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I was just following the market’s orders

Written By: - Date published: 11:48 am, July 14th, 2010 - 31 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, health - Tags:

Should be no surprise to anyone that the Nats and Maori Party are cutting help for tabacco addicts while upping the cost of their ciggies. They don’t care about better health. Don’t care about helping poor people get off an expensive habit. It’s all about sopping the poor and give aways for the rich. But you know who did grind my gears? Those tobacco execs the other week.

At the select committee hearing they admitted their product is addictive and it kills. Claimed they weren’t trying to hook new customers. The execs didn’t smoke themselves. So why sell ciggies at all when they know they’re bad and don’t think people should smoke?

‘Because the demand’s there’ was the answer. ‘It’s a legal product’.

They’re just supplying the market. They’re just doing their jobs. In other words ‘we’re just following orders’.


You’re not meant to compare your opponents to fascists. But it’s hard to think of any other comparison than to those killers who, 60-odd years ago, tried to excuse their acts by saying they were just doing their jobs. It was established then and it’s true now: just because it’s legal, just because it’s your job, doesn’t make it moral, doesn’t make it right.

The tobacco execs have a moral duty to not do their jobs. Even if they lose the fancy home and the trophy wife.

To not do so is to profit from killing others. Time was, that kind of behaviour got you a date with the hangman’s noose.

31 comments on “I was just following the market’s orders ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “Health Minister Tony Ryall said the cuts were part of a shift from “lower-value spending” to improve frontline services.

    “For example, the amount spent on nicotine replacement drugs is expected to cost $7.5 million this year, which is significantly more than the $2 million less of advertising that the HSC will be doing.””

    It’s not entirely clear if that is $7.5m of new spending, or just $7.5m of existing spending. If it is indeed new spending, then total spending is increasing, and spending money on anti-addiction treatments that people have to actively use (therefore are more committed to quitting) probably has a greater return than a scatter-shot advertising campaign that may not convince anyone to do anything.

  2. Butyeahbutnahyeahnah 2

    and all those companies using sweat shop labour? (Microsoft, Apple, etc)
    What about child slave labour chocolate beans? How about the oil companies? Are you going to stop using electricity because it kills the very earth we stand on? No no no, just find a diversion from the fact that the whole western world, the economic and “defensive” sytems that support it are corrupt to the core.
    Those thing in life that cost you nothing, are any of them good?
    At least ALL smokers and the people that work for the companies that make them, go into that contract with eyes open, alot more morally correct than someone sitting in an Ivory tower, surveying the desolation of the white mans dominace, and calling the bad bits someone elses fault.
    Do me a favour – learn about realitive values. Who’s to say that at least SOME of the heart disease and cancer in NZ is not caused by diet (of salt, sugar and fat) and genetic pre-disposition? What about the harms that alcohol does – with none of the rescritions that smokes have (even though alcohol casuses more economic and social harm).

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      As my boyfriend rather astutely (he’s like that) observed, globalisation since 1980 has been a huge deflationary force on the western world, but now that China and India and the other out-sourced countries are demanding higher wages, we’re going to be in for a sustained period of high inflation. Along with the coming oil crunch driving up transport prices this’ll result in a massive re-adjustment to more local production for goods.

  3. michaeljsavage 3

    But yeahnah yeah (i lost track of how many nah yeahs) … is quite right.

    I’ve seen churchgoers who dont drink, smoke dont chew and dont do things to the girls who do … and several have died of believe it or not … lung cancer and other related cancers.

    Its like the road toll – and the extensive wasted funding on EECA who advertise on expensive TV to tell us to save energy. Most cant afford the bills to begin with …. as for the road toll – they are urinating into a gale force wind. reductions are due to other factors .. like a lot of people cant afford to drive on a holiday somewhere so they stay home … presto instant reduced toll. The agencies say its their effective advertising.


    Give people the ability to live and prosper – stop preaching about all the evil things they are doing – even though they have the freedom to choose.

