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Thread: The Story Of Tobacco In The US

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    The Story Of Tobacco In The US



    The tobacco plant is found in trace amounts in every Native American tribe's ancient remains, but is not found in prehistory human remains anywhere else on the planet.

    Tobacco imports from the North American continent to Europe were a driving force in the demand for cheap labor that helped fuel the African slave trade. The economies of the regions now known as the Mid-Atlantic states, where most US tobacco crop is grown today, have been almost indistinguishable from tobacco profits since the 1600's, and has influenced inter-government relations not just between US states but between various nations, influencing the geopolitics of the past and the present.

    IOW, it is not possible to study tobacco in America while failing to focus on the enormous wealth it has created, and the dozens of times that wealth has been "confiscated" by one means after another.

    Is cigarette smoking harmful? The current science leaves no doubt, tobacco has a deleterious effect on the smoker's body. What remains unknown is whether that damage is done if the human is not also exposed to coal dust, airborne pollutants, asbestos, etc. It is also still not know, as a scientific fact, which active ingredient in tobacco (or in the filters, etc. used in cigarette manufacture) is the disease agent, and exactly how that disease mechanism works. Science can see changes in smokers at the DNA level, but whether that is an actual disease mechanism or a mere artifact of use is not yet know.

    The main reason these scientific questions have not been answered to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty is, everyone involved has corrupted the science to advance an agenda that benefits them, usually by allowing them to acquire massive wealth confiscated from the tobacco companies and their farmers.

    The contributions of Native Americans in developing this plant have never been acknowledged. There has been almost no effort to allow the NAs to participate in the unbelievable wealth their cultivare has created around the world.

    Before WWII, the federal government's primary interest in tobacco iwa in protecting farmers from illegal, oppressive monopoly power wielded by the cigarette manufacturers. Price supports were still paid to tobacco farmers by the US government until the 1990's.

    Tobacco farming and production aggravates income inequality in every nation on earth, and that deleterious effect might not be modifiable even if every human on earth wished that were so. Tobacco creates a MASSIVE amount of wealth, but it is constantly moving from one "holder" to the next, usually in very destructive ways.

    By the 1960's all 50 US states had passed laws aimed at protecting tobacco farming. This is because all the states had grown extremely dependent on the revenues generated for them by taxing the sale of cigarettes. Unique among other products, one state could influence another by lowering or raising its cigarette excise tax, and so it was also a lynchpin in efforts to grow any state's economy.

    The federal excise tax on a package of cigarettes has remained the same since 1951. As of 2016, the states receive most of their sales taxes from taxes on cigarettes. The federal government has not derived any significant portion of its direct tax revenues from cigarettes since WWI.

    But to the states, sales taxes generally are the most, or second most, significant tax revenue stream they have (depending on whether that state imposes an income tax.)



    Of all sales tax collected, on average, states take in 25% from tobacco sales alone. IOW, tobacco is an enormous influencer of every states' budget.

    ENORMOUS. No other commodity in history can even begin to compare.

    In summary, states have been dependent on tobacco sales taxes to fund their governments since 1776 and that dependency today is more pronounced, not less.

    This answers one the enduring mysteries surrounding tobacco in America. If tobacco products are so harmful, why has the federal government never prohibited the sale of them inside the US? Why has the US not forbidden their export to other nations? Why has the US government never attempted to punish American tobacco companies for "targeted" ads, failure to warn, secreting evidence of dangerousness, etc. in any foreign country?

    The money, power and wealth that American tobacco has created since the 15th century can hardly be overstated. Even among the Native Americans, it was a form of currency and could be accumulated as wealth. The tobacco "MIdas Touch" is properly viewed as a river; it never stays in the same place for very long. Ity also has tributaries, some very considerable from a human point of view. It was partially the demand for cheap labor in the US tobacco-growing regions that fueled the evil African slave trade.

    After WWII, Americans had extremely positive attitudes towards tobacco use. The revenues ad agencies received for cigarette campaigns built the American advertising industry into a behemoth envied around the world. Hollywood films featured most adult characters as smokers. And more than half of all adult Americans smoked.

