thing the left despises is freedom. Oh the government should run X. Argument against: Well then the government will make you behave a certain way if they run X. Oh that’s just conspiracy talk say the supporters. You’re over exaggerating, and fear mongering.

    Finally: Ok, now that government runs X, let’s make it so you have to behave a certain way, after all the government is paying for it.

    Happens every time.

    Thumb up 0

  18. loserlame

    Aye, and distribution of benefits is far from fair and equal. Many of us schmucks in Germany went to work every day, sober, didn’t smoke, didn’t drink at home or OTJ, etc. but always had to pay for those who called in “sick” Mondays, or left all “sick” early Friday afternoons, or came to work inebriated and hung over after a weekend of manly activities, or wrecked on the way home from some badass party.

    I was suspected to be an alcoholic because I never drank beer OJT (and I cussed far too much to be deemed religious), which is legal where real men work

    Thumb up 0

  19. CM

    And therein lies the hallmark of the left. Force something on the public because it’s for their own good, state the government is paying for it, so now you have to give up certain rights or allow government interference, otherwise the government is a victim of your actions after being so generous to you. What if one doesn’t want government’s healthcare, which society, which means I pay for anyhow, then I have to pay for a campaign ad because I get “free” healthcare which I really pay for.

    I’m not advocating forcing something on people because it’s for their own good. I’m saying that if we are going to have public healthcare, then I want to make sure we get value for money. If a quit smoking campaign works and saves more money than it costs, that makes sense to me.
    No rights are given up, the system here (in New Zealand) is already public (although we have a private system as well – if I get sick I’ve got a choice of public or private).

    Government does not pay for anything. I pay for it, you pay for it. Show me a revenue generator the government has that can pay for all these goodies that doesn’t involve taxing people.

    Yes yes I’m very aware that the Government primarily gets it’s revenue via taxes. By saying ‘the Govt pays for it’ I’m just differentiating between a privately funded campaign and a Govt funded campaign.

    At the end of the day, one thing the left despises is freedom.

    Well you’d consider me to be on the left and I don’t despise freedom, so perhaps you mean “some on the left”.

    Thumb up 0

  20. AlexInCT

    But we have already been doing that, for almost 50 years now.

    Soldiers in WWI called cigarettes “coffin nails” for a reason: they knew that they had harmful effects. That’s a lot longer than 50 years. The myth that people didn’t know about the dangers of cigarettes is plain bullshit invented by lawyers to steal money from cigarette companies while pretending to help people that somehow never knew cigarettes where bad. Shit, we now live in a country where I see labels on knifes that say it is dangerous if used improperly. Just because our legal system has lost all sense of proportionality and pretends common sense is rarer than 10000 carat diamonds so lawyers can get rich with idiotic suits, doesn’t make it so.

    BTW, my grandfather lived to be 98 years old and smoked since we was 13. In fact, he told me the secret to long life was to not smoke, not drink yourself into a stupor frequently, or not chase women, until after you hit the wise age of 12. That last part was a joke, but it sure seems he was right. Genetics has more to do with how you react to cigarettes than anything else.

    To me this whole anti-smoking campaign is simply another idiotic example of the nanny state trying to protect people from their bad choices. It’s impossible and frankly makes you wonder if these tools understand the basic human condition.

    Thumb up 0

  21. balthazar

    Way to totally miss the point.

    Here it is barny style for you.

    Leftys want to control of almost every facet of the “people” and thier way of life.

    They introduce programs to “help” with “problems” stating “Dont worry, its only for this one thing!!!”

    Said program is then expanded to include other things that werent included in the originally “necessary” program because, “well the government is paying for A now, but B can impact the cost! So now B should be controlled by the gov now as well!!!”

    Wash Rinse Repeat.

    Please look at your own posts CM for examples.

    Thumb up 4

  22. sahrab

    Just a quibble, Coffin Nails was a term dubbed by Lucy Gaston a “Temperance Advocate“.

    Basically she was a tobacco prohibitionist (her family had a history of supporting the Alchohol Prohibition) out of Chicago and was instrumental in getting Tobacco prohibited throughout the city in early 1900 (1910 i think).

    Gaston, and her allies, believed cigarettes damaged a smoker’s mind and moral character. Health concerns werent her motive, but she wasnt above pushing dubious claims about the health affects, even claiming the poison in cigarrettes led to a leech (under the prescription of a doctor) died after drinking the blood of a smoker. Anything that led to the success of her “cause” was used.

    Thumb up 0

  23. Kimpost

    I don’t think that anyone can make a credible case of how the effects of cigarettes were publicly known during world war one. Not even during or after WWII. It didn’t become common knowledge until the seventies. That’s when it sunk in, and became public knowledge.

    My parents used to smoke with us present. I still remember the road trips where my sister and I were sitting in the back seat with our faces stuffed towards the seating upholstery gasping for air, while mom and dad was happily smoking in the front seats. :)

    Just a few years later, in the early- and mid eighties, they never smoked in the car again. Nor did they smoke at home. They went outside to do it. Something happened rather quickly in just a ten year period. Occasionally we still joke about it, but “it’s just how things were back then”.

    Thumb up 0

  24. AlexInCT

    I don’t think that anyone can make a credible case of how the effects of cigarettes were publicly known during world war one. Not even during or after WWII. It didn’t become common knowledge until the seventies.

