BLAME - There's enough to go around. Here are the "responsible parties" as I see it...
1.) Our government taxes addicted people and cuts funding to quit programs. In Massachusetts it was a 95% budget cut to what may have been the most successful tobacco prevention program in the country. And on THE VERY SAME DAY the Governor signed a bill to DOUBLE the tax on each pack of cigarettes sold. That would seem to suggest that the government has become addicted to tobacco tax revenue and has stopped serving as an agent of public health.
2.) Media companies who make $ix and $even figure agreements to secure tobacco products preferential placement in TV and movies are increasing smoking rates, especially among teens. They know it. The tobacco industry knows it (or they wouldn't be willing to pay for the "product placement.")
3.) The tobacco industry who has never told the truth about the health consequences of smoking, and has been trying to hide the truth about their product for decades. They increase nicotine levels in their product and add more and more chemicals each year in order to "enhance customer satisfaction." They also employ what is arguably the most effective group of political lobbyists on the planet, hence to spectacular LACK of regulation on an industry that kills 1200 Americans daily.
4.) And of course, there's the smoker who knows that tobacco is killing them but continues smoking. BUT... Once again, I question the value of blaming the smoker - Isn't it rather like shooting the hostage? Regardless of how they became "trapped," the only beneficial goal is to help them become free! I'm NOT saying that the smoker isn't responsible. I'm saying that shaming and blaming them will NOT bring a positive outcome. An overwhelming majority of smokers I know are already beating themselves up about smoking. Your eye rolling, judgmental, scolding comments could in fact be what
convinces them that they're hopeless. And you know what? When a person believes that they're hopeless, they are. If you can't say anything encouraging, please shut up.
So let's stop the SHAME and the BLAME, and focus on the object of the GAME- Getting help for smokers who are ready to try to quit.
As your state and federal legislators are contemplating higher taxes on tobacco products be sure to call them and demand that more of the tobacco taxes go toward tobacco prevention and cessation services. Don't let them snow you with "offsetting tobacco related health costs." That isn't helping reduce the number of smokers. That's just paying for the health care costs that will continue to rise UNTIL WE REDUCE THE SMOKING RATE by providing high quality programs to help smokers who are ready to quit.