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Tabacco and its unfair treatment
Unfortunately for the tobacco industry we live in an unfair society where the population always wants to point the finger at someone other than themselves. Tobacco has been around as long as anyone can remember, and unfortunate for the tobacco industry, they made it possible for the smoking American to be able to buy fully processed and manufactured cigarettes. During this time, the average smoking American has known that smoking causes health problems, and yet they continued to purchase the manufactured cigarette. Then in 1995, President Clinton ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to write rules to regulate the sale and marketing of tobacco products in an effort to curb teen smoking. The writing of these rules would then touch off a series of Legal Battles, of which should not have been. I believe that for once the people that live in this country, should start taking responsibility, stop relying on the Government to make all their decisions, and start living with some common sense.
Do to President Clinton’s interference, –the Tabacco Companies were sued by The United States, and a deal was made that the Tobacco Companies would pay 368.5 billion dollars over 25 years– (3). This in itself should have been the end of the lawsuits, for the money was split between 44 states and was supposed to be used to repay smoking related medical expenses and also to be used to establish programs to help with the addiction. Only six states so far have made a commitment with their funds to use them towards smoke related programs. The others have treated it as winning the lottery, here are some examples: –Louisiana allocated 55 percent of its initial $110 million payment to help balance the state budget– (5) –Montana used $800,000 of its money to finance a boot camp for juvenile delinquents– (5). Along with the awarded moneys there was also other stipulations that would govern the sale and advertising of tobacco products. This is all part of the Government feeling they have to do something to save the American people from themselves. In the latest settlement, the Florida court awarded 144.8 billion dollars in punitive damages to 500,000 smokers, at the same time the federal government has subsidized tobacco growers and are trying to persuade people from using tobacco. It has banned advertising of this legal product from radio and television, and required explicit warnings on cigarette packaging, billboards and magazine ads. Subsidizing tobacco makes no sense, the government has cut back the farmers growth, and yet, –U.S. tobacco multinationals sell approximately two thirds of their cigarettes overseas (9)
The argument of tobacco s enemies is that because tobacco companies withheld information about the hazards and addictive properties of their products, they are liable for the enormous damages a jury has inflicted upon them. Once again government has intruded on individual choice, and we might reasonably ask where this would stop. Trial lawyers being the really big winners in these class action lawsuits will find this big government precedent to inviting to stop with tobacco. They will hear the siren call of many of their addictions crying out for judicial remedy and big profits for themselves.
Gambling is a serious addiction for some. Will gambling establishments be sued by addicts who have lost their rent and food money? Casinos advertise good times, but what if a gambler loses should he be allowed to sue for false advertising. Some people who drink alcohol become addicted, should they be allowed to sue liquor companies who also sell a legal product? If they become drunk drivers who injure or kill someone else, should the injured party or relatives of the dead be allowed to sue the distilleries for
damages? –Thanks to the Supreme Court rulings which have struck down laws aimed at controlling pornography, increasing numbers of people are becoming addicted to porn (2). If a marriage is ruined, or if someone is raped and the rapist testifies it was porn that made him do it, should injured parties be allowed to seek a judgment against the companies which produced it and the woman and men who appeared in it?
Credit Cards cause for high debt, if someone is forced to claim bankruptcy and claims an addiction to credit cards, why could the victims not be able to sue the card companies? Why could it not be argued that the credit card companies like tobacco are attempting to addict people at a young age? Some people suffer heart problems from their food addictions. Should it not be all right to sue the fast food industry when a customer suffers from a heart attack?
The Florida court ruling once again demonstrates how the government decides we are to incompetent to make sane decisions on our own, and need government assistance to do so. So do to one not having the willpower and moral competence to break their addiction, the government has chosen to punish the corporations to protect the population
from a legal devise. In turn, this is the question that needs to be asked, did the tobacco industry put the first cigarette in our mouth, make us inhale, make us decide we thought we looked cool with it hanging out of our lip? I think the answer would be no. The government has gone too far in the matter of lawsuits, what can and what can not be a just reason to sue. President Clinton at the beginning of his 2nd term, put forth a bill called Common Sense Lawsuit , and then vetoed it himself, Why? That s the question that should be asked. I think it was because if this passed, that would not give the government the right to finish prosecuting the tobacco industry.
–The government and various activists believe we are all actual potential victims of the corporations, and that by viewing the Marlboro Man and Camel Joe, we can be persuaded to suck the chemical equivalent of bus fumes into our lungs with no fear of suffering harm (2). That we are to ignorant to know right from wrong, if it is not spelled out in front of us then we are to stupid to know its bad for us. The terms everyone heard all there lives mean nothing, terms such as Cancer Stick or my personal favorite I know its going to kill me, but hey, everyone has to die sometime. I have to wonder how it came to pass that a jury could come to the conclusion that, we the citizens of this country could not understand and comprehend the damages we would suffer, just because a label was not affixed to the pack at an earlier age.
I personally think it is a shame that we live in such a greedy society, that people will play dumb, just to get the easy dollar, and in doing this, let the government walk all over them.
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