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California Supports Big Tobacco

If you're in CA, you might have seen some "no on prop 29" ads. And if you pay a little attention, you'd notice a "major funding by Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company" message (youtube). The SF Chronicle editorial on the issue and that ad in particular:

It's amazing how many deceptions can be packed into 30 seconds. For starters, the implication that physicians oppose Prop. 29 drew immediate repudiation from the president of the California Medical Association, who urged voters to "see past the smokescreen of Big Tobacco."

Not only do physicians in general support Prop 29, it seems that doctor in the ad was the only actual MD they could find to support them, and who is a suspicious character, at the very least:

Porter's appearance in the ads sparked a protest at the 196-bed San Joaquin General Hospital near Stockton, where she has worked for two years. The protest was organized by Carol McGruder, the co-leader of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council, who has demanded that Porter divulge how much she has been paid by Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. The tobacco giants have thrown $20 million into the campaign with a month to go before the June 5 election.

Also having appeared as a spokesperson for Big Tobacco once before in 2006.

Here's an LA Times article which expands a little on Dr. Americo Simonini, the one who declined the money back then.

When a casting call went out for a doctor-actor to read a commercial, Simonini auditioned and the producers liked what they saw. But then Simonini realized what he'd be doing: siding with the tobacco industry.

Like many healthcare experts, Simonini believes the tobacco tax, being pushed mainly by hospitals, would dissuade some people -- particularly children -- from smoking.

"I'm a cardiologist. I can't do this," Simonini said.

And speaking of the LA Times, in their (rather disingenuos to me) editorial, they have come out against Prop 29, but there's a caveat:

Tobacco companies are contributing more than $20 million to the campaign to defeat Proposition 29, outspending the pro-tax campaign — which is supported by bicycling star and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong — by more than 5 to 1. We couldn't disagree more with their reasons for doing so, and it makes us uncomfortable to agree with them at all

(Emphasis mine.)

And what do you think? Just like one of the commenters predicted:

Did it never occur to the nimrods at the LA Times that their "Vote No" editorial would find its way into the tobacco industry's disinformative commercials?

And of course, there's this [image]. (From



I commend this book

"Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition" by Proctor, Robert N.

Every trick in the 'fool the people' book has been perfected by the cigarette folks.


Does he really make a good argument for the banning of cigarettes, though? I don't think there's been a good track record on the banning of addictive substances, including weed and hard street drugs.

Taxes, yes. Abolition? Oh yeah, that'll work.

Actually, education and Healthcare might be the best bet.

Remember how that helped middle class people?

Now that its majority poor people there is this push to kill use through higher and higher taxes along with bans and prohibitions.

Some will quite but it will also serve to help the Poor and Sick become broke and dead.

Most of what I found interesting in Proctor's book was the manner in which Academia, and politicians were co-opted, and the population duped by big tobacco, not to mention the degree to which kids were/are indeed targeted to start. With respect to abolition, his main argument is that unlike weed, folks who smoke tobacco wish they didn't, and unlike weed, it's so addictive, and so dangerous.

Sure, but you can say the same thing and worse about other, illegal, drugs, and their prohibition is questionable at the very least.

I'll stipulate that most smokers wish they didn't smoke. (Over the age of 25 anyway - of course they rarget the young!). I suspect that most of them (now) believe that smoking is a dangerous and addictive habit. If expense and and the prospect of premature death doesn't prevent people from smoking, what makes you think illegality will?

Prohibition is not my position, but that of the author. I support ending of the drug war, not adding to it's victims. I was simply trying to describe this guy's argument for it.

What was important in this book, I thought, was just how nefarious the techniques used by the cigarette companies to manipulate opinion, encourage new (young) addicts, defend themselves through use of 'purchased' academics to create doubt regarding nicotine's dangers, and basically lie, cheat and steal in the name of free enterprise. It is a handbook now followed by 'Climate Change Deniers', 'Frackers', and ''Safe' Herbicides on Food products' advocates. The campaign against Prop 29 is right out of that handbook.


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