In addition to one of the standard Surgeon General’s Warnings, packs of Natural American Spirit cigarettes are labeled:
Made with 100% additive-free, whole leaf, natural tobacco. No reconstituted sheet tobacco. No processed stems. Up to 25% more tobacco than other king size cigarettes.
All of that would, in some convoluted way, probably lead a smoker to believe that these cigarettes are “better” for you than — one would assume — all the other brands of cigarettes. But the fact that these cigarettes profess to contain more tobacco than competing brands is somehow made to seem like a good thing. So the company helpfully adds:
No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.
Their website is actually running a promotion right now asking people to send them “Smoker’s Stories”, cute little anecdotes about how much fun people have had smoking, sharing cigarettes, and loving the joy of being a smoker. Conveniently absent are any stories about not being able to climb a flight of stairs, bad hygiene, watching someone you love battle lung cancer, or wasting thousands of dollars on a terribly unattractive habit.
I also love how this company proudly remarks that their cigarettes are organic, with the unstated implication that that means they’re not as deadly as other cigarettes.
It’s pathetic, insulting, disgusting, and heart-breaking. You have to admire the tobacco lobby, though. You have to marvel at the stupendous dollar value of — let’s call a spade a spade here — bribe money being deposited into politicians’ pockets to allow this sort of thing. It’s 2008, not 1948. What intelligent human being could possibly view the current situation and think everything is just peachy?
Full disclosure? I have been addicted to nicotine for almost exactly 20 years. I started as a smoker, switched to Copenhagen (smokeless tobacco, also known as “dip”) in my early 20s when I started rowing crew, went back to smoking when I moved to Los Angeles, and then switched back to dip when I realized I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs without being out of breath.
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