    This was a departure from the past. The health effects of tobacco use are widely agreed among scientists to vary tremendously, depending on how the tobacco is ingested. Between 1900 and the WWI, most tobacco was consumed as loose leaves, smoked by pipes. The tobacco companies deliberately promoted the new consumer behavior of smoking cigarettes because the tobacco farmers could not manufacture them for sale.

    Between WWI and today, the American public has developed such negative attitudes towards cigarettes smokers, tobacco companies, etc. that the lawsuits to claim damages during this period have paid out more than a TRILLION dollars, at least, and many billions more in attorney fees, etc. needed to conduct these suits. Despite these losses, the American tobacco companies are enormously profitable today even if that is measured only on US sales.

    Many foreign nations, Canada and the European Union have sued US tobacco companies for harm done their citizens, even as they themselves grew ever more dependent on tobacco sales tax revenues. Individual and class plaintiffs who are Americans have sued the tobacco companies on various theories, and won. Individual plaintiffs have sued bars and airlines, on the theory that they were damaged by the company's polices of permitting customers to smoke.

    Asbestos manufacturers, already found liable to those injured by their products, sued the tobacco companies on the theory that these losses would have been much smaller if the injured people had not also smoked cigarettes.

    The federal and state governments in the US have, in various turns, protected tobacco companies from lawsuits in ways no other manufacturers have been protected, and exposed them to liability that no other manufacturer of any legal product has had to face -- just as those government units themselves sued the tobacco companies for losses the feds and states endured as poor citizens on Medicaid, etc. sought care.

    All while continuing to tax the sale of cigarettes, of course.

    The frenetic litigation post-WWII through the present time in the US established the greed and creativity of American lawyers, but did little to advance the science of tobacco use by humans, and even less on the science of aiding smokers to quit.

    Very little in the American economy has been left untouched by this tsunami of money, roaring along at breakneck speed, Mass media, advertising, farming, Native American rights, the growth of organized crime, the rise in the violent crime rate, the hospitality industry, the insurance industry, the American population's migratory patterns, American medical ethics, race relations, etc., etc. etc. all have been shaped, often to a massive degree, by the incessant litigation over the sale of cigarettes.

    Tobacco is, always has been, and will continue to be the agricultural master commodity of geopolitics, worldwide. Even more than oil. Very few Americans understand tobacco's importance in the world economy, although most are conversant with the impact of oil as a commodity.

    Since WWII, the US has lost its place of prominence as to tobacco production and sale, and today, is dwarfed on both counts by China.

    Consumption of tobacco continues to rise, steeply, worldwide. Americans may not realize this, as tobacco consumption is down considerably from US WWII levels, having fallen from more than half of all adults at its peak to about 25% now.





    Science cannot answer the questions most of us assume have long since become proven facts. It cannot even ASK them in a setting that is sufficiently free of bias as to obtain sound results.

    Why do humans all over the planet display such an enormous appetite for tobacco, when only Native Americans evolved to use it?

    What does tobacco do to the human body to create the desire to continue to smoke, and is that active ingredient created by tobacco or by an additive involved in the production of filtered cigarettes?

    What is the mechanism, if one exists, by which tobacco consumption causes lethal diseases in humans? Are these dangerous ingredients still a risk in the absence of air pollution, coal mining, asbestos use, changes to the food Americans consume, etc.? Is a safe tobacco product possible?

    Why do some smokers fall ill, but others enjoy long-term use without any deleterious affects?

    Is secondhand smoke dangerous to the nonsmoker?

    Ultimately, to the average American, these interesting scientific questions do not matter. Most now do not smoke and do not want to be exposed to the smoke of others.

    But it worth noting how vulnerable we all are to propaganda, especially fear-based propaganda. And for many reasons, it is worth noting that our victimization by propaganda has moved the epicenter of the Wealth Creation Machine that tobacco is from the US to China, which is not in any way conflicted about maximizing it and which will never relinquish it. China will never pass anti-tobacco laws similar to the ones the US did, rendering its tobacco companies vulnerable to attacks by foreign nations.

