Top-Rated Free Essay

Tobacco Industry

Topics: Tobacco, Nicotine / Pages: 7 (2020 words) / Published: Feb 23rd, 2015
Riley Joliet
Matt Vallus
Research Paper
February 23, y
Tobacco Industry Tobacco, a plant that is today looked at with a slight hint of disgust by most, has a long history in America. The tobacco plant, native to north and south America (apart from a few obscure species originating in Australia), has existed as far back as 6,000 B.C. (Randall). This plant once played a large role in the culture of Native Americans; it existed in ceremonies, healing practices, and religious rituals. After America was discovered by Europe, it made it’s way over to Europe and eventually made its way around the entire. As of this day and age, tobacco is seen on nearly every street corner being smoked by someone who looks like they’ve had their fare share of living. In the eyes of Native Americans tobacco was seen as so much more than just a plant. It was a spiritual plant; it was the “unifying thread of communication between humans and the spiritual powers” (Skinner). It was believed that the spirits were highly fond of tobacco and the only way it was obtained by these spiritual beings was through smoke or ceremonial offerings from the Native Americans. While there was no official modern government in Native American tribes, tobacco was still used in a way of governing. Tobacco was used as peace treaties between tribes. A chief of a tribe might have what was called a “peace pipe.” It was encouraged for two individuals in a disagreement, or at a larger scale, two disputing tribes’s leaders, to smoke together with the peace pipe to solve their quarrel. Outside of the government standpoint, but rather as a day by day practical use, there is significant evidence of Native Americans using tobacco, mixed with chalk or lime, as a toothpaste (Charlton). While it was a major part of culture, tobacco was not used every day (other than it toothpaste, of course), but rather it was reserved for special occasions. Before Columbus came to America in 1492, tobacco had not yet spread to other parts of the world. The explorers returned to Europe with the newfound plant and it quickly was adopted by rich and poor alike as a drug of choice. While it was banned at first by monarchs and popes, its economic effects and broad popularity forced acceptance among all cultures. It quickly spread throughout the world and played a large role in the growth of the American economy (Young). Before the cigarette making machine, however, smoking did not become a widespread habit. The cigarette making machine was invented in 1881 by James Bonsack; it could make a whopping 120,000 cigarettes in a single day. Bonsack was to go into business with James Duke. James Duke and his father, Washington Duke, later started the first official tobacco company in the United states: The American Tobacco Industry (Jacobs). Tobacco has always had huge economic success when introduced throughout the world. Tobacco has been a cash crop in America since the first colonists settled here. In fact, many historians have said America would not exist as we know it without the original routes of tobacco here. While there are significant health risks with tobacco, it is an essential part of the American economy. In 2011, the huge sum of 17,653,708,000 dollars were collected in revenue from taxation on cigarettes (Tobacco Tax Revenue). Apart from this immediate benefit of the taxes, it also dissuades people, particularly youth, to smoke. “Every 10 percent increase in the price of cigarettes reduces consumption by about 4 percent among adults and about 7 percent among youth” (Tauras). In 1914 Federal Trade Commission Act was introduced, and it was later amended in the year of 1938. This empowered the FTC to prevent deceptive practices of advertisement to gain profit. The FTC completed seven formal cease and desist order proceedings for claims of health benefits from the years 1945 to 1960. One example being the case of Kool cigarettes claiming to cure and/or prevent the common cold, which was frankly untrue. On top of this, the FTC made companies with “additive free tobacco” to make the distinction that “Additive free tobacco does not mean a safer cigarette” (CDC). The tobacco industry is a prime example of showing that money is power. Cigarette companies are able to hide how much damage is actually caused by cigarettes with their immense amount of power over the media. A case of America vs big tobacco industries came to a few conclusions. Over the course of more than 50 years, defendants lied, misrepresented and deceived the American public, including smokers and the young people they avidly sought as replacement smokers, about the devastating health effects of smoking (
Before this the tobacco companies had gotten away with covering up the truth for decades, ending many people’s lives because of them not being properly informed. In another case of tobacco companies weaseling out of things, they got out of being listed in the Federal Food and Drug Law. The first Federal Food and Drug Law was passed in 1906. Tobacco was originally in the 1890s edition but was deleted in the 1905 edition in exchange for support from tobacco-state members of Congress for passage of the law (Connolly). With the amount of corruption that comes hand in hand with the tobacco industry, it is extremely surprising that tobacco is even legal at this point. Even more surprising still, only within the last fifty years has it been a law to have a warning label on cigarettes. “In 1964 the Surgeon General of the U.S. [the chief doctor for the country) wrote a report about the dangers of cigarette smoking. He said that the nicotine and tar in cigarettes cause lung cancer” (Jacobs). This was the first time that there was a clear answer to the question of whether there was harm caused by cigarettes. In 1965 the Congress of the U.S. passed the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act. It stated that every cigarette pack must have a warning on the side stating "Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health" (Jacobs). One might wonder how many lives were lost because of people not knowing cigarettes were slowly killing them. While the labels made a difference, Congress started a new approach in the year 1984: The Comprehensive Smoking Education Act, also known has the Rotational Warning Act. This was a national program that would make tobacco industries rotate the surgeon general’s warning labels on their cigarettes every three months to one of four options: 1. SURGEON GENERAL 'S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy. 2. SURGEON GENERAL 'S WARNING: Smoking by Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, and Low Birth Weight. 3. SURGEON GENERAL 'S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide. 4. SURGEON GENERAL 'S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health (United States House of Representatives)
The purpose of this act was to “provide a new strategy for making Americans more aware of any adverse health effects of smoking, to assure the timely and widespread dissemination of research findings and to enable individuals to make informed decisions about smoking” (United States House of Representatives). On top of the rotating labels the act requires the Department of Health and Human Services to publish a biennial status report to Congress on smoking and health, thus causing new research on tobacco to become available. The act created a “Federal Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health” which coordinates Department of Health and Human Services ' research, educational programs, and other smoking and health efforts it also coordinates efforts with other federal, state, local, and private agencies. The act also requires every cigarette industry to provide a confidential list of ingredients added to cigarettes manufactured in or imported into the United States. While the act has achieved a lot in its efforts to make people aware of the dangers of cigarettes, some things seem to be unnecessary. The rotating labels are almost pointless. There was already a label, changing the label every three months won’t do anything to persuade people to quit smoking. Two years later, the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1986 was introduced. This act was very similar to the one in 1984, however there are some distinct differences. Smokeless tobacco products (chewing tobacco, vapor pens, etc.) now had to have labels on them saying they were not necessarily a safe alternative to regular tobacco products. It prohibited the advertisement of tobacco products on television and radio. This part of the act seems to violate freedom of speech and really hinders tobacco companies to sell their products and produce profit. The rest of the act is the same as the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1984 except that it now applies to all smokeless tobacco products (CDC). In 2009, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, made it illegal for any flavor to be added to cigarettes. The reason for this was to make an effort to get young people to not smoke cigarettes. It seems a little odd that in order to prevent people from smoking the harmful substance tobacco they would take out the flavor. One would think that it would make more sense to take out the harmful part rather than the part that just makes it taste good. An even better alternative would be to find a safe alternative for people. Many herbs can be smoken other than tobacco, but could still leave the social aspect that draws many people in. Cigars have significantly less regulation than other tobacco products. They are not even required to have a warning label, nor are the companies required to report to congress regularly. The only true federal regulation of cigars is within advertisement: the Little Cigar Act of 1973 banned “little cigar” advertisements from television and radio. Regular sized cigars are actually still allowed in advertisements to this day. Tobacco has played a large role in America since the beginning. Despite the many health risks, Americas economy relies on the industry. As with any highly debatable topic, there is much dispute on if tobacco should even be legal. However, America has tried its hardest to prevent more people from smoking, but because tobacco has such deep routes in the country, we couldn 't live without it.
Works Cited