    Tobacco execs are no worse than merchant bankers, loan sharks, debt collectors, politicians, overpaid media whores (judy bailey got paid $800,000 a year for being nothing more than a teleprompter reader … but shes the “mother of the nation”)

    • Butyeahbutnahyeahnah 3.1

      Yeahnah, yeah I loose track myself – have always thought that the policy (comments) are more important than the personality (handle).
      Yeah, nah, yeah nah. (I once listen to my uncle and his farmer mates have a whole conversation made up of only…Yeah, nah, but really, yeah nah).
      And just one more little thing. You can’t have a proper discussion about any sort of enviromentalism without including population and birth control. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a lier.
      It’s not earth thats in trouble, it’s the people who live on it. The earth will be here long after we’ve all gone the way of the Do-do.

      • michaeljsavage 3.1.1

        I’ve heard similar country conversations….’too right’ … yeah nah right yeah….

        I have a rural background. funniest places are pubs in the backblocks …. guys in work socks with cowshitty gummies at the door – perched on a barstool communicating matters of import with about 10 distinct words and meaningful silences. Amazing. Best reprise of that was a while ago in the Whangamomona pub (an independant NZ republic complete with passports). Brilliant!

        Birth control – couldnt agree more – I would put something in the water supply of selected areas – including key electorates.

  4. American Gardener 4

    Senior management not using the product because it is dangerous is very unusual. Tobacco needs to be banned: it is a dangerous product that would never make it to the market if it was launched now.

    • Butyeahbutnahyeahnah 4.1

      Prohibition Promotes Harm.

      • michaeljsavage 4.1.1

        Prohibition created the forerunner to the mafia.

        Tell a child dont touch … they immediately want to touch. Adults never grow out of it

  5. Rosy 5

    $205 million increase in tobacco tax and a $12m cut anti-smoking initiatives, where’s the logic in that?

  6. ieuan 6

    Another post that continues the steady decline of ‘the Standard’ from a respectable voice from the left wing of the blogosphere to a bunch of sad old socialists ranting about the evils of capitalism.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    People don’t need any special help to give up smoking. The cost of nicotine patches is probably less than the cost of the smoking habit for many smokers. So it should cost people little, nothing, or perhaps even save them money by moving to a substitute that helps them quit for good.

  8. Nick C 8

    You attempt to depersonalise demand by calling it ‘the markets orders’.

    Have a guess who those orders are coming from. They are coming from hundreds of thousands of kiwis all over New Zealand who simply like a product and want to buy it, every one of them a concenting adult.

    Why do you think you should have the right to tell them all what to do? Are these people all too stupid to run their own lives? Can they only have fulfilling experiences when Master Zetetic is telling them what to do?

    • Armchair Critic 8.1

      And you attempt to depersonalise addiction to a carcinogen by calling it ‘demand’.
      The orders are coming from people who are addicted to a product and have no choice but to buy it, due to their addiction. Not all of them are adults.
      Your third paragraph is total BS.

      • Nick C 8.1.1

        You talk about addiction as if it were a life support machine. I’m a student, and I know smokers who go cold turkey every few months for a few weeks for financial reasons, its painful but by no means impossible. If the problem is that people find it difficult to excersize their choice because of addiction then change that by offering services which make it easier to quit. Of course the government already does this.

        Any measures beyond that are a limitation on choice- there are plenty of people out there who choose to smoke. Why should be stop them?

  9. butnahyeahnah 9

    “addicted people have no choice but to buy it”
    This i simply a loop hole of logic to bury your will in.
    There are more people on the face of the planet that have given up tobacco than continue to use it. This challenges the very assumption that it is addictive – the same cannot be said for ANY other addictive substance, from Heroin to Alcohol – most people who are addicted continue to use.

    Habit forming maybe, but no where near or in the same league as alcohol, to my mind maybe about the same as caffeine.

    Captcha: answered

    • Pascal's bookie 9.1

      I know a few people that have kicked heroin. Same people can’t kick their ciggies.

      • Butyeahbutnahyeahnah 9.1.1

        I thought bs arguments didn’t hold much water around here, looks like Pascal the sweetie has has enlightened us all.
        What, because these people are personally known to you, that some how trumps the WORLD wide, scientifically proven fact I am refering to?
        Gee it must be great to have such power that even peer-reviewed science takes a back seat to you and your mates.
        But just keep playing your ‘Project Camelot’ deflation routine, it is nice to see some old fashion bigotry, narrow mindedness and adhesion to the Banksters properganda.

