I had to rub my eyes and make sure I was not dreaming this morning as I listened to the news. It seems the Justice Department wants to order tobacco companies to "Tell the Truth." By itself, this is strong and heady stuff for an anti-tobacco advocate! But what the Justice Department wants big tobacco to say is almost too good to be true! For example, one of the admissions that the Justice Department has proposed requiring tobacco companies to pay for and publish:
"For decades, we denied that we controlled the level of nicotine delivered in cigarettes. Here's the truth. We control nicotine delivery to create and sustain smokers' addiction, because that's how we keep customers coming back."
Wow! There are14 proposed admissions in all, dealing with a range of topics including the fact that smoking causes 1200 deaths in the United States EVERY DAY; that secondhand smoke causes disease and death in children, and more. Here's another of my favorites:
"We told Congress under oath that we believed nicotine is not addictive. We told you that smoking is not an addiction and all it takes to quit is willpower. Here's the truth: Smoking is very addictive. And it's not easy to quit."
"We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits."
Of course, the tobacco companies are appealing to try to weasel out of telling the truth; they have until March 3 to respond.
But another surrealistic story stalked the news today as well. It seems that Muammar Khadafy announced that dissidents in Libya were given hallucinogenic pills in their coffee by Al Quaeda, causing them to do criminal acts and revolt against the government.
So what do you think? I'm having a hard time deciding which story is more surreal!