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GUEST COLUMN: A perfect example of greed

I read the editorial in the Brainerd Dispatch called “The Deadly Truth” on the (Sept.) 27th. It pertained to the tobacco companies crying about how unfair it is for them to have to carry warnings about the deadly effects of their product on the human race on their own packaging. I think it shows us how deep greed runs in our society and what lengths people will go to make money. We as a society have to pay the price for the deadly effects of this product everyday. It consumes a great deal of our health care costs and it carries consequences for innocent people who live and work around smokers.

But there are lots of victims here. It forces the people who use it to withdraw to their safe havens to feed their addiction and we not only lose their love and companionship, they lose a lot of their dignity. They become second-class citizens and all to often they are the cream of our society. Good people, who given the chance to interact with all of us, would make a big difference in this world and it seems so unfair to them, but right now it’s the only way nonsmokers know how to fight back.

No one seems to know what causes people to start any kind of an addiction. Smoking is only the tip of the iceberg. There is pot, meth, cocaine, heroin, Illegal prescription drugs, alcohol, and way to many more to mention. They all exist for two main reasons. They are addictive and there’s a lot of money to be made selling them. Money and greed are bedfellows in our society.

I have asked smokers why they continue to smoke and they rarely admit to it being a habit. Most of the time they will say it gives me pleasure or something to that effect. Death from cancer and smoking related diseases give no one pleasure, believe me, I know. They are slow, lingering, pain-filled deaths, way before your time to leave. It’s too bad they can’t print a picture of that on the package.

But let’s get back to what I started talking about. The tobacco companies feeling they are picked upon for having to put warning labels on their products. You purchase a legal prescription drug and it comes with more warnings then you have time to read on it and this is something, which in most cases, is beneficial to your health. The every day chemicals you clean your house with and a thousand other products that are produced to help us exist, all carry warnings if they are hazardous to your health. But the one that kills the most people in the world — wants an exemption. 

MIKE HOLST lives in Crosslake. He has been actively writing for the past nine years, both as a columnist and an author and has written 12 novels and published six of them.