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imtricia



Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 6:46 pm    Post subject: A Question Reply with quote

First, I'm a smoker and honestly do not mean any disrespect.

I was just reading about the book which lead me to the website which lead me to wonder yet again: Who cares?

Yes, smoking is bad for my health. Yes, it smells. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, I could go on and on listing all the negative things about smoking. But, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still going to die. We all will one day. There is no disputing that fact. So, why does anyone care if I smoke?

I can imagine you will say that my habit affects your health and years ago I might have agreed with you. It is now 2007 and the only place I'm allowed to smoke is in my own home, so I can't accept that argument anymore.

Seriously, I'm worried about America. I was taught in elementary school that my country was born because of intolerance. That she is the land of the free. That all may pursue happiness. That persecution will not be allowed. So again, with all due respect, since it is now fact that the industry lied and I am going to die one day, why do you care if I smoke or not?

~ tricia, the unwanted citizen
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Allan Brandt



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:13 am    Post subject: response to tricia Reply with quote

Tricia,

I am sorry to hear that you feel persecuted as a smoker. Certainly I understand that many smokers today feel marginalized and stigmatized.

My perspective in the book is not to attack smokers. To the contrary, I see smoking as a complex behavior that results from intense promotion by an industry that throughout the 20th century denied the dangers, as well as the highly addictive nature of nicotine (also well known by the companies).

Instead of blaming smokers, my position is that we should direct our attention to the companies and their actions which have led to smoking and the resulting harms.

Have you ever thought about quitting?

All best ,
AB
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LightSmoker



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In reading this breif exchange, and again without have began reading your book (Came in the mail about an hour ago) I'm inclined to ask, and this kind goes along with topic of Sullum.

Would you, Mr. Brandt, be content with just the outlawing of cigarettes. The deconstruction of every tobacco maker and seller, to make people like me and Tricia not be able to smoke? It seems that people who take your position wants to go after the companies and say that me and Tricia, as smokers, should not feel persecuted and such, which is all fine and good, but in suggesting that we take a look at the companies, a look to do what: have them make 'the safe ciggarette'? Have them go out of business?

Almost every person whose opposition is as great as yours, wants to see the people punished. Those affected by drinking, will not want Miller Lite to make another beer, those affected by smoking wants to go after the makers, I suppose there are those for every potentially bad thing, from candy and soda pop.

But it brings me back to the question: you have stated what you want to do...to show the lies, deceptions and persons responsible for this long time problem. But 1) what do you want to see ultimatly accomplished and 2) should such an answer to question, in fringe upon mine and Tricia's right to smoke (that is if you see it as a right)?

I look forward to hearing your answer to this post, and several others, Im sure in the future.

Best Regards,

Sean
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Peter Mork



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am confused by this post; I see nothing on this site that suggests the book's author wishes to ban cigarettes or any tobacco product. I believe this book is more a history of marketing that happens to focus on cigarettes, which is certainly a product that has been fiercely promoted, and the changing strategy of this promotion as the hazards of the product have entered the public consciousness.

That smoking is bad for you is not disputed, but I don't think Mr. Brandt is wagging a finger at anyone who smokes; this is a case study.

To Mr. Brandt, I heard your interview on WBZ and intend to read your book soon.
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LightSmoker



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Mr. Morks Comments Reply with quote

I wanted to wait until Mr. Brandt had an opportunity to respond, but being that your comments was directed at my post, than I thought I should post now, having read your comment.

Mr. Mork, I never even suggested nor implied that it was Mr. Brandt's wishes to ban ciggarettes, however, knowing the the little you must about the book and his position, you do have to wonder. I was responding to the post of Tricia's who felt persectuted as a smoker.

I wanted to see how Mr. Brandt responded to the idea of just banning cigarettes, which is something I could infer by the 600 page book Im holding that all but tears the cigarette companies apart through thier deception and lies. Mr. Mork, would you belive that, though Mr. Brandt had just written his lifelong work on the deceptions and lies of the tobacco company, still would suggest that he wouldn't be for some ban? Honestly, I don't know to what extent he would be either...that's why I asked him.

I dont see what part you could be "confused" about. In his introduction, he spends paragraphs on the the numbers of tobacco deaths, its growing use around the world, and the difficulty's in quitting. How can you be confused about asking a man who holds all of these beliefs (not to mention several others) and not just siimply ask him if banning cigarettes would be the reasoned thing to do?

Mr. Mork, instead of being so sure of yourself as to what his response would be, before even owning the book, why don't you just wait to see what his reponse his?
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Allan Brandt



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks for these interesting posts and questions.

I would not be for banning cigarettes. That said, I think a smoke-free society is a worthy goal. Certainly, adults have a right to use cigarettes. But we know that most smokers begin when they are underage and develop a powerful dependence on nicotine in cigarettes.

As a result, I would support public policies that help to prevent kids and adolescents from taking up smoking. And I support policies and resources that will assist adults who wish to stop to do so. In this regard, I was very supportive of the national cessation program that Dr. Michael Fiore proposed as a remedy in the Department of Justice's RICO case against the companies (in which I testified as an expert witness). I would support more intensive regulation of tobacco advertising.

