The Tobacco Institute assured many generations that smoking brought many positively wonderful benefits to many millions of people around the world. They blew billows of smoke clouds to win addicts to their sacrosanct product by documenting what a smoker liked to hear, to hear about research on low “tar” tobaccos, microfiber filtration, dust-free packages, outstandingly mild puffs — all smoke screens to direct attention away from the addictive nature of nicotine.
Within a statistical error range of 3%, you can find as many climate-change deniers among scientists as there are round-earth deniers.
Advertising suggested that most doctors chose Camel cigarettes. The brand that helps them keep alert to their patients’ concerns — a demanding practice according to Tobacco Institute polls. Doctors don’t smoke many Camels these days, but Big Pharma does not reward many physicians for prescribing vegan diets to their patients, do they?
My high school restricted smoking to seniors, it felt like a classy perk, a mark, a rite of passage for seniors on the school’s front steps: their own “smoking lounge.” When at university in 1965 smoking was allowed in classrooms — no wasted time standing outside. The University of Cincinnati Main Library routed smokers to a single facility: the rare-book room. It was a nice warm study hall with southern exposure.
Meat marketers played the same con game to the same slick tune, vegans (our number also within an error range of 3% of round-earth deniers).
The merchants of addictive substances know that lifelong customers are lifelines to large profits — for generations of tobacco lovers. Meat keeps doctors in the big friendly hands of Big Pharm reps. A lump of meat, a slug of dairy, a bite from an incredible, edible egg may gradually lead to a need for replacement organs, artery stents, insulin pumps, cholesterol medications… Yes, poor health contributes to the Gross National Product as undeniably as expended bullets trigger bullet-replacement orders. GNP remains a popular means for comparing a nation’s economic prowess and presumed happiness…
Bloodthirst is an addiction. It’s a dependency that is as firmly rooted in the fundament of “civilized” life as smoking, drinking, and fossil-fueling.
Fossil-fueling is an addiction to the instant energy stored for eons underground, packets of pure energy drawn from the biomass of a previous extinction event. Dinosaurs lived in a verdant environment. Dead flora and fauna pressed intensely under the rocks of ages yields instant energy. Those reptilians might still be around had fortune not dealt them a joker, a big-ass asteroid. A few mammals survived mere inches beneath protective insulation from the firestorm above the ground: planet-wide scorched earth.
Sowing the seeds of our own destruction is a bad habit, but its return on investment is massive. The science is indisputable, but so is the indisputable reflex to put fingers in your ears. Scientists who accept the Big bucks accumulated by petrochemical manufacturers don’t miss a paycheck.
Thanks for reading.