• Amongst Brazilian tobacco farmers, suicide rates are seven times higher then the average suicide rate reported for the rest of the country. These deaths coincide with the seeding and harvesting of tobacco plants. Many of the suicides were suffering from acute neurological imbalances. Organophosphate pesticides can result in psychological depression. Tobacco farmers use this pestercide. Any connection?

    The Brazilian Ministry of Health made changes to the pesticide labelling. The new labels for highly dangerous chemicals now resemble those of less toxic products. These changes took place after the agrochemical industry applied pressure on the government. However, most farmers are illiterate and protective clothing and storage facilities are expensive. Chemicals are often stored in a house or dwelling exposing children, pregnant women and the elderly to pesticide poisoning.

    The tobacco industry have investigated and patented many technologies that reduce substances in cigarette smoke that cause cancer, heart disease and emphysema. These include ‘Eclipse’, ‘Premier’ – FDA regulated devise could be used to smoke crack, and ‘Accord’ – a specially constructed cigarette and lighter. Most of these devices have been withdrawn or never implemented.

    Using advanced biotechnology, tobacco crops have now been engineered and grown to contain higher levels of nicotine. These crops fit the legal definition of a drug. In 1968 Dr David Owen tried to introduce nicotine to the Medicines Act (Pharmaceutical regulations) and proposed that tobacco as such a substance the act should control cigarettes. However the plans were dropped after ministerial reshuffles within the UK government.

    This consequently sees cigarettes being exempt from regulations that apply to pharmaceutical nicotine products. There by, tobacco products have a nicotine maintenance monopoly for nicotine addiction.

    Death Rates

    The death rate to cigarette related diseases in the UK is 120,000 p.a. That is a town the size of Norwich or Chester. In the past 40 years over 5 million people have died from smoking related diseases. That is 12 times more than in World War II.

    Smoking related deaths are 6 times higher in the UK than road accidents, murder/manslaughter, poisoning, suicide, overdoses and HIV put together.

    To put it into context, cocaine is an illegal class ‘A’ drug and is attributed to 140 deaths in the UK per year. Meanwhile the use of mobile telephones while driving was made illegal in the UK in 2004, 20 deaths in the last 5 years are linked to this practise. You have to ask yourself why can anyone from sixteen year old legally buy cigarettes?

    China now has the largest death rate from smoking of any country overtaking the USA. A third of all men will die if current habits persist.

     1 million smoking related deaths in China in 2000

    2 million smoking related deaths in China forecast by 2025

    3 million smoking related deaths in China forecast by 2050 (8000 per day)

    Cigarette consumption in China has risen from 100 billion cigarettes in the early 50’s to over 1,800 billion today.

    Find more information about smoking in China here.

     

     Worldwide deaths from smoking –

    4 million in 2000 – 50/50 between developed and developing countries.

    10 million by 2030 – 70% in developing countries.

     

    As litigation and laws surrounding the tobacco industry tighten up in USA and the EU the tobacco industry are shifting production and sales to the new markets of Russia, Poland, Cuba, Mexico, Egypt, India, South America and South Africa. There are little or no laws governing the sale of tobacco in these countries. Pressure on these governments to legislate against tobacco consumption now could save millions of deaths in the future.

    If worldwide consumption of cigarettes decreased by half by 2020 25 million premature deaths in the first quarter of the century and 150 million in the second quarter of the century would be avoided.

    People who stop smoking live longer, contribute to society for longer, experience improved health, lower the demand on the NHS, reduce the cost to employers in days lost to smoking related illnesses, have more money to spend and create more jobs.

    Cigarettes are exempt from most forms of consumer protection because products were already in the market before consumer laws were developed. The extent of harm to consumers by cigarettes cannot reach safety standard requirements as imposed on other products.

    Image if you will if you just invented a cigarette and took it onto the popular television show ‘Dragon Den’ How would you present it to the Dragons and what sort of reaction would you think you would get? Watch Dragons Den – Duncan Bannatyne in this Quit video.

    httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELtfKpYCGB8

    Although there have been moves to restrict advertising cigarette brands, introducing health warnings and lowering tar rates in cigarettes, nicotine regulations serve the tobacco industry over public health. Tobacco companies make voluntary concessions rather than legislate. This gives an air of perceived respectability to the industry, although agreements are difficult to monitor, controls are easily evaded and there are no penalties for violations. Health warnings also work in favor of manufacturers in litigation defense cases.