    Whether you view that development as sinister most likely depends on how positively you view China.

    The impact of climate change will be to open new lands outside China to possible tobacco cultivation.



    The future location of tobacco production is hard to predict, as to do so, the future of food security for humans as well as the distribution of the impact of future water and air pollution would have to be ascertainable. One thing we can predict is, this impact will be to destabilize nations.

    Lastly, the tobacco lawsuits by the states, together with their oppressive sin taxes and restrictions on tobacco use are a direct cause of the failure of state and local government pensions around the country. Legislators are still making budgets as if tobacco sales tax revenues will remain stable, when it is obvious they will decline (unless the tax rates are increased.) The massive awards claimed as the states won their cases against the tobacco companies were largely wasted, often in schemes of public corruption.

    IOW, tobacco is akin to a Mexican jumping bean, which is never still and whose movement and impact is almost impossible to predict. This hyperkinetic commodity will continue to shape American futures even if the American public demands ever-more stringent government controls on tobacco consumption.

    In a sense, tobacco is the world's leading currency.

    Your thoughts?
    Last edited by Madeline; 5th June 2017 at 04:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    @BigLeRoy.....I hope you will find the time to glance at this Op and share your reaction. As best I can tell, you are alone in your mastery of the science of economics among PH-ers.
    Thanks from Friday13

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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    Your thoughts?
    On which part? That was quite the dissertation.
    Thanks from Madeline and Friday13

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jeffrey View Post
    On which part? That was quite the dissertation.
    I am a wordy little gal. I have been editing that Op down since like noon!

    I realize it still is horribly long. (A perennial problem of mine.)

    Le' sigh.

    Would you care to comment on this part?

    The frenetic litigation post-WWII through the present time in the US established the greed and creativity of American lawyers, but did little to advance the science of tobacco use by humans, and even less on the science of aiding smokers to quit.

    Very little in the American economy has been left untouched by this tsunami of money, roaring along at breakneck speed, Mass media, advertising, farming, Native American rights, the growth of organized crime, the rise in the violent crime rate, the hospitality industry, the insurance industry, the American population's migratory patterns, American medical ethics, race relations, etc., etc. etc. all have been shaped, often to a massive degree, by the incessant litigation over the sale of cigarettes.

    Tobacco is, always has been, and will continue to be the master commodity of geopolitics, worldwide. Even moreso than oil.

    Very few Americans understand tobacco's importance in the world economy, although most are conversant with the impact of oil as a commodity.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    I am happy to do likewise, excerpt a portion of the Op, for anyone else who chooses to reply. I really am sorry I sometimes cannot organize my thoughts better.

  6. #6
    Veteran Member TNVolunteer73's Avatar
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    Tobacco.. Dems don't want to get rid of it Massive tax revenue source, GOP don't want to get rid of it Massive Tax revenue source, Libertarians don't want to get rid of it they believe people should be free to smoke or not smoke based on their own free choice and it is a Great source of revenue.
    Thanks from Ian Jeffrey and Madeline

  7. #7
    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    And people want tobacco. Without that demand, it would make no difference. Stopping using it is, in my experience, relatively easy, but many don't want to.
    Thanks from Panzareta and Madeline

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    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
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    One of the driving forces behind the Atlantic Triangle.

    It can be argued that tobacco helped build the civilization we have in the western hemisphere today.
    Thanks from Madeline

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    Wrinkly Member Dangermouse's Avatar
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    "I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
    Although I'm so tired, I'll have another cigarette
    And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
    He was such a stupid get"

    The Beatles.

    British American Tobacco are moving into vaping...
    Thanks from Madeline

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dangermouse View Post
    "I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
    Although I'm so tired, I'll have another cigarette
    And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
    He was such a stupid get"

    The Beatles.

    British American Tobacco are moving into vaping...
    The American tobacco companies are no doubt planning to monopolize the production of marijuana.
    Thanks from Dangermouse

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