U.S. Chamber promotes Smoking

We Americans, proud of our Democracy and enjoying unparalleled freedom, tend to assume that U.S. intervention across the globe is always well intentioned.  After all, we combat terrorism, help to build democracies, respond to natural disasters and assist victims of war, famine and genocide.  Then stories like the one reported in the New York Times this week surface and the image of our generous and honorable country is tarnished.

According to the Times, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in an effort to assist American Tobacco Companies, has contacted numerous foreign countries, encouraging them to scale back or abandon their anti-smoking campaigns.  Directed primarily at poor, developing countries, where tobacco use remains high, this pressure is clearly designed to counter efforts to inform citizens of the health consequences of smoking.  While such an effort within the U.S. would surely be grounds for lawsuits, the manipulation of scientific data and promotion of risky behavior in impoverished countries is just another tool of Big Tobacco and its Chamber enablers.  Who cares if thousands of Third World humans die an early death when profits are at stake?

Worse yet, the New York Times reports that a number of health care organizations sit on the Board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; one of them, CVS Health, resigned in response to this pro-tobacco campaign.  Will the others follow suit or is preventive healthcare only for Americans?