• 23 Aug 2006 at 2:01 PM
  • Tobacco

In Re: Addictive, Addicting, Usage

smoking_girl.jpgBack in the closing years of the last century a war was on between the tobacco industry and its enemies over tobacco regulation, legislation and lawsuits. Go read Thank You For Smoking if you’ve forgotten this chapter of history. Amidst the war we happened to have lunch with a young tobacco lobbyist in Washington DC. She was better dressed than we were and took us to a better class of restaurant than we were used to dining in. She also taught us about the nuances of the English language.
“There is no solid evidence that cigarette smoking is addicting,” she said.
“What are you talking about? Haven’t you seen the videos of rats poking themselves with a nicotine laced needle until their heart stops? Of course it’s addictive,” we said.
“No one argues that nicotine isn’t addictive,” she said. “There’s plenty of evidence of that.”
“Didn’t you just say it wasn’t addictive?”
“Hardly. I said there wasn’t evidence that it was addicting. There’s no evidence that smoking is actually creating addicts. Nicotine may have the property of being addictive but it may not actually be being used by people in a way that this property is effective,” she said. “Look. If it’s not actually addicting, there’s no public health concern. You don’t regulate away an unrealized potentiality unless there is evidence that it the phenomenon is occurring or likely to occur.”
“So you think it turns on a matter of grammar? Addicting versus addictive?”
“Exactly so. Much in the world turns on matters of grammar.”

Crack is addicting–wait, no, addictive…kaboom!

  • 06 Jul 2006 at 2:48 PM
  • Tobacco

Thank You For Smoking

gogh.skull-cigarette.jpgSmoking is one of the sublime joys of life. This is the main reason folks have been inhaling burnt tobacco for at least the past couple of centuries. Yeah it kills you. But so does fraud and conspiracy, and people aren’t quitting those.
So it wasn’t without a small tinge of joy that we learned that cigarette manufacturers had been awarded a major victory by the the Supreme Court of Florida today. The Court upheld a lower court decision throwing out a $145 billion punitive damages award against the smoke makers.
It’s also set up rumors that Altria, the parent of Phillip Morris, may now seek to split itself up, selling off assets now that deals can be made without taking on the giant risk of the Florida litigation.

Florida Supreme Court Decision
[pdf file]