Would you like to buy some Cancer?

Man holding cigarette © Ben + Marcos Welsh/AGE FotostockSo I was thinking about American consumerism and wondered how well I could sell cancer. It sounds crazy, but I think it might work. Naturally, it would appear that selling cancer would be quite difficult, but during my research, I was shocked to find out that there are already a slew of companies who beat me to the punch: the tobacco industry.

Okay, so you called my bluff, I wasn’t really trying to find a way to sell cancer. But is this not what we see every single day in the world. Cigarettes have zero (none, zip, nadda) benefit to the human body or mind (though there is the perceived belief by smokers that it calms them down.) And sure, it helps keep models thin. But I’m talking about real benefits, not excuses to keep smoking.

So why do we insist on buying cancer? More importantly, why do we insist on selling it? Sure, alcohol can cause problems, but only if abused. Tobacco products like cigarettes cause problems no matter what. But the avid smoker says, “My mother smoked all her life and nothing happened to her“. Face it, she was lucky. That kind of testimony shouldn’t (and doesn’t) persuade a rational being that smoking is safe.

Better I smoke than do some other, more dangerous substance” one may say. Well, smoking is dangerous, not to mention a huge waste of money. Did you know that a 40 year old man who quits smoking and invests the money he would have spent into a 401K will have $250,000 by age 70!!!

If that is your approach, then you need to seek some therapy (either from a professional or just family advice). The way I see it, if your self-esteem and self-control are so poor that you begin to choose the “lesser of two evils”, you may have some issues to work out. You don’t need tobacco.

But it generates vasts amounts of money for positive causes“. True, but we can find other methods to give money and donate, I have faith in human intuition and creativity. If you think that you are doing good by spending money to buy cigarettes, you need to wake up and quit believing in sugar coated realities. Don’t let that be a diversion to the fact you are BUYING CANCER IN A BOX. You are stripping away your life.

In the end, you can’t spin cigarettes in a positive light. It has now been 50+ years since we thought they made you look “cool”, so let’s show some cognitive progress. (picture from msnbc.com)


12 Responses

  1. I recognize this form of argument… oh yeah, taking somebody else’s BS and making it look like BS. Tis very true that cigareets are bad for you. Lets face it, you are inhaling smoke… people get taken to the hospital for that after a house fire. Eventually it catches up to you.

    Here’s my question, though. In the interest of Free Market and limited government, should the sale of tobacco be illegalized? There’s lots of stuff people do to harm themselves that are just stupid (jumping off the roof of the house into the pool) that are completely legal. I dunno, just something to ponder.

  2. good question xristosdomini,

    I don’t know what the government should do. I think making it illegal is too tough and would just divert the police from the more important issues in society. Perhaps the better approach is to put more restrictions on cigarettes. For instance, create an even higher tax and restrict smoking from restaurants all over the country. That alone could be enough to prevent ppl from starting to smoke to begin with.

  3. Justin,
    That is what the government is doing. They are raising the taxes so that no one can afford to buy cigarettes and they are dictating where one can smoke. If you can’t afford them it really doesn’t matter “where” one can smoke them. The government has realized this and is using it to control us. They will use it in the future to control other issues. He who controls the purse strings controls the purse and he who controls the purse controls the person (All of the people in this case).

    What free market and what limited government? Do you really think that we (The People) are in control? As I see it we the people can only vote in the next gang that wants to take the rest of what we have. We are left with the damage that the previous gang committed and no one repairs it. (The North American Foolish Trade Agreement, and The Most Favored Nation (Favored over our own needs and interests))

  4. True, Justin, it is a relatively good system of controlling the habits of people… which I would seem to think a dangerous precedent to set. I mean, how long until they start taxing people for being Republican… or worse, being religious?

    astudent, I’m not claiming we have limited government and a totally free market. I’m just saying that as one who supports these ideals, what would the correct response to this problem be? In my current state of mind, I would say that there isn’t much of a MORAL problem with smoking (other than it being an addictive substance, but so is caffeine), so I’m not sure how much legistlation can be justified in this case. But that’s just my head working overdrive.


  5. Great post…..I am not looking to solve the issue; I am grateful that people can see the stupidity of it all. Smokers want to have their “freedom”. I want my freedom too: don’t give me cancer while you suck away at your cancer stick!

