Oil and Cigarettes

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced that 2006 was the most profitable year in their history.  Actually in any corporations history!  Exxon recorded 39.5 billion dollars in profit for 2006.  Within days of this acknowledgement Exxon Mobil was trying to get a federal appeals court to have another look at the $2.5 billion compensation to Alaskans for the 1989 Valdez tanker oil disaster.  Originally an Anchorage court ordered the oil corporation to pay $5 billion, but that amount was cut in half.

It made me think about the tobacco company settlement in 1998.  Forty-six states took a settlement of 206 billion dollars from the cigarette manufacturers to cover health costs of sick smokers.  It took 85 years from the time that the tobacco industry introduced cigarettes to soldiers during World War I to the $206 billion settlement. 

1914 was a turning point in the tobacco industry because this hooked a lot of men into smoking cigarettes.  It was a boom from that time on.  It was 1950 when the first medical report came out that linked lung cancer to cigarette smoking, and in 1965 due to pressure from the U.S. Surgeon General cigarette packages had to carry a warning about cancer and smoking. 

No one ever talks about the health risks of inhaling automobile exhaust.  Maybe there isn’t any, but I highly doubt it.  There is that whole global warming issue – oh, but that’s still debatable at least in the United States.    Automobile production probably hit it’s stride in 1950 after World War II.  Americans moved to the suburbs, and by 1956 the street car systems in almost every city had been replaced my bus systems. So I figure on a comparison time line I’d say that the oil industry can enjoy ample profits until around 2035.  That’s about twenty-eight more years before they have to own up to the disasters they have caused to the planet.  I don’t know if we can wait that long.  I’m not even sure we can wait another ten years!  There is no excuse right now as to why we don’t have affordable, humanitarian friendly, non-gas guzzling transportation or vehicles. 

If you want to protect your health, write a congressperson about this concern.  There is no reason why the oil industry is making humongous profits at the cost of human lives.  We tax the heck out of the tobacco industry, so why does the oil industry get by? 

– Jake Drew

Come visit us at http://www.LivinginLethargy.com

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