    Tobacco companies make a big noise of how most of their litigation cases are overthrown at appeal. The tobacco companies are at a distinct advantage over individuals, companies or evens States, because of their huge cash reserves they can tie the courts up for decades.

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  • Sunday13 May 2007 Perry

    Listening to: Matteo Scumaci – Good Hands

    Emotion – Positively charged

    Days until smoke down – 7

    Cycled down to Lewisham first thing this morning and hit the gym. I know it’s vanity on my part but I want to get my fitness levels up as high as possible if my health is going to be under the microscope for all to see. I ran 6 miles with relative ease and had an awesome leg workout with weights before cycling back in the rain.

    I really don’t know how smoking is going to impact on my training or my health but one thing is for sure, it’s not going to make it any easier. It’s going to be a great/horrible experience. I’ve been lectured to and had the riot act read at me about doing this. I’ve been asked ‘Would you inject heroin?’ by doctors ‘Because nicotine is worse than that’. Of course I wouldn’t. I know I’m taking a huge risk of becoming a cigarette addict but I’m strong willed and have a great support mechanism of friends, family and colleagues to help in the aftermath of this experiment. I will not let nicotine corrupt my belief mechanism. I’m going to smoke for two weeks and then I’m not smoking anymore. I’ve talked to my good friend Lee Bannister who also happens to be a hypnotherapist. The idea is that I see him before and after the experiment for hypnotherapy. I think it will be a good safety net to set in place. Although I’m feeling strong about it now, I am jumping into the unknown somewhat. I’ve started to have feelings of apprehension just thinking about sparking up. I’ll be so relieved when it’s all over. Got my sights set on running the London Marathon 2008. There I’ve said it! It’s in black and white. No going back now. Run forest run.

    The headline in the London paper last Thursday reads ‘BLAIR QUITS’ apparently it doesn’t refer to a smoking habit but he is stepping down from the position of President of the United States of Britain Plc. I hope that clears up any confusion caused.

    My friend Polly sent me a film called Scene Smoking – Cigarette, Cinema and the Myth of Cool. That’s what I’m watching tonight!

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  • Killing your customers is not generally considered a good business practise, but tobacco companies seem to excel in this field. 

    Associated health problems attributed to the smoking of cigarettes prior to the 1930’s were unknown. ‘Doctor Recommended’ and ‘Good for Digestion’ advertisements were common in the 1920’s. Then in 1932 a paper published by the American Journal of Cancer made the connection between cigarettes and cancer. 

    Many more papers were subsequently released, solidifying the health issues from cigarettes. By 1957 the Surgeon General (USA) became involved with the issues and by 1964 he had filed an official report connecting cigarettes to cancer.

    In the early 70’s a Smoking Act was passed by the US Congress, TV bans and warning labels were brought into effect. Within the space of four decades the image of cigarettes had changed. Smokers (the minority) still believe it’s their right to smoke, not the non-smokers (the majority) right to breathe clean air. On 1st July 2001 smoking will be banned in all public places in the UK following successful bans already in place in Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

    Way back in 1973 warning labels were introduced and the first ban on smoking in a public place was introduced in Arizona. California, New York State and Ireland followed suit years later. Other countries throughout the European Union are now lining up to back a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces

    In 1984 warning labels were changed on the packet of cigarettes. Meanwhile in Canada, Brazil, Singapore and Thailand packs already contained graphic coloured images with additional health warnings. Ireland and Belgium have indicated that they will introduce some of the 42 images approved by the EU in the near future. 

