Have you ever wondered why advertisements for nicotine replacement products (NRT), Zyban and Chantix or Champix never mention any harms caused by smoking? Think about it. Have you ever once heard any quitting aid advertisement say that "smoking causes lung cancer" or that "smoking can kill you," "so you need to go out and buy our product?" Why not?

Since about 1984 the pharmaceutical industry has had an agreement with the cigarette industry not to directly attack smoking or try to get all smokers to quit, but to only market quitting aids to those wanting to quit, without being anti-smoking when doing so.

This is essentially a non-compete marketing partnership that creates an artificial marketing climate that, amazingly, totally ignores the importance of quitting. Clearly, the purpose of the agreement is to protect tobacco industry sales. Yes, amazingly, one of GlobaLink's sponsors is actively engaged in protecting cigarette industry profits.

My primary concern is the impact of this agreement upon smokers still in bondage. Most smokers rightfully believe that the pharmaceutical industry is part of the health care industry. They believe that if it were true that smoking claims roughly half of all smokers that the health care industry would warn them. Does pharmaceutical industry neglect of its health education obligations foster a false sense of smoking safety in smokers?

Although few smokers have consciously noticed the absence of health warnings in quitting product advertisements, trust in the medications industry likely operates on an unconscious level. If elevated to consciousness, the ingrained smoking trust rationalization might sound something like this: "If smoking was all that harmful, surely the pharmaceutical companies would tell me!"

The following once secret tobacco industry documents shed light on how the pharmaceutical industry-cigarette industry non-compete agreement was forged:

07/13/82 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799798.html

07/07/84 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799799-9800.html

11/25/84 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799801-9802.html

12/17/84 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799804.html

01/22/85 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799803.html

09/04/85 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799791.html

09/06/85 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799796-9797.html

09/06/85 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799795.html

09/25/85 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799790.html

12/16/85 - http://www2.tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2023799789.html

01/08/88 - http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/yxb19e00

05/08/91 - http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2083785672.html

08/01/91 - http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/oqy28a99

04/23/98 - http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2064952307.html

If smokers are to avoid contracting smoking related diseases, followed by the need to purchase medications to treat those diseases (some, rather expensive), then it would seem that the pharmaceutical industry would have a moral obligation to teach smokers why quitting is important.

But doing so mightg create an additional implied assertion regarding the value and importance of using industry quitting products. Maybe by ignoring health risks associated with smoking the industry feels it somehow minimizes responsibility for failure to help smokers avoid those risks.



John R. Polito