    Then my grandparents, on my mother’s side, were goddamned visionaries able to look into the future as both quit smoking during the late 50s because they knew cigarettes caused health issues Kimpost. Seriously, people knew cigarettes were bad long before government said it was so in the seventies.

    Thumb up 0

  25. Kimpost

    I hate to complicate things, but perhaps there’s an element of degree here? I’d say that your grand parents probably were quite well informed for their time.

    Was smoking dangerous? Perhaps, but how was it dangerous? Lung cancer for instance, was first linked to lung cancer in the 1930’s. Remember that the tobacco industry fought hammer and nail against cancer reports into the early 70’s.

    Thumb up 0

  26. JimK

    Kimpost, I gotta disagree. No one in my family was particularly well informed about anything, and they all knew that smoking caused cancer and killed people. From any age I can remember, most of my family smoked and talked about how bad it was, how it was going to kill them, etc. They knew. They just didn’t care.

    Both sets of grandparents smoked. Every aunt and 2/3rds of my 3 uncles (one on my father’s side did not). Both my parents smoked. Every man my mother dated after the divorce smoked. My great grandmother smoked until she was 65 (she lived until 90…cancer never caught up with her).

    I was born in 1970, and I have clear memories of people smoking from the very first time I can remember anything. And I know that there was a LONG conversation about smoking killing people in 1975, because it was at one of my grandparent’s homes and the entire family – WHILE SMOKING – was trying to convince my young aunt to not start doing it. It was my first real conversation about death, hence the very strong memory.

    Knowledge about smoking was, in my experience, pretty widespread by the 70s. The exact details and depth of the damage may not have been common, but people knew it caused cancer and emphysema, and that it was essentially hastening your own death. They just didn’t care as much.

    People in the 50s knew it as well. The tobacco companies did a fantastic job of flat-out lying to cover up stories of what smoking did medically. I’ll grant you it took a couple of decades to truly undo that damage, but a lot of people knew it was a horrible thing in the 50s and 60s. But like so many other issues, everyone assumes the OTHER guy is gonna get cancer, or get hit by a bus, or have a stroke, get heart disease, etc.

    Humans have a seemingly limitless ability to self-delude.

    P.S. I smoked from mid 1986 to 1995. I just assumed I was goddamned invincible and the laws of nature did not apply to me. :)

    Thumb up 0

  27. CM

    You really need to calm down balthazar. Who is barny? Do you mean Barney the Dinosaur?

    I haven’t “missed your point” so much as your “point” involves just another emotional generic rant about how everyone on the left is trying to steal everyone else’s freedom. Yeah, whatever.

    Thumb up 0

  28. HARLEY

    So we are back to, If government money is involved, the government CAN and will modify social morals and attitudes to its benefit.
    How very stateist.
    the best solution is for the fed gov to get out of the medical are business out side of Military and veterans, and let society handle it on its own.

    Thumb up 0

  29. balthazar

    WTG CM!!!l At least you got the message about Barney the Dinosaur.

    The rest you ignore, as usual, since it doesnt fit with what you think is the way shit should be. Par for the course!

    Nothin to see hear people, move along!

    PS: Jim, When is that ignore function gonna be added?

    Thumb up 2

  30. AlexInCT

    I hate to complicate things, but perhaps there’s an element of degree here? I’d say that your grand parents probably were quite well informed for their time.

    They where well educated people, but they were not alone as far as I understand it. Here in the US many people knew cigarettes were both addictive and caused problems. If you had been smoking in the early part of the century and hit adulthood in the 50s the odds that you ended up suffering from one of the many complications from smoking all but guaranteed that people around you realized cigarettes f-ed you up.

    And I find it hard not to laugh at people that claim ignorance about the problem. As a kid in the late 60s I already knew cigarettes where not just nasty, but deadly. It’s why I never smoked despite al the peer pressure to do so. Many of my friends smoked even knowing the effects it had had on their grandparents and such. It was cool and made you look mature and bad.

    I actually talked to one of them that recently tried to tell me he had no clue cigarettes where bad – he was no dealing with the issues it caused – when he started and I told him he was a lying sack of shit, and reminded him of when we where younger and I had told him it was bad. He was mad at me. Didn’t like me disrupting his narrative. If you f-up, own up to it. Had I not known him as a kid and actually tried to talk him out of it, I would have likely believed him when he told me how he had no clue. My point I guess is that there are a lot of people that willingly do stupid shit they know is bad, but then oft times play dumb later when they get bitten in the ass by it.

    Thumb up 0

  31. CM

    Actually in this case what I actually said didn’t fit with what you wanted me to say, but you apparently know better (so what I actually say is presumably irrelevant).

    They introduce programs to “help” with “problems” stating “Dont worry, its only for this one thing!!!”

    Said program is then expanded to include other things that werent included in the originally “necessary” program because, “well the government is paying for A now, but B can impact the cost! So now B should be controlled by the gov now as well!!!”

    If I think an public anti-smoking campaign is ok because it’s shown to have results, and those results mean that public money is saved, how does that mean that I automatically think that the campaign should be expanded to “control” something else? How is an anti-smoking campaign “controlling” anything in the first place?

    Thumb up 0