The political muscle of the big tobacco lobby to defeat a constitutional ballot measure to help fund children's health care in Oregon is no different than their massive lobby efforts in all 50 states and in Washington. Reynolds American produces roughly 1/3 of all cigarettes consumed and is the major money force bankrolling the campaign against children's health care in their Oregon TV advetising blitz even though medical science directly implicates secondhand cigarette smoke in creating substantial health problems in infants and children.
On the website of Philip Morris, for example, this cigarette producer admits that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as well as Otits Media (painful middle ear infections) are just two documented health consequences for infants and children due to secondhand cigarette smoke exposure. Urine tests in one hospital study also found the presense of cigarette related secondhand smoke byproducts in most children who required ear tube surgery for example.
In addition, the Surgeon General of the United States is concerned about the growing epidemic of childhood asthma. And of course it is cigarette smoke that is prime cause of this. Not only is asthma a life threatening condition, but even more serious respiratory conditions such as emphysema and lung cancer can also develop in nonsmokers including children from even causual secondhand cigarette smoke exposure.
In addition, cigarette smoking is the cause of an estimated 30,000 house or apartment building fires each year, taking over 800 lives, including that of firemen who face serious injury or death fighting such fires and attempting to rescue innocent victims of smoker's carelessness.
Cigarettes dump at least 4,000 unregulated pollutants into the public air supply including lead, nickel and cadmium. Many of these substances are illegal air pollution according to the EPA. And secondhand cigarette smoke also puts a drug into the air just as addictive as heroin, nicotine.
No other form of air pollution involves the unwanted distribution of a drug to unwilling persons. Cigarettes are so damaging to the smoker, that a dental supply painkilling agent, eugenol, meant to fight toothache pain, is added to cigarettes to numb the user's mouth and throat from the pain of the injury being caused by smoking.
Victims of secondhand smoke don't get much benefit of this dental painkiller, and instead suffer from sore or burning senations in their mouth, throats, tongue, ears, sinus and other discomforts. Public secondhand cigarette pollution spreads for about 1/2 city block in all directions, and one cigarette pollutes and destroys the air quality of thousands of cubic gallons of public air with lead and other heavy metals and pollutants. Cigarettes are simply an illegal and unregulated public air pollution creation device.
In Oregon, the Reynolds American funded propaganda campaign claims that HMO's will profit off any tax on cigarettes to fund children's health care. Wait a minute. It's the cigarettes produced by Reynolds American that directly contribute to illness or death in children, and according to Reynolds because these children require medical or emergency room care for a potentially fatal asthma attack, or ear tube surgery, then it's the fault of the doctors or hospitals?
The increased cost to health insurance and the taxpayers is billions each year from cigarettes. Yet Reynolds doesn't belive that they should pay anything towards this huge cost to American society.
There is every indication that companies like Reynolds American are directly responsible for injury and even death to infants and children with the cigarettes that they produce. There is every good reason to not only force them to pay for these medical costs but to pull their products from the American marketplace for being both defective and dangerous. 50% of all smokers will eventually die from some smoking related illlness, as well will some nonsmokers as well. It's time to make companies like Reynolds American pay the bill.
[Image: Child Health Foundation, Germany]
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