These days, adjectives like 'shocking' are blanched of meaning by repetition in news headlines, however, this is genuinely shocking. Reading through this, I caught my mouth literally gaped open. As a former smoker, I realize that money I should have put into pretty much anything else was used to support this empire. If you ever find yourself in need of an argument to a smoker against smoking that has even a chance of slipping past the addiction, it may well be this, but that would entirely miss the point.
The points made by comparison to Uber in this article are the dim illumination of the that point: This is how corporations operate. This is how they think of their customers. This is how cynical, manipulative, divisive and ruthless they are. This is something we all need to think very hard about when we do any business -- and in a way, we're trained reflexively not to.
The other article I read today was about a slave who escaped 22 years (minus a few) of forced labor in the seafood industry. Books/films like Fast Food Nation highlight versions of the same right here in the good ol' USA.
We really need to think about this with each purchase we make, especially luxury items that represent cases of greed being needlessly incentivized by us.
Quoting from the article:
A 1970 Lorillard memo titled “Why Menthols?” explains how menthol cigarettes were marketed to exploit racist myths for profit: Negroes, as the story goes, are said to be possessed by an almost genetic body odor. Now whether or not this is real is irrelevant. More importantly, Negroes recognize the existence of this “myth.” And they realize that “Whitey” does too.
Now what does this have to do with menthol cigarettes? Here’s the theory: Negroes Americans smoke menthols to make their breath feel fresh. To mask this real/mythical odor." [...] Jews, according to an RJR memo, “tend to gravitate towards lower tar brands”; while a 1973 Lorillard memo divided female smokers into eight segments on a sliding scale, from “Emotional Bra-Burning Extremists” and “Blatant Lesbians” to “traditional Women” and “Anti-Libbers.”