                                                       Leo Bennett      Leo Burnett     

                 marlboro the original cigarette

                             ’Original’ Marlboro                       

    Philip Morris used the Leo Burnett Company in 1955 to develop a ‘minor cigarette brand with a predominately feminine image and turned it in to a big seller by using close-up photos of ruggedly handsome men’, The ‘Marlboro Man’ arguably the most successful marketing campaign ever, took the idea of smoking and linked it with the image of rebellion, freedom and personal choice. Thus, any attacks made on smokers or smoking becomes an issue of losing that freedom or the government interfering in the personal choices of the people. This changed somewhat in 1993 when passive smoking or second hand smoke was recognised as a cause of cancer. The issues of freedom to smoke and personal choice changed to one of injuring others.

                Smoking Marlboro Man

          Marlboro Man circa 1955     

    Smoking Marlboro Cowboy

          Marlboro cowboy circa 1956     

    Smoking Marlboro Cowboy 1973

    Smoking Marlboro Country

    Marlboro Country circa 1973

       Ronald Reagan in Cigarette Ad

     marlboro smoking cowboy

    marlboro rodeo

    Marlboro menthol cigarette ad

    The tobacco companies answered by employing marketing strategies for a healthier cigarette, this started in 1952 with the introduction of filters. 1.3% of cigarette sales had filters in this year but by 1956 over 25% had filters. Now almost all cigarettes sold are filtered. The next step in the elusive search for the healthy cigarette occurred in the 70’s with the introduction of the ‘Tar Wars’. Arguable the most famous brand created was ‘Marlboro Lights.’ The words Light and Medium were outlawed in 2002 in the UK. Cigarette tar and nicotine yields are measured by machines that smoke but bear little relation to the way humans smoke cigarettes. However it is widely perceived that a Light alternative is safer but there is no evidence to support this.

    The continuation of marketing ‘Marlboro Man’ and ‘Marlboro Country’ saw the emphasis shift from the product to one were a cigarette or pack of cigarettes had completely disappeared from the advertisements and now the focus was on satisfaction and taste. The whole appeal of the product is one of rebellion and freedom. Marlboro ads no longer sell a product but sell an image.

    As the Western worlds taste for cigarettes diminishes with the knowledge of cancer and the new legislation against tobacco smoking in public places and raising the age to buy from 16 to 18, the tobacco companies shift their emphasis to new and emerging markets in developing countries. Not unlike other corporations who set up sweat shops in Free Trade Zones throughout the developing world, the tobacco companies are also taking advantage of cheap labour and land and take with them a whole new set of health, environmental and social problems. Although cigarette sales in the western world have diminished the tobacco companies report bigger profits year on year, but at what cost to public health and the environment?

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  • Monday 23 May 2005 Perry

    Met DA of ASH today at Terminus for lunch.

    Called LS who is in the middle of setting up his new production company but is still interested in The Smoking Man project. Speaking again next week.

    PW of KFT received the package today from Kt.

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    • Muhammad Ali Sports Memorabilia -> Fan Apparel and Souvenirs -> Boxing Not that long ago, everyone recognized...

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  • August 2004 Perry

    I’ve been writing a feature and some shorts and looking for funding for sometime but after watching Michael Moore Fahrenheit 9/11 I have decided to get my teeth into something that could make a difference.

    I liked Fahrenheit 9/11 but didn’t think it came anywhere near the brilliance of Bowling for Columbine. That film really blew me away. I’ve been looking for subject matter for a while from Toxic Shock Syndrome to Mothers Against Guns, worthy subjects but mostly alien to me. Then it struck me like a bolt out of the blue, smoking or more precisely tobacco!

    I’ve been working in and around the industry since 2001 even though I don’t smoke. But what angle to go on? Everybody knows smoking kills. What if I smoke 40 cigarettes a day for a month and see how it affects my general health from the condition of my skin, sperm count, ability to exercise etc. I discarded that idea for several reasons, the first being the release of ‘Super Size Me’ and the comparisons it would have levelled against it and secondly I really don’t think I could smoke a cigarette every twenty or so minutes or my waking day. (I’d really struggle with one).

    I have decided to investigate the tobacco industry. I think this is a broader subject with worldwide appeal and consequences. Maybe it will have a positive effect and redeem me in some small way from the guilt I feel working for the industry that brings suffering and death to millions of people across the planet.

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