The New England Journal of Medicine (April 12, 2007 Volume 356:1496) reports in an article "Making Smoking History" about the world wide effort to eliminate smoking. It reports that Ireland was the first country in history to pass a comprehensive indoor smoking ban in 2004. Overwhelming public support in Ireland for the ban followed from smokers and nonsmokers both to the surprise of most people. South Africa passed national laws in 2000 baning smoking in public places with some exemptions for restaurants and bars. New Zealand has also adopted smoking restrictions. Other countries have done the same and Australia as well as Canada are posed to adopt bans on smoking as well. It was California, in 1998, that was the first state to adopt smoke free policies for restaurants and bars and many states as well as municipalities have done the same. Washington is a non smoking state where smoking indoors in any facility is illegal.
The tobacco industry over it’s long history has spent many billions to prevent legislation which would limit or prohibit smoking or advertising smoking from being adopted. The industry has spent a fortune marketing smoking as an attractive activity especially among the under eighteen year olds. Did you know the tobacco industry paid movie makers to show their products being smoked and for shots of their products? Or that they deliberately targeted children as young as tweleve years old because they found that once someone begins smoking they tend to be addicted and tend to stay with the brand they are used to smoking. They actually made studies on how to best market to this group of youngsters.
Smoking is and always has been addicting due to the nicotine in the tobacco and is a killer drug as well. Even though smokers will vividly recall the terrible taste and coughing they experienced with their first cigarette, the industry marketed the product as a refreshing exercise. Who can forget Winston’s famous "Winston’s taste good, like a cigarette should" advertising which was not just bad grammar but an outright lie. For years they lied to the Surgeon General and concealed the medical evidence showing smoking caused cancer, disease and death. The industry targeted children, women and minority groups to replace the smokers who died from using the product and those who had the good sense to give up smoking. They fraudulently advertised light, filtered and low tar cigarettes which they knew in actual practice yielded the same if not more tar and nicotine as unfiltered, normal cigarettes. They secretly added chemicals to enhance the addiction levels and otherwise misled smokers with their fraudulent "scientific" reports about it’s health damage leading to death from smoking.
As one of the attorneys representing the State of Washington in its lawsuit against the tobacco industry, I can tell you from first hand knowledge, the evidence about the industry lies, cover up and the cancer causing connection to smoking was overwhelming. It revealed that for years the tobacco industry relied upon lies, fraud, cover up and even criminal concealment to avoid legal restrictions and civil damage lawsuits against it. The American people were sold a bag of goods by the tobacco industry while it pushed it’s addictive drug. The industry was fully aware for years that tobacco was addictive, was causing disease and death, and yet did everything they could to conceal the facts from government as well as the American public. The increasing awareness of the health hazard from this drug is good for America