Stomp and Stammer – Addiction Incorporated Review

March 9, 2012 : By David T. Lindsay

email hidden; JavaScript is required.","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":""}" data-image-title="addiction_inc" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-3045" title="addiction_inc" src="" alt="" width="150" height="150" />I don’t make a habit of focusing on documentaries because either they make their case and need no further defense, or deceitfully cloud the issue to appeal to fools who can’t think for themselves. During the introduction of Victor DeNoble, who would turn out to provide evidence of nicotine addiction in cigarettes, he admits that he only went to college to “meet smart women.” Straight talk is persuasive.

I don’t smoke, but I don’t buy into the theory of secondhand smoke being deadly. Nor do I think that punitive payback necessarily improves public health.

Addiction Incorporated
might pale in comparison to Christopher Buckley’s book Thank You for Smoking if separated from its proper context. This documentary isn’t out to change opinions but instead present the findings that led to the tobacco industry having to reassess its strategies. It began when Philip Morris funded a behavioral study to back up their claim that there is no causal link between disease and the smoking of cigarettes. Now any inhalant can adversely affect breathing and the blood will transport its properties to the brain, whether pot smoke or glue vapor. Hired to oversee the project, DeNoble found that lab rats don’t care much about weight loss, aren’t influenced by the movies or have the slightest inclination to submit to social pressure – their only reason for pressing the lever to receive their allotment of nicotine is they like it. By reducing the dosage to that of a rat-sized cigarette, DeNoble discovers that nicotine makes rats sick, before realizing that human specimens don’t receive the nicotine wallop all at once but spread over the course of a smoke.

If administered incrementally, rats addict themselves, pressing the bar twice a day, then ten times that, until hooked to where they wake up slapping the bar.

Excited, DeNoble wants to publish his findings, which is the point of science – to bring evidence to others in the field. Philip Morris refused and DeNoble was fired, because what he’d done would incriminate the entire tobacco industry as having full knowledge that nicotine was addictive, and knowing how much was needed to keep people smoking. Tobacco firms had always shielded nicotine as a significant ingredient that only contributed to flavor. It was also an ingredient in insecticide. In other words, they were selling poison, knew it was unhealthy and were only interested in selling more.

There are a number of people that whenever I see them supporting an idea, I have the tendency to reverse course. William Kunstler is one, Michael Moore is another, and certainly the derogatory, rodent-looking douchebag congressman Henry Waxman (D – CA), who always seems to look for any opportunity to tell you how to live, what to think, when to eat and how much, and whether or not you receive medical attention and at whose expense. His goal is control.

But Addiction Incorporated isn’t some document of historical procedures. Sure it sets in motion the Food and Drug Administration convincing Congress to open hearings, which was perfectly legitimate since the function of government is to protect citizens from threats of force or fraud, but the only course of action open to the tobacco industry after 51 law firms sued was a PR campaign to target a new generation of cigarette smokers. I know this for a fact because while writing for Creative Loafing, word came down that Camel cigarettes had requested their ads only be placed in the music section so their product would appeal to “cool” readers!

While I agree with Victor DeNoble’s findings, I disagree with government interference shifting health concerns aside for exemplary settlements. DeNoble ended up pulling out of his status as “professional” witness and redirected his energies to teenagers, traveling the high school lecture circuit.

Addiction Incorporated puts the blame where it belongs: on advertising and promoting risky behavior as “cool.” Kids think they’re immortal. As DeNoble tells it, cigarettes ignite receptors in the brain for life! Tobacco manufacturers know if they hook someone young, they’ve planted a seed for the rest of their life. Addiction always begins with a choice. If you think smoking is “cool,” think again.

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