When someone asks you to do something that goes against everything you have always believed, it becomes stressful to the point of complete distraction. You start to second guess yourself about everything you “thought” you once believed. I always believed that no one should be able to hurt you and get away with it. Justice is justice. Eye for an eye. Do unto others. I also know deep from within, Big People are suppose to always look out for Little People (children). Not rocket science or profound in my world. I can’t believe bullying would be so prevalent in this society. Stick up for the underdog and take care of each other, and especially kids. Simple, yet not quite all together unanimous in this crazy world. Furthermore, you can’t believe people would do bad things, get caught, lie through their teeth, deny and deny some more and NOT be held accountable and punished. Our brains aren’t wired for that nonsense and is probably the reason for so much rage and anger. This was how I felt when I started to believe the “logical hype” and “accusations” against Big Tobacco and I began to see “the Logical truth”coming from the leaders in the Anti Movement. It was crystal clear and I became a warrior for good vs. evil, and as my son Kevin would say “Pop you drank the Kool Aid”. I drank the Kool Aid and I became an anti-tobacco zealot.
The Anti- Tobacco Movement was able to influence me from the start. I was ready to help stamp out the scurge that just the year before I was touting as Americas Best. They fed me facts, data, surveys, charts, graphs, science, research, posters, opinions, editorials and previous written media stories and interviews. This information was not only geared toward the smoker and/or tobacco user and their nasty personal addiction and its deadly effects, but also toward the damming effects of what the “drug addict” was doing to kids with asthma, and chronic bronchitus, the assault on people with allergies, and lung ailments, horrible ear infections in small babies and toddlers, kids with sinus infections, pregnant women, killing unborn fetuses, the environment and secondary smoke. (ETS). After a while you begin to feel so guilty, you will do just about anything to redeem yourself. It’s also why there are so many reformed smokers hating themselves and they become intolerant of other smokers. It’s how they cope. People from all walks of life who never used tobacco became so concerned for their family members who did smoke began a different sort of anti-smoking campaign within the home. It was constant harassement from the spouse, parent, kids and dog. Smokers started to carry heavy guilt. Children weren’t allowed to go visit grandma and grandpa. No Smoking signs started to pop up everywhere. The Airplanes were becoming smoke free after lawsuits and a media blitz. The Anti-Tobacco movement was on fire and gaining in popularity.
The Anti-Tobacco Movement and I were a match. In the beginning we played well together. All of the rallys and conferences were like revival meetings and I was becoming the youth pastor. I was spewing all the venom I could against the tobacco industry, but NEVER the smoker. I was like a George Carlin and Lewis Black show all rolled into one. This is where I differed from my new employers. They kept their sights on the tobacco industry, but at all times I noticed the bullseye on the backs of smokers as the Movement began using them for target practice and it was obvious that it was not being received well. Lawmakers and state leaders were calling for higher taxes along with other states so they too could get funding for education, prevention, and cessation. Public Health communities all over the nation were scrambling for millions and millions of grant monies that were becoming available and this was all before the historic 1998 -1999 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) that put over 240 Billion Dollars into the coffers of 46 States. 4 States sued and won approximately 46 Billion on their own. After the success of Mississippi, Florida, Minnesota, and Texas the remaining 46 states said they wanted some of that windfall for the sake of the children. The original 4 states led by Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore sued the tobacco industry at the coaxing of Attorney Mike Lewis on a lark to try to recover Medicaid payments that the states paid for treating sick people caused by smoking and won HUGE. After 15 years or so, the majority of the public has no clue about what I’m talking about.I thought I would let some of you know through the blog just in case you hadn’t heard the general public didn’t know that ALL the money was going to be used to again, educate, prevent and help those smokers who were struggling to quit. Sad to report that the initial 240 Billion doaled out to the additional 46 states pretty much got lost along the way into the states general funds, and road repair, and new stadiums, and new Health Dept. furniture, and balancing the deficits within their states. Pretty much the way I predicted. Well there goes the money for the kids and prevention, and cessation programs for the wannabe quitters. Of course, they spent some of the windfall of monies to at least give the appearance of their desire to help. I think the average was about 7 – 10 %.(if that) Yup, Th..th..th..th. that’s all folks!!!!! It turned out to be one of the greatest hoaxes on the American people. Too much to go into detail on at this point, so I’ll leave that for another day or ten. The money is still going to the states and will so forever (in perpetuity). I don’t want to spend alot of time on this right now, because it just gets me riled up and pisses me off. Soon though.
Did I mention that the Master Settlement Agreement was illegal according to the Constitution ? No, well we’ll come back to that as well. That’s worth at least 3 days of information. Yeah, you should look up the Compact Clause of the Constitution and you will see what it says. it says” No State will enter into any agreements with any other state, without Congressional approval. That’s exactly what 46 Attorney Generals did in order to get the tobacco industry to “play ball”. Mike Moore is a hero in my opinion. His goal was altruistic. The others were just sheep who didn’t have the cajones to do it themselves. They waited for the litmus test and then jumped in for the orgy.