        Child slavery chocolate just tastes better, and since I know a few ex-child slaves who tell me that they would have never made (refugee) to NZ without that gross interuption to their lives, I guess we are all better off ahe Pascal?

        • Pascal's bookie

          Really, this peer reviewed science that challenges the very assumption that nicotine is addictive/ I’d like to see that. That’s what I was responding to by making the observation that I know people with experieance of both that think nicotine is harder to kick than heroin. Maybe heroin isn’t addictive either. I wasn’t making any sort of argument at all. Just an observation that countered your assertion that nicotine isn’t addictive.

          If you stand by that assertion, and can produce the peer reviewed research to that effect that you claim exists, I’ll gladly concede the point, and let me mates know they are imagining it to boot.

            • Pascal's bookie

              I like ya, and I hope you stick around, I’ll just get that out of the way.

              I am saying that your two or so mates that were junkies and haven’t given up cigs are statistical outliers.

              ‘cept I’m not making any universal claim based on them. All they are doing is countering the idea that nicotine isn’t addictive.

              They are not meant to dispute the fact that baccy use has declined in the west over the last half century. My point is that you can’t go from the fact of that decline to saying that nicotine isn’t addictive. The tobacco companies admit that it’s addictive for one thing, but here’s some other things to think about.

              Patterns of use. Smokers tend to smoke at a fairly regular rate, whatever it is for the individual, usually between say 10 and 30 a day. When they quit, they usually stop completely. If they relapse, more often than not, they are back into at their previous rate quite quickly and stopping is just as hard as it was before. That pretty much looks like addiction. If it wasn’t addictive, users would have regular periods (days, weeks whatever) of non use, use would be sporadic, cutting down would =be more common than quitting etc.

              Comparing declining usage rates to alcohol misses those pattern issues. That most alcohol users are in fact sporadic, regularly miss a day or a week without any real concerns, change the amount they use from day to day and so on. You can’t say that most alcohol users have the same pattern of use with alcohol, that most smokers have with baccy.

              Comparing them with illegal drug users has other problems. Most importantly, data is real hard to come by. The sample you have to work with is by definition not representative of the population of users. We know almost nothing about the siaze of the problem because almost all users go to great pain to conceal the fact that they are using. Most of the people available to get data off, are the ones having the most problems.

              That’s not to say that herion et al, aren’t addictive, or anything else. I’m just saying that the data on usage rates is poor at best, so data on declining use is even worse.

              • butnahyeahnah

                Captcha is producing so omens arise, or is it actually my mind bending meaning and relevance towards it? I think that some people are pretty much born addicts, when they come from rich white families we call it obsessive compulsive, manic, things like that. If you grew up in P town, we just called them druggies and criminals.How many prisoners are just compulsive or bi-polar busted for getting treatment the Whiskey Tango way? So firstly I refute the very basis of your definition of addiction I guess.
                Addiction forces compulsion to do it again. By your definitions I can think of a number of incidentals (coffee, sugar, certain ratios of protein/salt/fat, complex carbos) that are time dependent and lead to long term addiction with dependance lasting a life time.
                The true and only secret to giving up smoking, is never ever having a another cigarette. Once you have transitioned to ‘given up’ you are no longer an addict, you revert back to being an inactive compulsive eying up some shinny new thing. I bet I could cure smoking with heroin, but please go ask your mates if this isn’t the case.
                I object your assertion that “just because global smoking rate are declining doesn’t mean there’s more people have given up’ jive spin and ripe bs. I said it’s not addictive, habit forming maybe, but not addictive because I believe its the people who are addictive and what do you think has happened to all those people who use to smoke?
                I don’t think hiding and saying that you weren’t putting up the fact of your couple of mates obsessions when you were so obviously doing in contradiction to my affirmation is well, lacking in both skill and wit.
                You have trusted the word of junkies when, in fact, every scientific look into the use of torture has found that information extracted under duress is scripted by the victim to suit the interrogator.
                And again you can Google that last one yerself.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  Yeak ok mate. If you want to insist that the science reckons tobbacco isn’t addictive then I don’t see much point in going around in circles about it.

