The Big Tobacco Nightmare

Big Tobacco companies facts, lawsuits and advertising

by Richard Munroe


Big Tobacco is name that has grown in importance and which when used loosely refers to the entire tobacco industry chain from growers, processing, manufacturing and sales including pro-tobacco advocates.

Used otherwise in its strictest sense it refers to the three American tobacco giants namely Philip Morris (Altria), Reynolds America (RJR) and Lorillard. The name is not intended to reflect the tobacco industry in any good light. Instead it communicates the nightmare of tobacco carnage at the hands of the tobacco companies lasting for decades and continuing.

The tobacco industry has suffered endless tobacco lawsuits from relatives and victims of tobacco smoking diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease.

At the center of the accusations against the industry is the blatant and well calculated intentions to hide from the general public the well documented dangers of smoking.

Big tobacco is a name that communicates the greed associated with tobacco advertising and marketing. For over five decades of doing business the industry lied, misrepresented and deceived millions of tobacco users about the disastrous effects of smoking tobacco including the effects of second hand smoking.

The industry's tactics included influencing tobacco policy formulation and implementation in countries party to WHO sponsored Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). As far as the UN is concerned, there is an irreconcilable conflict between tobacco effects and public health.

big tobacco companiesMost anti-smoking advocates and policy makers including the UN view the tobacco industry as a conglomerate which has largely operated as a law unto itself. Paying millions of dollars to favorably influence public opinion about smoking and mainstream science findings that highlight the dangers of smoking.

Big tobacco advertising and marketing has included promoting a special type of cigarette such as Malboro light, mild or ultralight giving a false impression of healthier smoking and less harmful effects. The industry has also vigorously promoted so called low-tar cigarettes which in fact contain the same level of tar and whose effectiveness depends on how a smoker smokes.

Profits for the tobacco companies combined exceed $15 billion per year richer than many developing countries. This muscle of profits and income has made it very difficult for some governments to successfully oppose the intents and purposes of the tobacco industry courtship of policy makers and government decision makers.

Tobacco companies using their very strong profit arm have delayed the implementation of tobacco regulations such smoking laws banning smoking in public places in countries such as China. In Africa, Asia and parts of South America vast portions of land have been cleared to make way for increased growing of the tobacco crop at the behest of big tobacco.

The effects are far and wide including land degradation and food security compromise for poor local communities as profitable land is dedicated to the tobacco cash crop.

The tobacco industry is well known for not being too easy to take down when it comes to tobacco litigation. Its well greased lawyers exploit every legal loop-hole in order to escape government sanctions and deny victims of the tobacco carnage any right to compensation whatsoever.

The determination of the tobacco industry to expand its market and gain excessive profits goes as far beyond as a little corner store in a local community which tries to sell cigarettes to underage consumers in the face of laws and regulations barring such. Even the corner store owner desires tobacco profits as badly as the head offices of the industry in the financial capitals of the world.

The name big tobacco is a calculated invention to communicate the ruthless and brutal approaches of the industry which by-in-large is nightmarish.


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