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Tobacco Control Rhetoric Poll Winner Announced

20 Dec, 10 | by BMJ

James Watson (also known as jwatso or Junican) won the TC website poll for best ideas for new ways to talk about tobacco control with 77% of the vote. Some of Mr. Watson’s colleagues on several pro-tobacco blogs may have helped push his good idea over the top, but this provides even more convincing evidence that it is indeed a good idea. It’s one about which we recently published an analysis in the journal (Callard, Follow the Money, Tob Control 2010;19:285-290).

Mr. Watson’s proposed idea was to emphasise the following:

1. If people purchase cigarettes from foreign multinationals, THE PROFITS are leaving the country.
2. However, the COSTS, in terms of health consequences remain [in] the country.

Mr. Watson also submitted a range of other comments, including one in which the first letter of each paragraph spelled out the word ‘propaganda.’ We noticed this, although we did not find it quite as clever as Mr. Watson apparently did, according to an email to us and other blog posts elsewhere, but as it is our policy with the blog to encourage discussion, we do not reject comments simply because the editors do not agree with them.

In any case, Mr. Watson has won the poll and we sincerely hope that he will use his free subscription to the journal to educate himself further about how the tobacco industry has funded and used ‘smoker’s rights’ groups and others to advance its interests while misleading smokers and undermining even the most reasonable public health protections.

View the results of the online poll >>

The Editors

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  • chaswin

    Because everybody knows that pharmaceutical companies make quit smoking products, Tobacco Control should stop taking their money in order not to have conflicting interests.

  • Why has there been a shift away from the publicly sponsored television ads that I used to watch when I was a kid? Is it because smoking is primarily a lower socio-economic problem in the US? There needs to be more public discourse on television about the dangers of smoking. This would create critical conversation opportunities in the house between adults and kids which is so sorely lacking in today's generation.

  • Pascal Diethelm

    I can testify that Mr. Watson's idea is a good one, as I had the opportunity of testing it in a presentation I made in Niamey (Niger) last year. My subject was “the duplicity of the tobacco industry with respect to development issues”. One of my slides that was particularly appreciated by the audience expanded on the theme suggested by Mr. Watson. It said: “From a macro-economic view point, the purchase of cigarettes by smokers reorient a significant part of the consumers' purchasing power to a product that creates no wealth at all, generates very few jobs, and has a very low multiplying effect on the economy. Furthermore, it generates poverty, as the sale of this product, which is in most cases imported, only profits the tobacco multinationals, which use it to *siphon* money out of countries which do not not have much of it in the first place.

    This slide was illustrated with a picture of a man siphoning petrol out of a car. See slide at:

    http://www.oxyromandie.ch/imag….

    For “investors” in highly developed countries, selling cigarettes is a good way of siphoning money out of developing countries, as this is the product of mass consumption which has the greatest profit margin of all, and by far.

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