Merchants of Doubt

While now the jig is up for the tobacco industry, introducing the concept of “doubt” gave them enough time to secure billions of addicted customers. Documents now prove they knew tobacco caused cancer in the 1950s; in 1960 they realized it caused heart disease and was addictive.  Fearful of their findings, they hired a public relations specialist in 1953 who suggested they cast doubt.  The hired “independent” pseudo- scientists kept the doubt machine churning.  After 50 years of production, in 2012 a Federal judge ruled they lied. Now the four major tobacco companies are paying over 200 billion in settlements, yet they are still spreading misinformation about the dangers of second-hand smoke.  The 2006 Surgeon General’s Report clearly states exposure to second-hand smoke causes premature death and disease of non-smokers and no ventilation system eliminates that risk.  Fortunately, there is a strong national trend toward restaurants, bars and work sites going smoke-free state-wide; many municipalities in Missouri have smoke-free ordinances.  Unfortunately the town where I live, Boonville, lags behind putting our workers, visitors and citizens at risk.

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