Yes, Because R.J. Reynolds Peddles Slow Death for Profit

smoking-kidLong piece from CNN about the latest farce in the “no, we only fight those other bad drugs” saga. R J. Reynolds — the friendly people who have brought the joys of cancer to so many people for so many years with impunity and the explicit blessing of their friends in Congress — have realized that it is time to shake things up. With Joe Camel forcibly retired and the look of a cigarette dangling from your lips about as attractive and socially desirable as genital warts, they’ve decided to go with a sure winner: candy. Mmm, nicotine in your breath mints. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, first of all, CNN goes into much detail about a study from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the Harvard School of Public Health that shows the inherent risk to kids from the ingestion of these little nuggets of addiction. A spokeshack from R.J. Reynolds is then given the opportunity to strike a pose of mock indignation and claim that, gosh, they’ve done everything they could to prevent kids from getting their hands on this stuff, so really, it’s all the parent’s fault if it happens.

But thankfully, CNN isn’t fooled this time, and they go on to state that:

While accidental infant poisonings are certainly cause for concern, purposeful ingestion of smokeless tobacco products by kids and teens may be a larger problem, [assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School] Winickoff points out. As the study notes, the use of smokeless tobacco products among adolescents increased 6 percent per year from 2002 to 2006.

Well, by jove, methinks they may inadvertently have stumbled on something here. Could it be that R.J. Reynolds are first and foremost concerned with getting a new generation of tweens hooked on a “cool” nicotine vehicle? After all, if their existing customers are dying more rapidly than most precisely because they’re smokers, then R.J. Reynolds and friends have all the more reason to fill the pipeline at the other end. Doesn’t take a lot of imagination on the part of a scrupulous marketing hack in North Carolina to realize that the best way to get kids is with candy. Works for pedophiles, it’ll probably work for drug peddlers, too. Birds of a feather… So, yes, it’s pretty bad when a four-year-old accidentally eats a bag of Joe Camel jelly beans, but it’s not really a whole lot better when his teenage brother decides that those jelly beans aren’t really like smoking, and they’re awfully cool and surely not made for adults because, hey, it’s candy… Congratulations, R.J. Reynolds, you’ve got yourself a real winner here. Too bad the nicotine is still addictive and lethal — but, then, that’s your core business model, isn’t it?

Of course, if the same hypocrites (cough, Obama, cough) who laugh at the thought of reforming our current counter-productive and failed “war on drugs” really cared about, you know, drugs, then they’d put R.J. Reynolds on the same list as the Cali Cartel and Pablo Escobar. But since R.J. Reynolds has lobbyists and pretty much owns the congressional delegations from the South, a move to outlaw tobacco would require the kind of courage that’s sorely lacking among Democrats.