Monday, March 21, 2005

Freedom to smoke in Asia

As cigarette sales decline in the U.S., the beautiful areas surrounding Indonesia have been targeted for an assault which will even the playing field as to the number of youth newly introduced to cigarettes and keeping the aging on the path towards lung cancer induced death. Just when you thought Philip Morris was moving towards philanthropy and some generosity of spirit in terms of contributing to the local and global communities, it appears they are vying with the Asian cigarette producers to bring kreteks to the marketing public.

The NY Times cited these facts in an article published March 17th, 2005:

Cigarette sales in Indonesia are forecast to grow more than 10 percent in the decade to 2008, according to the World Health Organization. Kreteks are as addictive as any cigarette, if not more so: each Dji Sam Soe, for example, contains twice the nicotine and triple the tar of a conventional cigarette.

At least 57,000 Indonesians die each year because of smoking-related illnesses, according to Ministry of Health figures.

Authorities on cigarette consumption in Asia say global cigarette companies are increasing their drive into the region as more countries in the West tighten laws on smoking in public places and on marketing.

"They have their eyes on the big markets, and that has to be Asia," said Dr. Judith Mackay, executive director of the Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control, an antismoking group in Hong Kong.

We may be gaining the opportunity to globalize some of our better values and share some of the education and information we have gained in the U.S. from our wealth and privilege. But I have to wonder, why would we want to bring this horrible form of death and organ destruction to a place where we have already raped and pillaged much of the land? Indeed, history repeats itself.


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