Cigarettes - Addiction and Product Dangers

It is clear that businesses have an obligation to inform their customers about their product's ingredients and dangers. Looking at the case of Rose Cipollone we see that she was a heavy smoker. Her doctor's had to remove part of her right cancerous lung and informed her that she had to quit smoking. Unfortunately, she was addicted. Her doctor's removed the rest of her lung that year and she finally quit smoking. She then sued the Liggett Group, the makers of the cigarettes she smoked. The lawsuit charged that the company knew of the link between cancer and smoking in the early 1940's. The company was found innocent of conspiring with other tobacco companies to hide the dangers of cigarette smoking but guilty on the grounds of falsely claiming its products were safe.

However, things have changed. It is not 1940 anymore, when people were ignorant about the dangers of smoking. Tobacco companies now have Surgeon General warnings on cigarette packs. Unless they have been living under a rock, the general public should have been exposed to enough information by this time when it comes to cigarettes and addiction. Nicotine information is but a click away. Tobacco companies should no longer have the obligation to warn their customers, except if a new ingredient is added, in which case they should be notified. No one is saying get rid of the Surgeon General warnings, but enough is enough! If a person wants to smoke 3 packs of cigarettes a day, then that is their choice; tobacco companies should not be held responsible.

Let us examine the hype surrounding the supposed danger and addition of nicotine. The Food and Drug Administration tells us that nicotine (the addictive drug found in cigarettes) is just as addictive as cocaine and should be illegal.

"Much of the rhetoric of the anti-smoking movement seeks to demonize tobacco smokers as "nicotine addicts". In the past, of course, the term "addict" has been generally applied only to mind-altering drugs, e.g., heroin and cocaine. Even alcohol, which is mind-altering, is not generally referred to as "additive". So, the argument is one of semantics. If nicotine is addictive, so are chocolate candies, pies and cakes, etc. Indeed, if "addiction" is defined as dependence upon some chemical, everyone is addicted, to air!"

Nicotine and cocaine are two different things. They may be just as addictive as each other but they certainly do not produce the same effect. Let us take a closer look at the properties of nicotine.

"Nicotine is a chemical, C10H 14N 2, which is found in the tobacco plant. Anti-smokers are quick to point out that pure nicotine is a poison, used as a pesticide. And it's true that pure nicotine (a colorless, odorous liquid) is poisonous. What that means is that to kill a 180-lb man, he'd have to drink about 80 mg of the stuff. Many other common substances, however, also have minimum lethal doses. According to the same source, ingesting a gram of caffeine is fatal.

Most of the nicotine in tobacco is lost in the process of smoking. Only a little finds its way into the smoker's bloodstream. That small quantity may account for some of the beneficial effects of smoking, e.g., improved mental concentration. Strangely, fine Havana cigars, when they were available, contained only 2% nicotine. If, in fact, nicotine is the reason why people smoke, it seems strange that people would pay enormous amounts of money for Havana cigars, which contain so little nicotine." (Colby, Chapter 11).

Nicotine is quite different from cocaine. Here are most of the effects of cocaine:

"The effects of any drug depend on several factors:

The amount taken at one time.
The user's past drug experience
The manner in which the drug is taken
The circumstances under which the drug is taken (the place, the user's psychological and emotional stability, the presence of other people, the simultaneous use of alcohol or other drugs, etc.).

Cocaine's short-term effects appear soon after a single dose and disappears within a few minutes or hours. Taken in small amounts (up to 100 mg), cocaine usually makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, talkative, and mentally alert - especially to the sensations of sight, sound, and touch. It can also temporarily dispel the need for food and sleep. Paradoxically, it can make some people feel contemplative, anxious, or even panic-stricken. Some people find that the