Regardless of how you (the consumer) chooses to smoke, chew, etc. tobacco, there is a clear printed warning label on the product you have chosen to use. The Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1984 forced cigarette producers to put a warning label from the US Surgeon General on all cigarette packages (Moore, "Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965: Major Acts of Congress."). Most recently in 2009, The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act made significant changes to the tobacco scene. This act made it possible for the FDA to regulate the content, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Both of these act's have contributed to the well being of consumers by helping to warn them of the risks of the product they are about to consume. In the US alone, about one of five deaths are related to tobacco use, with a total of about 443,000 deaths per year resulting just from tobacco use ("CDC - Fact Sheet - Tobacco-Related Mortality - Smoking & Tobacco Use."). The tobacco companies are producing a harmful product, but it is the consumers choice to purchase and use the product knowing that the product has been proven to be unhealthy.
The use of tobacco is not required or suggested in the United States of America nor is it in any other country on planet Earth. Therefore, it is the choice of the consumer to use the product despite the fact that there are clear warning labels on the products warning people of the risks of using the product. I feel that by choosing to use a product that clearly states and warns the consumer of what consequences may follow after using the specific product, this decision thus waives all responsibility of the producer for the consumers future health, well being, etc. If a person chooses to do something and has been warned prior to making their choice about the possible consequences, then they should be held responsible for their own actions. That same principle is how I believe tobacco users should be viewed if they begin to have health problems or die from using the product they chose to use. Studies have shown that tobacco users tend to die an average of 13-14 years earlier when compared to people who choose not to use tobacco ("CDC - Fact Sheet - Tobacco-Related Mortality - Smoking & Tobacco Use."). The facts about tobacco and the negative effects it has on the human body are public and very much available to anyone who wishes to see them. All it takes is a quick trip to your local hospital to learn about tobacco use or even just a simple search on the world wide web.
Aside from choosing to use the product there are also ways for a consumer to stop using tobacco and start a new independent life, away from harmful tobacco products. Many companies have developed ways to help users cut the habit and quit smoking, chewing, etc. Nicotine is a chemical used in tobacco, mainly cigarettes, which slowly causes the user to become addicted. This chemical is what can kill a person who chooses to smoke because it makes it hard for the person to break the habit of smoking or using tobacco. Companies have developed patches, gums and other products to try and help people who are addicted to the Nicotine to be able to get their fix in a less harmful way. These patches, gums and other ways of getting Nicotine into the body work by giving the body about a third of what it would get if the person were to be smoking a cigarette ("Nicotine Patches, Gum, and Inhalers for Quitting Smoking."). This is just one way a tobacco user can try to stop using and begin a healthier lifestyle.
Aside from this situation being directly associated with the consumers choice to use the product, tobacco companies also produce these products using addictive chemicals, knowing that the consumer can become addicted and thus possibly suffer from severe health problems in the future. Many can also argue that the tobacco companies take advantage of young people and attempt to advertise towards them so they can begin using the product before they have any knowledge of how bad it actually is. In 2009, Congress and the FDA passed a law which restricted the tobacco companies ability to advertise their products to the younger people of America (Layton, "New FDA Rules Will Greatly Restrict Tobacco Advertising and Sales."). As much as it is the consumers choice to use the product being produced, some can also put the blame onto the tobacco companies for producing these products to begin with.
With new legislation in place and a more informed generation beginning to emerge in the United States of America, tobacco companies may soon begin to have a harder time finding a consumer who is willing to use their product on a daily basis. The companies who produce tobacco products knowingly generate goods which they know can harm the consumers health. However, the consumers are also aware of these risk factors and are warned visually with labels printed on all of the tobacco products they choose to purchase. A tobacco user has the choice to use or not to use the product available to them and also has the choice to quit using the product with assistance from other companies who produce Nicotine substitutes. The blame for tobacco related deaths can be put on either party. However, I feel that if someone chooses to use or do something after being warned of the possible consequences, then it is now their responsibility for whatever may happen in the future due to the product they chose to use.