Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reason: Tobacco Truth Gets Smoked

This article from Reason magazine paints one of the most thorough and honest pictures of the alternative tobacco market landscape. It is a must read for anyone interested in how out-of-whack the government and public health officials are when it comes to understanding the war against smokers and peoples health. FYI, cigarettes can be very hazardous to your health!

Despite being a non-smoker, the article hit home for the werewolf on multiple levels. Let the werewolf declare it here, during the summer of 2008, the werewolf was officially a vassal in the tobacco castle. The werewolf spent his MBA summer internship working on alternative tobacco product marketing strategy and corporate social responsibility initiatives for one of America's largest tobacco companies. Being the misanthrope that he is, playing Nick Naylor lite for summer was a dream job. Anyhow, the article states all of the key take-aways from the werewolf's experience with both an eloquence and accuracy in its writing that the werewolf hopes to achieve someday. You'll be spared all of harm reduction, reduced risk mantra that became the werewolf's second inner dialog at one point in his life, as it is all spelled out in the article.

The werewolf has many amusing stories from his experience that he'll indirectly share at some point. (He'll have to be nuanced though, big tobacco NDA'd him out the wazoo) He will say that he learned just how vicious the folks in public health advocacy are and how their anti-smoking crusade is more like a jihad than anything else. One of the werewolf's responsibilities was performing corporate social social responsibility outreach, which involved communicating with hostile stakeholders (public health advocates). During a conversation with a senior apparatchik from a leading and well-known public health advocacy organization involving smokeless tobacco concepts, the werewolf was told to pound sand and that "we are more interested in driving you a**holes out of business than saving lives at this point." The hate filled rage, disregard for the organization's health charter, and blind questioning of yesterday's cause really shocked the werewolf and drained him of all respect for those who claim to be champions of health. When these guys win the war against big tobacco(and they will, sadly), I pity whomever they target next, because for them, it's about winning at any cost, not saving lives, nor helping people. Never forget that.

1 comment:

  1. I think someone should start a tobacco company (or maybe a cigarette) company that's unapologetic. Admit cigarettes are bad for you and tell the government to screw itself, basically; write op-eds, go on cable news, etc. Write an interesting warning label: instead of "the Surgeon General has determined that cigarettes may be harmful to your health," how about "Cigarettes are harmful to your health and can cause a wide variety of diseases, including cancer to lung problems. Make an adult decision."

    Since cigarettes are basically a commodity, I'll bet there are lots of people out there who would switch to that brand. I would, if I smoked. Have some bloody pride.