This archived article was written by: Chris Kiahtipes
What if you were to find out that there is a health problem that affects 61 percent of Americans and is the direct cause of 300,000 deaths (in 2000)? What if you found out that some of the major causes of these health problems are legally used by and often target children? In fact 13 percent of children ages 6-11 suffer from this serious health problem. It is likely that most of you suffer from a less serious, but similar addictive tendency that leads to health risk. In fact, you can live a day feeling like a drug addict by doing only one thing; giving up unnatural sugar.
Take a day and drink only water, eat only natural foods, and give your favorite fast food treat a break. You’ll discover that your addiction to various foods and flavors is overwhelming. Just giving up unnatural sugars (sugars that do not occur in the food or drink naturally) seems impossible for most. So now you know about the problem. You now know that fast food, soda, snack foods, and candy all contribute in a significant way to adult and childhood obesity. And you know that your government is doing nothing about it. In fact, the government taxes your addiction and spends it dropping bombs on poor people in the Near East.
On the other hand, Americans are constantly bombarded by antitobacco advertising. There are posters in every mall, school, and major gathering place. Television ads play every day on all of the major networks. Many organizations recruit volunteers to serve as “peer counselors” who encourage youth not to smoke. Tobacco is blamed for 440,000 deaths per year and just under $100 billion in medical spending.
Despite all of this, somewhere around 23 percent of all American adults smoke. Many of the antitobacco ads come under the heading of “truth”. This would make one assume that their claims are accurate and that they are a whole picture. Antitobacco advertising is actually as far from the “truth” as is possible. Every fact and detail is twisted to make tobacco companies sound evil. Whereas those who purchase tobacco products are those truly responsible for the problem. Simply, it is their choice, their life and their eventual death.
Should hard earned tax dollars go to pay for a television advertisement to change their minds? No. Tax dollars need to go to education, books, and welfare. Ideally, it is the voters who decide the issues and place people in positions of power. Ideally, it is the dog who wags its tail, not the tail that wags the dog. America, you are being used, and the dog is clearly being wagged.
The days of ideals are long over. The moral decision can no longer be trusted to those above us. Morality is a judgement of the individual and a right that only the individual can protect.
There is a clear discrepancy in the moral standing of our government and even ourselves. We are willing to wage war on drugs and big tobacco because they are evil and unhealthy, but we are more than willing to buy our kids a greasy burger and fries because we are simply too lazy and stupid to cook. We even eat there ourselves because we just do not have time to cook between Oprah and Dr. Phil (who conveniently will tell us how to lose those pounds we’re adding).
The real power over addiction doesn’t lie in clever advertising or reverse peer pressure. The real power lies in the individual. Big tobacco only has power and sway in the federal government because we, the voters, have made it an issue.
If tobacco is not an issue, then they will not lobby, and they will stop contributing so heavily to the Republican Party. The truth is that addiction is a big part of American culture and you are the only one who can do anything about it.