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Big Tobacco's Criminal Deception Finally Exposed

Big Tobacco finally received the condemnation it so richly deserved yesterday in a 1,650-page ruling from a federal judge that found the tobacco giants jointly broke U.S. anti-racketeering laws to deliberately deceive people for at least a half-century about the inherent health risks of smoking.

Although the ruling blasted Big Tobacco for selling a highly addictive product, federal law wouldn't allow the judge to enforce a $14 billion judgment to fund smoking cessation campaigns, she did order companies to cease making false health claims about cigarettes described to be lower in tar or more natural.

It's about time, considering a new study in this week's Lancet found the use of any tobacco -- from chewing tobacco to smoking beedies (common in Asia) to inhaling second-hand smoke -- elevated a patient's risk of a heart attack as much as threefold.

That said, when it comes to making recommendations to a patient wanting to optimize his or her health, I rarely ask a smoker to stop right away. It's more important for a patient to learn how to make better food choices, in part, based on what his or her body burns best according to their unique nutritional type.

USA Today August 18, 2006

The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9536, August 19, 2006: 647-658 Registration Required

Yahoo News August 17, 2006

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