Our Legal Remedy

In PANAT’s View

The essence of the tobacco problem is nicotine addiction.  Nicotine is an alkaloid.  Similar to other alkaloids such as caffeine, cocaine, codeine, heroin, morphine, methamphetamine and others, nicotine effects mood.  Smokers use tobacco to benefit from the positive mood effects of nicotine.  Nicotine can have antidepressant, anti-anxiety, stimulant, euphoric or other effects.  Some smokers feel calmed down, some get an increase in energy, some less depressed when they use tobacco.  The effect of nicotine can vary from person to person.  Nicotine, unfortunately, is highly addictive.  Following repeated exposure to alkaloids like nicotine the brain is perpetually restless without daily, repetitive dosing of the drug.  The person’s brain depends on the drug to maintain what the drug has now determined “normal mood” to be. The person’s brain, or indeed the person, is addicted.   Most smokers report feeling depressed, irritable, easily tearful, anxious, or unable to get motivated without nicotine.  They require daily dosing with nicotine just to feel ‘normal’.  Nicotine is powerful.  Smokers will describe the effect of nicotine as their most pleasurable emotional or physical sensation.   This is not uncommon among addicts.  Nicotine, heroin, oxycontin, cocaine, methamphetamine and alcohol addicts often find their drug of choice more pleasurable than love and sex—and their failed sobriety and failed relationships bear witness to this phenomenon.

6,000,000 tobacco related deaths worldwide each year witness to enslavement by the alkaloid nicotine.

The transport system for the addicting nicotine is tobacco.  The tobacco industry itself has referred to cigarettes as "nicotine delivery devices".  Whether chewed, smoked, or snorted, substances in tobacco cause cancer.   Nicotine addiction has made and continues to make the tobacco industry wealthy.  Tobacco taxes are a significant and extremely reliable source of revenue for most governments, after all, most smokers use tobacco all day long in order to appease their addiction.  One smoker said this  “It’s the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night, and I smoke all day long”.

Each day, worldwide, 80,000 adolescents smoke their first cigarette.

Nicotine addiction will molest many of them for the rest of their lives.  One third of them will eventually die from a tobacco-related illness.  The tobacco companies of course, blame the victim.  They tell us—“Smokers smoke because they like it…it makes them feel good”, "Smokers are free to choose whether or not to smoke", "Anyone can quit, it’s just a question of wanting to".  What they mean to tell us of course is that smoking tobacco is the free act of a free mind.  Addiction science tells us otherwise.   Scientists are gathering proof that addiction is the result of brain damage. Addiction is, in fact, a neurological disease.  While addicts of every type appear rational and deliberate in continuing their habit, medical research is uncovering proof that they are neither rational nor free.  Recent research suggests that the adolescent brain can become addicted to nicotine after just one cigarette! 

The human brain loves nicotine.   Using the word love to describe the attachment of the brain to nicotine and other addicting compounds is not far off the mark.  There is an addiction/love connection.  Both involve activation of the same areas of the brain.  Some addicts say that the symptoms of drug withdrawal are similar to the feelings of heartbreak when a romantic relationship fails.  While love is essentially a spiritual and emotional experience, its’ physical sensations and expressions are, nevertheless, mediated neurochemically.  Love and addiction at some level render us dependent and helpless.  Many addicts will tell you that the euphoria of drugs is many time more powerful than the feeling of being in love, that talking or even thinking about their drug can give them a feeling of sexual arousal!  Their devotion to their addiction, damaging their health and relationships, makes evident the power of addictive chemicals.

The tobacco industry understands the brain’s emotional weakness for nicotine.  They have worked to increase the nicotine concentration in tobacco products.  Adulteration of tobacco with chemicals and additives causes the formation of potent gaseous or “freebase” nicotine increasing the likelihood the user will become nicotine-addicted. 

QUI TACET CONSENTIT

TO BEAR WITH PATIENCE WRONGS DONE TO ONESELF IS A MARK OF PERFECTION, BUT TO BEAR WITH PATIENCE WRONGS DONE TO SOMEONE ELSE IS A MARK OF IMPERFECTION AND EVEN OF ACTUAL SIN.”  Thomas Aquinas-philosopher, theologian

Where are our religious leaders?

It appears our religious leaders fail to recognize their obligation to discourage activities that do harm.  What, if any, is the obligation of religious bodies toward society? Good governments extend to religious entities a unique status and privilege because of the historical role of religion in helping societies to endure.   Early in the history of modern civilization emperors and kings recognized the contribution of religious institutions to the development of self-less, moral citizens who contributed to and assisted in the prosperity and the perpetuation of the society.    Historically churches were forgiven any obligation to pay taxes indeed Roman emperors and English kings established laws enforcing the duty to tithe to the help the church in its’ various works and secondarily insuring the prosperity (see the  Edict of Milan) of the society.  

Times have changed.   The tobacco scourge is evidence that modern religion recognizes no fiduciary role or obligation to properly teach, or protect, or to correct error.  Even those religious denominations that preach against the use of tobacco appear reluctant or unwilling to engage other creeds in this important world health issue.  Many religions, while convinced of their individual monopoly on Divine Truth, fail to correct the errors of their brothers.  Religiously-affiliated medical schools and hospitals all over the world know about the damage done by tobacco.   Hospital chaplains and clergy celebrants of funerals for dead smokers are constantly reminded of the tobacco scourge—and the problem continues. The Latter Day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists and several other churches preach against tobacco but none work to correct the error of other believers.  The Rabbinical Council of America condemned tobacco as ‘non-kosher’ in 2006.  Have Christians and Muslims no obligation to consider the recommendations of their spiritual older brothers? 

Religious organizations have become intellectual ivory towers where great minds ponder deep, abstract mysteries oblivious and/or indifferent to 6,000,000 annual tobacco deaths.  The shepherd’s crook, once a symbol of the fiduciary role of the episcopate, is in the recent age simply a wardrobe accessory.   The failure of the world religious community to condemn the tobacco industry is, in the view of PANAT, religious malpractice.

Where are our political leaders?

 Has government no duty to protect from an industry whose goal is to addict and enslave the customer?  The human person is human insofar as he is free. Addiction is dehumanizing, enslaving.  Are not governmental and religious bodies obliged by a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of those who look to them for protection and instruction?  We know that governments are financially dependent on tobacco/nicotine addiction revenue.   Yet why are safer forms of nicotine prohibited?  Let governments tax electronic cigarettes, nicotine lollipops, nicotine lip balm, nicotine suppositories!  Tobacco products however should be prohibited.

Our Legal Remedy

We are pursuing a legal remedy to the stalemate we have described above.  Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco intends to bring legal action against religious institutions.  Please help us with our work by giving us a small donation.  We believe that religious bodies have neglected to protect us and have defaulted on their fiduciary responsibility–and are legally culpable for their omission.

Please Support Our Work

Please sign our PETITION as a witness to your support of our efforts.  Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco is dependent on private donations DONATE NOW.  Please help us, for the protection of future generations.

Thank you,  

Claude A. Curran MD,  founding member of Physicians and Nurses Against Tobacco

Contact Dr. Curran by using the form to the right.