I have observed with great interest the growing wave of private and public litigation
versus tobacco companies. What has been common knowledge for some time is no
longer a matter for public debate: tobacco contains addictive substances which cause a
wide range of illnesses some of which are fatal. Even though tobacco use is completely
voluntary, the courts have determined liability on the part of tobacco companies to the
tune of billions of dollars.
Also, I have observed with great interest the total lack of private and public litigation
versus alcohol companies which produce an addictive substance which causes illness and
death far more extensive than tobacco ever will. Yet, the alcohol companies are under no
pressure at all to pay for their liabilities which make the billions tobacco companies are
paying out look like chicken feed! Who can place a price on thousands of annual traffic
deaths and injuries due to alcohol? Who can calculate the cost of thousands of broken
homes, numerous domestic violence and sexual abuse cases and countless hours of work
loss for which alcohol is a major factor? And what price tag can be placed on the gamut
of diseases traceable to alcohol? Although tobacco companies are now having to be
responsible for the manufacture and sale of their product, alcohol corporations are putting
the onus on their customers with their know when to say when campaign. Tobacco
companies cant get away with that kind of blame game any more! They have had to
face up to being responsible for the production of a dangerous, addictive substance. Why
shouldnt alcohol companies have the responsibility to fork up the cash to pay for their
enormous private and public liabilities just as tobacco corporations have? Is their product
any less dangerous or addictive? Whats the difference?
Could it be there is too much money in the alcohol business to fight such litigation?
Could it be that alcohol use is so widespread that no one wants to oppose it? Could it be
that our repeal of Prohibition has desensitized us to the awful consequences of alcohol
which prompted Prohibition in the first place. Whatever the reason, alcohol ought to be
next on the list. For sure alcohol producers are laughing up their collective sleeves while
tobacco manufacturers are paying millions for the same kind of liabilities alcohol
companies have incurred. And theyre getting off scot-free!