The Surgeon General HOPES you get Cancer

In all seriousness though, I believe cigarettes cause cancer and other lung diseases, but just what arguments do the tabacco industry use to defend tabacco. Why do some say there is no proof smoking causes cancer?

A) It’s your choice. No one is making you smoke.

B) I had not heard that one. I have heard them say that it’s not addictive. The defense on that is probably something along the lines of “depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is.”

One issue of the linkage between smoking and lung cancer is that there are a lot of people who smoked from age 15 to age 95 and never got lung cancer.

Cancer is not the sort of communicable disease that Pasteur and Koch did so much work on, but there is still the lingering doubt among some (exploited to the utmost by the tobacco firms) that if not everyone gets it, the ones getting it must be getting it elsewhere.

Technically, the argument is correct that we simply don’t know all the connections. I do not believe that we are yet able to say that if you smoke brand x for y years you will develop cancer g. That said, the general connections are pretty well established.


Tobacco companies have claimed that statistical association (15% of smokers develop lung cancer vs 1.5% of non-smokers - numbers made up for illustrative purposes) does not prove causation.

You know like all the fresh air the Marlboro man breathes - who knows what horrible pollutants are in that which are just as likely to have caused the cancer…

Sue from El Paso

My father smoked from age 13 to 60,and got throat cancer. He had a laryngectomy 20 years ago,is doing fine;certainly doesn’t smoke anymore.

Did you know that they put tiny amounts of fiberglass in tobacco chew! That is the most desgusting things i have ever heard. They do this so that it cut’s you where you put the chew which gets the nicotine straight to your blood stream so you get addicted sooner and have to buy more.

Oh boy. Much as I hate the tobacco industry, I can’t believe that. Have any cites for that contention, Cory?

The tobacco companies use several arguments.

First, they argue that the statistical evidence that smoking causes cancer is inconclusive. No one has ever proven that smoking causes cancer because no one has ever established the biological mechanism that initiates a lung cell becoming cancerous. They argue that the fact that a smoker is approximately twenty times more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker could be due to other causes.

Second, they counter each scientific study with another scientific study. If one study finds that smokers are twenty times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers, they will produce a study that shows smokers and non-smokers have equal chances of getting lung cancer. You can bias studies by the way you set up the collection of your evidence and both sides argue that the other one’s studies are the biased ones.

Third, the tobacco company executives never testify in court that smoking doesn’t cause cancer. They will testify that they believe smoking doesn’t cause cancer. So they are free to dismiss or accept whatever evidence they wish and their beliefs are their own.

Except that several thousand pages of internal company memos have been leaked to the anti-smoking coalitions over the past few years, showing that tobacco companies manipulate the amount of nicotine in their products; know full well that smoking kills; and intentionally target the young in their advertising. Which is why several huge government-vs-tobacco lawsuits are moving right along.

Don’t misunderstand me, Matt, I’m not saying I find any of the tobacco companies’ official party line credible. I’m just passing on what they are in response to the OP.

Cory’s allegation about the chewing tobacco sounds suspiciously like the fiberglass-in-the-tampons UL.

Cory… I remember hearing that when I was in high school 10 or more years ago. My guess is that it is not true. HOWEVER having USED to chew tobacco I can say that chew from a can (like skol) gets you a much quicker nic fix (and the little buzz that goes with it in the begining) then does a pouch chew like redman which is essentially just shredded tobacco leaves… so I have always wondered about the fiberglass theory.

“Boy, wouldja get a load of the cloaca on that one”? -Cecil Adams, october 8 1999

The reason the mouth is so important to getting a quick buzz on chewing tobacco is because the real fastest way to the blood stream is nicotine through the mucous membranes. Inside the lip, inside the butthole, and inside the nose. You don’t need cuts in the skin to get it into the blood.

That’s why nitro glycerin tabs work so fast, that’s why suppositories work so fast, and that’s why cocaine works so quick.

alright… but why does canned buzz so much more quickly then pouch/shredded tobacco?

“You know like all the fresh air the Marlboro man breathes - who knows what horrible pollutants are in that which are just as likely to have caused the cancer…”

I didn’t know the air in oxygen bottles was polluted.

<<< why does canned buzz so much more quickly then pouch/shredded tobacco? >>>

I’ve never used tobacco in any form, but here’s my WAG: Freshness. In general, a can of anything is bound to be fresher than a bag of the same stuff. Yeah, I know they got all sorts of fancy plactic and metal linings in the pouch, but I still think cans retain freshness better.