Philip Morris and other cigarette makers know very well the economic power of the $ 1 trillion income of 55.8 million smokers. Smokers "fuel the engine" of the tobacco industry. Smokers are "an economic force" the tobacco industry cannot do without.
Smokers also provide doctors and hospitals with business. Too frequently they deprive families of a wage earner or a parent through protracted illness or early death. That part of the $1 trillion income which is spent on tobacco products could serve the economy and the people better if it were spent on addiction therapy, education, training, even nutritious food.
If smokers control that much income they should be able to pay a higher tax on tobacco products. That money could reduce the deficit or better, help pay health care costs for cancer, heart and lung disease victims, and to educate children on the health dangers of tobacco. It could be used along with tobacco subsidy funds to ease the transition for farmers from tobacco to food crops and to retrain tobacco factory workers.
The tobacco firms are "running scared" but don't let them scare you with their half-truths and distortions.