Tag Archives: cigarette history

Those Who Don’t Know History…

I’ve been on my high horse today about Big Tobacco trying to squirm out of facing responsibility for killing people.

I do recognize my own responsibility of making the initial choice to try a sickarette.

But I also feel it’s appropriate for BT to accept its role in making sure people stay “life long customers”.

So I looked something up in a great body of information that you can find at your fingertips in Answers.com about Big Tobacco and it’s interesting reading.

Thought I would share it with you. There’s a lot of history preceding this clip, mostly telling about how American and European cigarette manufacturing grew and eventually a monopoly of sorts was formed and subsequently broken up.

Then… (emphasis added below are my own)…

In 1913 the newly independent R. J. Reynolds launched Camels, the “first modern cigarette.” Camels were quickly imitated by American’s Lucky Strike and Liggett and Myers’ revamped Chesterfield cigarettes.

All three brands stressed their mildness and catered their appeal to men and women alike. The 1920s saw the “conversion” of many tobacco consumers to the cigarette in the Unites States, United Kingdom, Europe, China, and Japan. In the full entry on The Tobacco Industry we learn between 1920 and 1930, U.S. cigarette consumption doubled to 1,370 cigarettes per capita.

The article goes on to talk about how marketing played a vital role. I remember cigarette ads talking about how doctors preferred this over that brand, and how much better for you one cigarette was than another. I can’t tell you how strong an influence these clever ploys had over what was and wasn’t accepted.

The article continues:

Prior to World War II, cases of lung cancer were relatively rare in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the heaviest-smoking countries, but rates in men were rising fast…

A lot of issues were being raised and health concerns were at the top of the list, but Big Tobacco did its best to allay the fears and by the 60’s just about everybody smoked “filtered” cigarettes because BT had assured the world were “…less harsh and harmful…”

The Long Road Ahead, The Long Road Behind…are doomed to repeat it. And so it has gone, and all the while the government taxed the sale of tobacco products and increased its revenues. While they got money that way, money also entered government in the form of lobbyist funding. The more our government depends on these revenues, the more it can be said that it is also becoming addicted, though not in the sense we’re addicted as individuals.

Honestly – it has to end somewhere. If we know the history of the industry, and if we can apply the mental facilities with which we are blessed and learn from our mistakes, we should be able as a society to stop the madness and end the senseless suffering and death of consumers who just didn’t understand the real consequences of their choices.

We all have to accept responsibility for our actions. Let’s examine who is responsible for what, and govern ourselves accordingly.

~GareK