"Just Quit" Phillip Morris CEO Says. Oh Yeah? A Non-smoker's View

Thursday, May 12 2011

Tell those people that huddle together on a sub-zero January day in downtown Chicago. They stand and shiver 15 feet from the inviting warmth of their building entrances as the wind blows mercilessly off Lake Michigan and whips wickedly around every corner. See Philip Morris CEO: Quitting Smoking Is Easy.

Tall, short, slim, obese, their camaraderie seems to stem from shared discomfort -- from the cold and the albatross (wow, sorry for getting carried away here) of their mutual addiction, although taking secret pleasure, I suppose, in escaping briefly from the work that awaits inside those revolving doors.

A relative, who quit a 35-year smoking habit after a heart incident, told me that a day doesn't go by without the yearning for a cigarette. And that was about four years after quitting.

Ok, so I get (kind of) the motives of a for-profit company to push product, regardless of its impact on its customers' health. I also get (kind of) the motives of a government that provides subsidies to farmers in economically-challenged regions who choose to grow an unhealthy substance rather than food crops.

But not really. Despite the regulations that impose "unnecessary impediments" on the tobacco industry and imposes taxes that help pay for health care (including costs of caring for those who suffer the consequences of smoking) and other worthy social programs, as I see it government is an enabler of those addicted to smoking.

The argument can be made, and Mr. Camilleri did indeed make it, that adults should be free to choose to buy and use tobacco products if they wish. Here's my dilemma. I'm not at all a proponent of either Big Government or Big Brother. But I also have a difficult time understanding the subsidy/penalty equation when it comes to tobacco. If anyone would like to respond, please e-mail jogucwa@techmanage.com and I'll enable comments (moderated, to keep intruders at bay).

Filed under: Smoking, Disease Prevention
Category: Open to Debate