Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Tobacco at Rib America

If you attended the Rib America Festival at Military Park last weekend you were sure to see big tobacco present; there was a Longhorn spit tobacco booth, a Copenhagen spit tobacco booth and a Camel booth. The Copenhagen booth was the first booth at the West St. entrance and had an attractive lady luring people into the booth. Camel was over a little further with around 20 attractive young ladies and a large RV with their logo all over it. The Longhorn booth was over by the Canal, but was still in a very noticeable location. So you can imagine my surprise when I strolled in with my baby and husband to an event that I thought was family friendly only to see that the first booth was promoting a deadly product that kills 53,000 Americans every year. To say that I believe it is irresponsible for the festival to cater to families, music fans and meat lovers and still allow big tobacco to give out their deadly products is an understatement.

Here is all the FREE tobacco that we rounded up simply by visiting the various tobacco booths.

If you ever wonder why it is so hard for people to quit or why young people start smoking at all when we all know the health warnings, it is because of practices like this. Big tobacco attends events in which they are able to freely hand out their product (you did have to be 18 to get the products and say you want to use tobacco) in order to maintain their current client base and to hook new people. They are also present at many of our local bars every weekend handing out free cigarettes, and they give money to our local decision makers to lobby for their own interests. Tobacco companies out spend public health dollars millions to one every single year. It will be up to all of us to say that it is not OK for the companies to continue to addict individuals and to hook our youth in order for this to stop. Next time you are somewhere and you see big tobacco with their 'free' tobacco please tell the owner that you don't want to see it happen anymore and that its not the responsible thing to do.

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