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Death Is Good Business

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has conducted a study which shows that nicotine levels in most cigarette brands has risen an average of 10% in the last 10 years. With the sharpest increases in nicotine levels appearing in brands which are marketed towards young people (who may be more susceptible to severe addiction than fully developed adults) and (surprise!) minorities.

Nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive, (some say as addictive as heroin) so more nicotine means more addictive. More addictive means more customers means more death means more profit. More on addiction...

And how is government dealing with this situation? One would think that the logical thing to do would be punish the dealers of death and disease. Maybe hold the cigarette manufacturers liable for the gargantuan strain on public health they are responsible for? Maybe, oh I dunno, make them stop?

Well, no. They seem to be free to carry on as they have been, while their victims - smokers - are punished. As the habit of smoking becomes ever more difficult to stop (more nicotine = more addictive), smokers are punished more and more with ever higher taxes on cigarette sales, which affects the poor disproportionately.

While the CEO's sit back and watch their bank accounts get fatter with every new victim while paying less and less in taxes, minorities, youth, the poor and you are left to pick up the tab and pay for the consequences.

In Canada, we are constantly bombarded with stories of how the universal healthcare system is in jeopardy, and how the only solution is to introduce some sort of half-privatized two tiered system. This is madness when you consider the facts. Could it be that all we need to do is outlaw the addition of nicotine and other chemicals to cigarettes (of which there are many)? Give the victims a fighting chance to quit, and make it less likely that a kid having a smoke for the first time will become addicted, and I'll bet that public health becomes a much smaller and drastically cheaper industry than it is now.
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