CDC. "Selected Actions of the U.S. Government Regarding the Regulation of Tobacco Sales, Marketing, and Use." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 Nov. 2012. Web. < by_topic/policy/legislation/>.

Charlton, Anne, PhD. "Medicinal Uses of Tobacco in History." The National Center for Biotechnology Information. Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine, n.d. Web. <>.

Connolly, Gregory N. "Policies Regulating Cigars." Cancer Control. N.p., n.d. Web. <http:// m9_8.PDF>.

Jacobs, Marjorie. "From The First To Last Ash: The History, Economics, and History of Tobacco." History of Tobacco. Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs, n.d. Web. <http:/ Unit1/2history_of.html>.

PBS "Judge Finds Big Tobacco Guilty of Racketeering, Conspiracy." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. <http:// smoking_08-18.html>.

Randall, Vernellia R. "The History of Tobacco." The History of Tobacco. Boston University MedicalCenter, 31 Aug. 1999. Web. 07 Jan. 2014. < health/syllabi/tobacco/history.htm>.

Skinner, Alanson. "Ceremonial Use of Tobacco." Indian Country. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. <http://>.

Tauras, John A., PhD, Patrick M. O 'Malley, PhD, and Lloyd D. Johnston, PhD. "Effects of Price and Access Laws on Teenage Smoking Initiation: A National Longitudinal Analysis." Impacteen. University of Illinois at Chicago, Apr. 2001. Web. < generalarea_PDFs/AccessLaws.pdf>.

"Tobacco Tax Revenue." Tax Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. < displayafact.cfm?Docid=403>.

United States House of Representatives. 3979--98th Congress: “Comprehensive Smoking Education Act.” 1984.

Young, Jason. "The History of Tobacco and Its Growth Throughout the World." The History of Tobacco and Its Growth Throughout the World. Stanford, n.d. Web. < trade_environment/health/htobacco.html>.

Cited: Randall, Vernellia R. "The History of Tobacco." The History of Tobacco. Boston University MedicalCenter, 31 Aug. 1999. Web. 07 Jan. 2014. . Skinner, Alanson. "Ceremonial Use of Tobacco." Indian Country. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2014. . United States House of Representatives. 3979--98th Congress: “Comprehensive Smoking Education Act.” 1984.

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