It also seems important to me that the companies be held appropriately accountable for the deceit and deceptions that that have propagated for more than half a century. There is no question that the companies have gotten virtually a free-pass from Congress. No other such dangerous product has so successfully eluded serious regulation. Rather than attacking smokers, we should direct our attention at the companies and their illegal behaviors. The judge in the RICO case found the companies to have committed a massive fraud upon the American people. The companies cannot deny and evade the history I detail in my book.

In short, I think we could have a more far-reaching and successful tobacco control policy.

AB
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blainefielding



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:33 pm    Post subject: Why Cigarettes Will Not Be Banned. Reply with quote

It seems to me there is a serious omission here. Cigarettes are not going to banned for the simple reason that governments make far more profits off the sale of cigarettes than the tobacco companies do. Legislators and bureaucrats do not give up lucrative tax sources. They are as addicted to cigarettes as smokers.

Governments-Federal and state- have been complict with the tocaco industry since Virginia was a colony. And now more than ever. The wave of lawsuits against the companies-led in part by the governor of my state- are an exercise in fraud and deceit. They have simply raised the price of cigarettes and made the government a partner of the companies.

Moreover, a ban would be no more effective than the governments' lamentable "war on drugs". Indeed, I wonder if smokers would not be better off if cigarettes were banned. If smoking went 'under the table' it might well become cheaper as free enterprise takes over.

Blaine in Seattle
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rovineagle2



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that you think it's no one's business but yours. Perhaps your family or those who care about you think differently. I cared greatly as each one of many members of my family died horrible deaths due to lung cancer after many years of smoking. Their suffering and my grief were and are substantial.

Many things - including your smoking - are not just about you.

Kat
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LightSmoker



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reccomend Jacob Sullum's book to be read along with this book, although Mr. Brandt has yet to comment on the book on my post from last week.

My decision to smoke is my decision. My fathers decision not to is his decision. My grandfather decision to quit is his decision. I am not suggesting that people don't greive when people die from tobacco deaths, but we must not lose perspective.

Many smokers do not die horrible deaths; many smokers do live into thier 60's and 70's dying from smoking, but not in a way the last post always described.

Are we really going to play the guilt game? Should I not drink because of liver cancer? Ride in car because of an accident? Now I know, one can easily argue those as comparison, but I am not comparing them so much as stating the fact that we all decide to do things that puts risks in our life. And it is our choice to do so. An anti-smoker, as much as rovineagle sounds like, does not seem to see this. All they are interested is discriminating against smokers and highlighting the absolute worse case scenerios? Shall I list the many smokers I know, and those famous, who smoked much of thier lives, died after 70, and no where described it being a "horrible" death?
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Allan Brandt



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for not responding sooner to your question about Jacob Sullum. Of course I am familiar with his work. Essentially Sullum sees no role for public health on issues that he considers "simply" a matter of individual behavior.

As you suggest, my view is radically different. Smoking is rarely simply a matter of informed individual choice. Sullum does not like to focus on the fact that most smokers now begin as children or adolescents, and they underestimate both the long range dangers of smoking and the difficulty of stopping. Sullum also doesn't accept the now clear scientific evidence that secondhand smoke poses important health risks to non-smokers.

When did you begin smoking? Was it truly a reasoned decision in which you had the opportunity to evaluate carefully the overwhelming medical and scientific evidence of its harms? Some points in your post sound defensive. Of course some smokers live to advanced ages, but many do not. Many develop serious diseases and smoking is often a cause of death. Many of these deaths as the earlier post points out entail considerable suffering. Reducing smoking would greatly benefit the public health. As my book makes explicit (and the RICO ruling attests) the tobacco companies have acted with impunity to promote a deadly product, all the while (until most recently) aggressively denying those very risks.

You may decide to continue to smoke, but smoking is highly addictive and leads to a wide range of diseases.

My position is not to blame or attack smokers, but rather to explain the powerful forces that have led so many to take up this very dangerous product and behavior.

Certainly, if you wish to continue to smoke that is your business, but there are critically important public health and policy issues associated with smoking.
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LightSmoker



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I Have very carefully read your reply. I am glad to see that you are atleast familer with Sullum's work, despite not mentioning it anywhere in your book. Let me first ask though, because of what you wrote, has his book been discredited by the majority? Is it akin to reading one 500 page view that the earth is flat and the grass is blue?

I agree with you, in the sense that is does seem as if I am simplfiying the problem and not carefully considering the consequences. The overwhelming evidence does suggest that if I do continue, I will soon regret it. I still think though, that the post of rovinegle2, to which I was responding too, overstated the case, but perhaps in your mind, it doesnt, which leads me to my next question.

I saw your c-span appearence, which was nice, in the sense, I have now seen and heard you speak for a long period time, not just a little bio in the book and leaving messages back and forth. I am most grateful that you have put this dialouge together, and seem to be really intersted in what people say. I was hesitat to do this, because of how people are, they get busy and perhaps do not tend such as matters as this. You, however, don't feel that way, and I am getting great benfit from it.