    Some states have banned smoking in all public places (Ohio for one). That is a start. Their news is loaded with citations of people breaking this new law. Oh yeah, remember that a law was PASSED by the public in the last ELECTION….by a significant margin.

    So, I do vote. If Michigan offered this option on the ballet, I would support the ban in public places. I find it so pitiful when I go to a hospital or doctors’ office, and health care workers/professionals are standing in the doorway smoking on some “break”.

    Freedom. I like to chose to not get cancer knowing that their smoke is hazardous to my health.

  6. This is why I love the movie “Thank You For Smoking.” What an indictment on greed and sophist agenda-pushing.

    Good point.

  7. Don’t forget the auto industry, the oil companies and motorists all “selling” asthma, lung cancer and leukemia, among other maladies. Not to mention the 1 million annual deaths from wrecks and the millions upon millions thereby wounded… or the environmental degradation. Man! They’ve managed to sell a lot of all that.

    There are not enough rich and powerful people to consume the whole world; for that, the rich and powerful need the help of countless ordinary people.

    ~Wendell Berry

  8. hi Dan,
    the problem with car crashes is that they are the result of the driver, not an inherent part of the “product”. As for asthma and all that, i can’t say that I am a fan of those things either, hence we are working on fixing the problem (by fuel standards and what not). Effectiveness of our efforts is a whole different topic.

    Also, items such as cars are necessary (at least in this country) for many people to make a living…while cigarettes do quite the opposite by short-changing life.

    I agree with you that there are other products being “sold” that are dangerous, but I still hold that cigarettes are the stupidest.

  9. “The problem with car crashes is that they are the result of the driver, not an inherent part of the “product”. ”

    Perhaps. That is one way to look at it. But look at it this way: If we have millions of 2 ton vehicles traveling around at 25, 35, 75 miles an hour, we WILL have “accidents.” Cars, by their nature, require an amount of attention to detail that is not experienced in the real world. Even traveling at 25 mph, if a child or adult accidentally falls, trips, runs into the street at the wrong time, the motorist will not be able to stop.

    No, our driving policies guarantee a certain amount of damage a year (roughly 42,000 deaths/year in the US; 1,000,000 globally). Now, we COULD change our policies to reduce that number. IF 25 mph was TRULY the TOP speed in areas where pedestrians would be, that would likely reduce our deaths by a huge percentage. IF faster speed limits were isolated to highways AWAY from pedestrians, that would help. IF car wrecks were met with a temporary loss of license (enforcing the notion of driving-as-privilege, not necessity), that would likely help.

    We could make changes without banning cars outright IF we were truly interested in saving lives. I rather doubt that we are, unfortunately.

    Cigarettes may be the stupidest habit we have, but cars are likely the most costly and most dangerous to society.

  10. In fact, given that we are frittering away all the world’s oil on the personal auto (we have gone through roughly half the world’s oil in the last 70-ish years), the dollars lost through pollution, illness, injury, roadways, defense, etc, and the lives lost through all of the above, it may be safe to say that our auto policies are the stupidest habit we have.

    Of course, that’s rather a matter of judgement.

  11. “items such as cars are necessary (at least in this country) for many people to make a living…”

    Some people say that cigarettes help them concentrate, or help them to stay thin, etc and thus, are a necessity. I don’t think it’s true that either cigarettes OR cars are a necessity. They’re both luxurious with some serious drawbacks.

    Seems to me they’re both closer to an addiction than a necessity.

  12. Hi Dan,

    Seems to me they’re both closer to an addiction than a necessity

    To an extent. We are very dependent on automobiles than we should be (the rest of the world would contest that we are addicted). But at the same time, a mass public transit (like trains) isn’t as easy to accomplish (unfortunately) in our vast country.

    It may be better to say that we are addicted to our lifestyles (which has some pretty crappy byproducts).

    I took the liberty to do a little research.

    I found Here that roughly 40,000 people die from automobile deaths each year. A staggering amount and extremely unfortunate. I am aware that this is only deaths, and not problems caused to our environment.

    I found Here that smoking kills 400,000 people each year! That is almost half a million, easily preventable deaths. This figure does not include individuals who are affected by second hand smoke (a huge problem and extreme annoyance).

    So do we have problems with cars and cigarettes? Yes. Is one worse than the other? In my opinion, looking at the figures…absolutely.

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