As disgusting as the Gentlemen's Agreement between these buzzards is, it's certainly no more repugnant than the appalling symbiotic relationship between the Tobacco Industry and the Government, which last week rolled out a huge new anti-smoking campaign based on showing graphic and disturbing pictures of smokers who have paid the consequences of their habit.
The $54 million ad campaign features images which are striking, to put it mildly. People viewing television, print media, and billboards will now be treated to full color close-ups of laryngectomies, stroke victims, heart patients, people with livid, disfiguring mouth and throat tumors, and - just for good measure - plenty of stumps from missing limbs.
But will the horrific - and expensive - ads actually cut down on smoking? After just one week, the Government is already bragging that calls to the phone number featured in the ads have doubled. They do not, however, say how many of those calls are from people trying to kick the habit - and how many are from angry parents of traumatized kids who've just gotten an eyeful of a woman whose toes have rotted off.
Moreover, cigarette manufactures actually used to deliberately (albeit subtly) insert death imagery into their ads under the belief that the "grim reaper factor" actually increased the dangerous appeal of smoking.
But surely the Government, which loves us and wants us all to get free medical treatment, is sincere in its efforts to stop smoking, right?
Ummm - probably not.
Because as any drug cartel can tell you, there's a lot of money to be made when selling highly addictive substances to the masses. Which is why the Government essentially made itself a partner to the Tobacco Industry (rather than shutting it down) so it could share the largesse. In 2009, the Feds raked in a sweet $8.5 billion in cigarette taxes, and the cash-strapped states pulled in almost $16 billion more. Suddenly, that token $54 million in anti-smoking ads seems like a drop in the bucket.
But the benefits to the Government don't stop there! As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius recently pointed out, 443,000 Americans die every year from smoking-related causes. And by wild coincidence, those same 443,000 Americans will not be around to drain funds (if there were any) from Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. Ka-ching!
Still, no matter whether they're sincere or not, the stomach-churning new ads will surely convince at least a few people to give up their potentially deadly habit. Or maybe not - because the world's smartest man, Barack Obama, surely knows all the dangers of smoking but does it anyway.
But in fairness, maybe he just does it to give us Hope...
|If this isn't coming soon to a billboard near you, it SHOULD be.|