I do have a question, that came to mind as I watched you on C-span answering the question of banning ciggarettes outright, and you have discussed it here as well. In your responses, you come short of wishing their was a ban and citing other areas that should be attended to first, that, I suppose, is if of greater importance, but could lead, in the long run to a ban.

Let me see if I can ask this in such a way that has not been asked of you, that I know of, that might give me the answer that I havent heard you really say: Is the reason why you do not favor a total ban of ciggarettes due to the fact that you would be advocating something you know yourself is never going to happen?

I ask this, and no doubt you have been asked about it in one way or another many times, because its seems odd to me, a man who has put as much time and as much work as you have to really prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the tobacco companies are guilty of a serious crime, morally, if not legally, and yet you, and others who take your position, rarely wanna play the jury and sentence them. In essence, you have found them guilty, but hesitant to attribtue any sort of punishment. So, if you concede what I just said, let me phrase my questions based on that: 1) what stops advocates such as yourself by placing a "jury sentance" if you will and advocate doing something about it. You said in C-span, and as you have written here, that you are more interested in informing the public, and showing the bad side of the companies. With all respect, havent you done that? Hasn't your book, in essence, won the trial? You have done everything a good lawyer has: you have picked a worthy defendent, put them on trial for a series of 'crimes' (indecent, immoral practices) and with your book, as I sure hope you feel, have found them guilty of all charges.

In your last post even, you write how the companies have acted with impunity to promote this deadly prouduct. I guess, to ask the question another, simpler way, is by addressing something you just wrote in your post: 'Reducing smoking would greatly benefit the public health'.

Wouldn't anyother writer of such a book who put in as much time and effort as you have, write about (perhaps smoking) but certainly any other topic they feel as strongly as you do, write "by eliminating smoking, the persons opportunity to smoke, we would not only greatly benefit the public health, but take it to sights unseen in any other time in this country, and in fact, perhaps history?

As always,

Sean

(I will address the questions about me next post...Ive written to much as it is)
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Allan Brandt



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My own interest in the tobacco epidemic is to try to define those approaches and policies most likely to have an impact on reducing tobacco use. I am most interested in policies that are both politically possible and practical.

As a result, I do not think a ban would work. But, that said, there is much that could be done to prevent kids and adolescents from taking up cigarettes, as well as assisting smokers who want to quit to do so.

The health benefits of quitting for current smokers are well documented in the medical literature.

I find that I am very sympathetic with rovineagle's post. As I have been traveling to talk about the book many have approached me to explain the losses of family and friends as a result of cigarette-induced diseases. We now know that about 100 million people around the world died from using cigarettes in the last hundred years. As a result, almost everyone knows someone who has been addicted to tobacco and suffered dire health consequences.

As you suggest, I believe the tobacco industry bears a great responsibility for the epidemic, and should be held accountable.

AB
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LightSmoker



Joined: 07 Apr 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for addessing my question. I'm sorry that it may seem that I took my "ask the author" opportuinty to its fullest. I am in the third chapter now, and learning new things with every page. I shall now digest what you written, keep in my mind what you have said, and now read and listen, and less talking and asking.

Again, its been a privlidge.
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Pepe Lepew



Joined: 03 May 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, Allan, I'm about halfway through your book.
I lost a dad, a four pack-a-day smoker, to lung cancer when I was 16 and he was 49. My mom has continued to smoke, has had a heart attack and is currently in rapidly declining health from COPD. She has to be periodically hospitalized for pneumonia. I grew up with chronic bronchitis and upper respiratory infections as a kid from my parents' smoke, so as far as I'm concerned, cigarettes have really decimated my family. One of the ways I'm trying to deal with the grief of watching what's happening to my mom is by starting up an anti-tobacco blog.
To the question of "who cares," I guess I care, because I've seen first-hand what cigarettes do to people and their families, and no one should have to go through that. Like Al Gore said in "An Inconvenient Truth" "That (Lung cancer) is not a way you want to die."
I also agree with you, Allan, that attacking smokers is unproductive and making tobacco illegal wouldn't solve the issue (Though I would argue from a moral and ethical standpoint, it probably *ought* to be illegal -- unfortunately, it's just not remotely practical.). I hate cigarettes, but not smokers. I think most smokers are pretty self-conscious about the habit and they know they're choosing to put their health at risk, and I believe deep down inside, most smokers regret ever taking it up as teenagers.
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Allan Brandt



Joined: 06 Mar 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for this post. A number of people have written to me since the book came out to tell me stories of smoking, death, and disease in their families caused by smoking. I agree with you that many smokers today greatly regret having taken up smoking as kids.

Telling your story is very helpful, because it is a powerful reminder of the impact of smoking and role the industry has played in so much disease and suffering. And it is also a reminder that we can act to reduce these risks.

As you suggest, there are fundamental moral, ethical, and legal issues when an industry produces and promotes such a deadly product.

AB
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