Friday, December 24, 2010

TOBACCO: The Ruthless Killer Next Door

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye


Today, as I allow my mind to endure the oppressive thought that tobacco still remains the ruthless killer next door, what then shall we call its producers and distributors? The answer can only be simple and straightforward: They are people who prosper at the expense of other people’s lives. They make their billions by ruining other people’s health, and eventually terminating their lives. They should therefore not complain if anyone refers to them as proud, happy, licensed murderers.

Packs of Killer Poison

How these people are able to deaden their conscience to go on prospering and sustaining their own lives by producing and marketing a scientifically confirmed poison whose only benefit is its ability to cruelly terminate the lives of their fellow human beings beats me hollow? Tobacco never adds even the tiniest value to life; it only destroys it completely. Without mercy. This is a fact nobody has even attempted to deny.
The Nigerian president should put the concern for the lives of many Nigerians above his often whispered personal tastes and habits and take another look at the massive freedom granted by his predecessor to tobacco companies to fill Nigeria with their neatly wrapped and attractively packaged killer poison called cigarettes. If he cannot immediately ban the production of cigarettes in Nigeria, he should, at least, put in place stricter regulations that would ensure that tobacco manufacturing would automatically become a very unprofitable venture in Nigeria. 




I call on Nigerians with lively conscience and genuine friends of Nigeria, to join this clearly winnable battle, to flush these heartless fellows out of Nigeria. The question I have always asked cigarette producers is: can they boldly come out in the open and assure me that the commodity they manufacture and distribute to hapless individuals cannot be rightly classified as poison? Again, they should tell me one single benefit the human body derives from smoking cigarettes. Has it not been convincingly proved everywhere, and publicly admitted even by tobacco producers, that tobacco is a merciless killer, an unrelenting cannibal that devours a man when his life is sweetest to him?  If then tobacco is a proven killer, can’t those who manufacture and circulate it in society be classified as murderers? Hasn’t even our own Federal Ministry of Health been shouting and warning us with passion, sense of urgency and alarm that TOBACCO SMOKERS ARE LIABLE TO DIE YOUNG?
Stop For Good


What the Health Ministry here is saying is very simple: Anyone offering you a cigarette is only wishing you an untimely death. In fact, he is just saying to you: May you die young! That is exactly what tobacco companies, including the government that issued them the license to transact their deadly trade in Nigeria are wickedly wishing their Nigerian victims! Yes, tobacco companies manufacture products that make people to die young. How wicked and heartless could they be!


Before now, these tobacco companies would erect fresh, beautiful billboards, and fill several pages of newspapers and magazines with glossy adverts. Unfortunately, that option is no longer available to them, because of the ban on outdoor advertising of their lethal products. I am glad that those pleasant pictures of vivacious achievers smiling home with glittering laurels just because they were hooked to particular brands of cigarette which used to adorn glossy billboards and magazine pages, and which had proved irresistible baits to several people, especially youths, have now vanished from the public domain.

As a youth, the elegant, gallant, athletic rodeo man whose image marketed the 555 brand of cigarette was my best idea of a handsome, hard-working winner. My friends and I admired him, carried his photographs about, and yearned to smoke 555 in order to grow up and become energetic and vivacious like him. One wonders how many youths that have been terminally impaired because they went beyond mere fantasies or obsession with their cigarette heroes and became chain-smokers and irredeemable addicts. Managers of tobacco adverts are so adept in this grand art of monumental deception that their victims never suspect any harm until they have willingly placed their heads on the slaughter slab. Indeed, only very few are able to look beyond the meretricious pictures and the pernicious pomp of cigarette promotional stunt and see the blood-curdling pictures of piecemeally ruined lungs and other sensitive organs, murky, chimney-like breath tracts and heart region, the looming merciless and spine-chilling fangs of an all devouring cancer, tuberculosis, sundry lung and heart diseases, and their associate unyielding killers.
lung-light

Smokers Are Burning Their Lungs!!!! (pix: pulse2)

I want to challenge tobacco companies to come out and tell Nigerians that tobacco, the product they manufacture and circulate in Nigeria, is no more the resilient, implacable and silent killer, the lethal poison and heartless cannibal that seeks accommodation in the midst of hapless humanity with the sole intention of effecting their eventual decimation. I want to hear that cigarettes are no longer generous distributors of devouring cancer, tuberculosis, sundry terminal lung and heart disease, etc.

 I have heard tobacco companies pay huge taxes to government, award scholarships to indigent students and embark upon several projects to better the lot of the common man in several communities. But how many people have their lethal product sent to their early graves? How many widows, widowers and orphans are they producing with alarming rapidity?  How many people have been lured to calamity and painful death with their tantalizing and deceptive adverts? How many cancer TB lung disease patients do they produce in a year? How many among their hapless employees are gradually ruined daily because of the insidious fumes they inhale during production of cigarettes? It is so saddening that while in several countries of the world, tobacco companies and their owners are being isolated and choked with harsh laws, they have been allowed to invade Nigeria and other African countries with their filthy billions because we have incompetent and insensitive governments that have no qualms welcoming urbane, but ruthless killers in the name of "foreign investors."


A Poison-Manufacturing Giant


I will never be tired of referring to an interesting development in the United States on June 7, 2001 where a Los Angeles Superior Court slapped an unprecedented $3 billion in damages on Phillip Morris, another giant tobacco company, in response to a suit by a tobacco casualty, Richard Boeken, who had developed incurable cancer of the brain and lungs after smoking two packs of Marlboro cigarettes every day for 40 years. This should serve as eye opener to Africans that with several class suits from victims of tobacco, these evil merchants of death can be forced out of the continent. According to the New York Post editorial of June 9, 2001, 56-year-old Boeken who began smoking as a teenager in 1957 claimed that "he continued smoking because … he believed claims by tobacco companies that smoking was safe." He told reporters in a post-trial interview: “I didn't believe they would lie about the facts that they were putting out on television and radio."


Now, that is exactly the issue. Tobacco companies deploy beautifully packaged lies to lure people into taking their fatally poisoned wraps called cigarettes. Their billboards do not present cancer patients treading the cold, dark, lonely path to a most painful, slow death, which is where tobacco happily leads victims. Every society has a responsibility to defend its unwary and the ignorant, and Nigeria and the rest of Africa cannot be an exception. The argument that smokers ought to be dissuaded from smoking by the hardly visible warnings they put out on their packets, and that people are merely being allowed to exercise their right and freedom to make choices, is akin to endorsing suicide as a lawful expression of freedom? Why allow a killer-poison to circulate among humans in the first place? Do we all have the same capacity to discern and resist the allurement of this clear and present danger called cigarettes?



Cigarette Manufacturers Want You To Die Young!!!!

It is widely known that many tobacco producers are non-smokers because they know too well how deadly their products are! In court and in several enquiries, tobacco producers have admitted that their product contains very harmful substances. So why should the government not protect its citizens against it? Tobacco is a killer. So are its manufacturers. Nigerians should rise with one voice and unified strength and resist this cannibal in our midst. The battle is winnable.


scruples2006@yahoo.com
www.ugochukwu.wordpress.com




No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...