I want to graffiti that headline EVERYWHERE.
“18.3% of women over 18 reported being sexual assaulted in their lifetime while 17.4% of women reported smoking. Let’s consider this as we set health priorities.” yes, let’s.
This is such a fucking harsh reality. I say this as someone who works in tobacco policy. The reason why tobacco (smoking, cessation, cancer research) gets so much funding is because smoking is profitable and upholds capitalism. Smoking is government regulated and taxed. The profit of cigarettes allows for jobs to be created. My job is one of them! Reading this has allowed me to question the work that I am doing and the way that I am doing it. I was at a meeting yesterday and someone said that cancer research now has the second biggest budget in the US. So the Federal Budget is 1st and Cancer research is not far behind it because of funding through tobacco taxes, federal aid, and donations. Obviously, cancer research is important, but what happens with a lot with cancer funding is not going directly to “finding a cure”. It goes to things like building new labs. In order for research to get federal or state funding, job creation needs to be shown. So companies and researches will say they are building new labs and providing x amount of (short term) jobs in order to get the funding it needs. Work related to tobacco upholds capitalism.
It is in the benefit of capitalism to continue this cycle. Keep taking money by taxing cigarette companies and people who smoke, funnel that into cancer research, charge people for cancer treatment when they get cancer from smoking. It frustrates me because a lot of this money could be used more efficiently to help people NOW by helping with the cost of health care or helping sustain social services programs, cessation programs, helping people pay for patches or other aids to quit. In California, there is a new proposition on the ballot that is called the California Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research. It is asking for even more money (it will tax the buyer $1) to go into research while little money is going into direct and immediate needs of populations that are affected.
IDK, maybe I should find some statistics about the prevalence of smoking among people who have been raped. So that way the anti-tobacco community I work with can recognize that their issue isn’t a singular one. It’s a bullshit thing to have to do though. Tobacco advocates I have come to learn are ridiculously selfish, short-sided, and only think in singular issue terms (stop smoking, find a cure). The government needs to get it’s shit together too.