Thursday, April 20, 2006

On the U.S. Tobacco Industry in Africa

So Angry!

I had heard about it, but didn’t believe it was true. American tobacco companies, restricted within the United States, expand their campaigns in other countries. I had initially read this in a comic book, in which the writer, Judd Winnick, had a character comment, “Every time the U.S. cracks down on smoking, the tobacco companies double their advertising in other countries.” Now Keim reemphasizes what I had assumed what I had assumed was exaggeration. Keim states “While American tobacco companies are increasinly restricted in the United States, they are expanding their advertising campaigns in the developing world” (77). I find this onerous on multiple levels.
First is my own vehement opposition of smoking. I find it repugnant that the companies would pull the same crap in other countries that they do in the U.S.—namely, sell an addictive product that kills people. And, because of the lack of regulations, lobbyists, and health programs, they are able to sell at a frightening rate. I limit myself here, because I have a mountain of unkind words for the tobacco industry, and this is not the place for them.
What is more pertinent to the discussion is my second qualm with tobacco sales in Africa, that Keim states very well. Keim says “To see people [. . .] smoking Marlboros when their children have inadequate nutrition is troubling.” (77) So, rather than feeding their children, people, addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, are purchasing packs of smokes. So, as the children grow up, they get to observe—sitting down, of course, since their malnutritioned frames can’t support their weight—their parents die a hacking, painful death from lung cancer. The tobacco industry makes me sick.

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