Why the government turned its back on tobacco


Whether you’ve realized it or not. Some of your favorite characters all had a
nasty habit. “I decided to get a grip on my life and
start a diary” Starting in the 1920s cigarettes were a hot
trend. And over the years it became a lifestyle for
people like Bridget Jones. Cigarettes weren’t only in parks and homes,
but on TV commercials and in the white house. In 1924 time magazine says more than 73 billion
cigarettes were sold. By the 1960s, the tobacco industry was making
billions of dollars. But at some point after that there was as
shift. In 1964 the U.S. surgeon general released its
first report explaining how smoking causes lung cancer. Big tobacco slowly began losing credibility. But it didn’t go up in smoke overnight. Two years later 7 of the 100 top advertisers
in the country were tobacco companies. And they weren’t going to take backlash
lying down. Big tobacco relied on the idea that the science
behind how harmful tobacco could be was uncertain. By 1965 congress required all cigarette packages
carry a warning label. 5 years later TV and radio ads were done. And by 1998 smoking was banned on all carrier
flights. But the most ironic turn was that same year
when the Marlboro Man got cancer and jumped ship. He started working on anti-smoking campaigns. Now, the FDA regulates all tobacco products,
and says recent legislation makes way for action against future tobacco products too. It’s safe to say between Marlboro Man and
now, big tobacco lost a lot of support. And in 1994 it only got worse. Tobacco hot shots took the stand before the
House of Representatives and the entire country. “Yes or no do you believe nicotine is not
addictive? I believe nicotine is not addictive, yes” And they lied. They went against science and the new status
quo that smoking wasn’t healthy. They lost some of their biggest advocates. In 1998 tobacco companies made history but
for all of the wrong reasons. It agreed to what the tobacco control legal
consortium calls the biggest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history. Hundreds of billions of dollars went to 46
states for a Medicaid lawsuit. PBS reported the suit was on behalf of taxpayers
who had to cover the Medicaid costs to treat sick smokers. And big tobacco is still paying up — and
will be for a long, long time.