                  • butnahyeahnah

                    The mountains are only ever and have always resided solely in your mind. So yes your mates are imagining it, addiction is a function of imagination.
                    If you can’t accept the facts I have produced, that world wide more people have given up tobacco than continue to smoke, and that this is itself a good indication that most people who have smoked DONT find it addictive –
                    It’s a matter of objective though and breaking the shackles of proper gander. If you cannot reason and put together an argument without resorting to imaginary mates – why say anything at all?
                    All it takes is one decision, a lot guts and a little vision to give up. Who gains the most from it being “addictive”? That’s right the govt. Who’s running a reverse placebo effect on the packets? That’s right the govt. Show someone the same message over and over and it matters not how factual it is, they will believe it.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Not very good at thinking are you?

                      Even by your own definition of addiction (“a function of imagination”) if people are imagining it, then they are, according top you, addicted.

                      But your defintion is retarded.

                      Read page 3 of this report:


                      pay particular attention the neurological effects nicotine produces in the brain. It effects how your brain operates. These are physical events, not ‘imaginings’.

                      See also this:


                      Nicotine exerts its neurophysiologic action principally through the brain’s reward center. This neuroanatomical complex, otherwise known as the mesolimbic dopamine system, stretches from the ventral tegmental area to the basal forebrain. The nucleus accumbens, a dopamine-rich area, is an intersection where all addictive behaviors meet. The release of dopamine at this site promotes pleasure and reinforces the associated behaviors, such as the use of alcohol and drugs, to replicate the positive experience. Other factors may also promote nicotine dependence such as nicotine’s reduction in the monamine oxidase inhibitor enzyme. This enzyme is involved in the metabolism of catecholamines, to include dopamine. The net affect would be a lingering presence of the stimulating dopamine at the nucleus accumbens.4

                      A closer inspection of nicotine’s neurophysiology reveals a much more complex system. In particular, researchers continue to study the brain’s neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs).The nAChRs are a central component involved in nicotine’s widespread influence on brain chemistry. Researchers have identified nAChR subtypes, most prominently labeled as alpha and beta subunits. The alpha – 4 and beta – 2 subunits are the most widely expressed in the brain. Acting through the nAChRs, nicotine influences glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.5

                      Nicotine also releases corticosteroids and endorphins that act on various receptors in the brain. Nicotine use results in more efficient processing of information and reduction of fatigue. In addition, nicotine has a sedative action, reduces anxiety, and induces euphoria. Nicotine effects are related to absolute blood levels and to the rate of increase in drug concentration at receptors.

                      Nicotine stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary axis; this, in turn, stimulates the endocrine system. Continually increasing dose levels of nicotine are necessary to maintain the stimulating effects. With regards to dependence, some experts rank nicotine ahead of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. A teenager who smokes as few as 4 cigarettes might develop a lifelong addiction to nicotine.

                      Small rapid doses of nicotine produce alertness and arousal, as opposed to long drawn-out doses, which induce relaxation and sedation. Nicotine has a pronounced effect on the major stress hormones. Nicotine stimulates hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), and it increases levels of endorphins, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), and arginine vasopressin in a dose-related manner. Corticosteroids also are released in proportion to plasma nicotine concentration.

                      Nicotine alters the bioavailability of dopamine and serotonin and causes a sharp increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine acts on brain reward mechanisms, indirectly through endogenous opioid activity and directly through dopamine pathways.

                      But seeing you can’t seem to piece together an argument that isn’t just accusing me of lying I’m not sure that will convince you. Maybe I’m just in on the conspiracy along with all those researchers who seem to think nicotine is addictive. Yeah, that’ll be it.

  10. butnahyeahnah 10

    oh, ans as for carinogen – what do you think of the level of carbon monoxide you expose yourself (and any children you have) whenever you take them out in the car? Or as so many hav said before me – what exactly in this day and age doesn’t cause cancer?

  11. Well, I suppose I better understand now where the anti-tobacco side is coming from. If you reckon that there’s little difference between rounding people up at gun point and throwing them into gas chambers, and selling cigarettes to people who voluntarily decide to buy them, well, wow.

    • Bright Red 11.1

      there’s little difference morally in saying ‘well, i try to sell a product to people that will kill half its users but, you know, i’m just doing my job’ and the guy who says ‘yeah, i just load these people on a train, don’t care about where they’re going, although i’ve got a fair idea, i’m just doing my job’

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