Monday, February 16, 2009
I have never been a big fan of cigarettes. To be more accurate, I loathe them. And it isn't because of the health implications because everyone and their moms know that cigarettes are bad for one's health. No, it is because these big corporations have manipulated society into thinking that 1. they aren't really bad for you (back when it was fresh) 2. if you smoke, you will magically transform into the coolest kid in the world. And after they spoon-feed you this bullshit, they rape you of your money and reap the rewards. Essentially, we are paying these corps to ruin our health, our environment and the developing world.
Pesticides- they're everywhere. They're in our food, water, gardens and apparently in cigarettes. However, while the first three are regulated by government agencies, cigarettes largely go without oversight and regulation. To top this off, the pesticides that are used are some of the most toxic- they can cause birth defects, acute poisoning and damage to the nervous system. These pesticides also do severe damage to ecosystems- they decrease algae and fungi, endanger mammals, and harm some plants. And because we need space to cultivate these wonders of poison, deforestation occurs.
Another way that tobacco abuses our environment is when we smoke it. The smoke released from cigarettes contain the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane, which add about 2.6 billion kg of CO2 per year and 5.6 billion kg of methane gas per year (worldwide). Thus, with every moment that passes as you nurse your cigarette is every moment that passes that our environment is in a worse state than before.
As the developed worlds of the U.S. and Europe have decreased their consumption of cigarettes, tobacco companies have looked to the developing world with eyes of gold. Advertisements directed at both adults and children are on display luring them into submission. In Africa, for example, smoking has increased 4.3% per year, according to the World Health Organization. In countries that have such a high rate of poverty and such poor health care institutions, people cannot afford to inflict further harm to themselves.
Many developing countries realized this dilemma and in November 2008, 150 countries came to a solution: Fuck tobacco companies. What this means is threefold:
1. The government and tobacco companies will sever their ties.
2. Public smoking will be outlawed (second hand smoke kills, remember?)
3. Advertisements, especially ones that are directed towards children, will be banned.
So why do you need cigarettes? Don't you know that you're already the coolest kid in the world.