Hugo Wagner

Graduate Student - Mechanical Engineering, UC Berkeley

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Cigarettes: Should we sue our governments for complicity in murder?

It's a global debate. Here is what you can find on The Public Health Portal of the European Union: "Tobacco is the largest single cause of avoidable death in the EU. With awareness of its harmful effects increasing, the EU is working to prevent people from taking up smoking, help smokers to quit, protect people from exposure to tobacco smoke and restrict tobacco advertising and marketing."

Great ideas, but isn't it time to take this issue to the next level?

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    Feb 24 2011: I don't like smoking either.
    But it seems guns are more problematic then cigarettes.
    Maybe we should try to make all the guns disappear first.
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    Feb 16 2011: Dear Hugo,

    * Should we sue our governments for letting us drive cars?
    * What about alcohol? and other drugs?
    * Do you think that people must have freedom of choice? to what extent?
    * Does (not) smoking make you more happy?
    * Is being healthy the next measure of happiness?

    I think sewing a government for a habit that was chosen by it's civilians is stupid.
    They already tax cigarettes sufficiently to more than cover the medical expense of the consequences

    And with the banning of smoking in public, passive smoke is reduced to a minimum.... now reduce other poluents in the air that cause more death please...

    Even when you would be able to sue the government: what would you accomplish?
    Changing a law in a democracy should be done by the parliament... not by sueing an institution...
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    Mar 6 2011: I think there will come a day when producing any product that enslaves and kills people will be considered a crime against humanity. We are not there yet.
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    Feb 16 2011: That's just ridiculous. We hear all the time about 'human rights'. What about individual, human responsibilities? I smoke, and I don't blame anyone except myself.
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    Feb 25 2011: As a non-smoker who cannot stand being around smokers I would still have to go with a resounding NO. If the information on the dangers of tobacco were somehow being hidden to the wider public, then that would command action, however that is not the case, the information is out there and people are still deciding to smoke even knowing the risks involved. You can't sue a government just because people are stupid. One should have the freedom to chose to destroy their health if they so wish (not at the expense of others of course, that is why indoor smoking is banned in our country).
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      Feb 25 2011: There is complicity...between the user and the tobacco company. Also, the point of taxing tobacco is to make it more expensive, in other words, to dissuade people from smoking. Smokers make a choice, a choice that isn't imposed on them. Just like Glenda said, it's about individual responsibility.
  • Feb 16 2011: As long as the government warns you about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, then they are doing their job. It's rather silly to suggest that they take responsibility for the choices of each individual--might as well blame the government for all those people who die of heart complications due to eating too much fast food. A lot of people drown in swimming pools every year too--should the government make those illegal?
  • Feb 16 2011: Like Christophe, I would have to ask about so many other things that could be argued for with that line of reasoning.

    What exactly is the nature of governments' complicity? Was there some suppression of information? An undue promotion of tobacco use? Not as far as I know.