Groups Behaving Badly #1: The Pharmaceutical Connection


“Current clinical guidelines, as well as government recommendations for smoking cessation, are based on the premise that all smokers should be treated with pharmaceutical agents.”

Michael Siegel, Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health

Anti-smoking measures, particularly smoking bans and government efforts to entice smokers to try nicotine gum, patches, and gum, earn the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars. The Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) industry, in fact, is projected to earn the pharmaceutical industry $6.2 billion a year. Smoking bans boost pharmaceutical sales in upwards of 30% because smokers, scared their smoking is killing their friends and loved ones (or at least, that others might think so), flock to buy these products en masse – as do health departments. Call a Tobacco Quit Line or heed the CDC’s demand to “QUIT NOW” and you’ll be directed to consume these pharmaceutical products – despite clear evidence they’re less effective than quitting “cold turkey,” and despite a growing concern some may increase the risk of suicide.

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