The documentation on tobacco slaves has already been told many times. It is astonishing that the medical journal The Lancet just published another short article on the tobacco industry and slave trade. In fact it is the enslaving practice of only buying tobacco leaves from farmers who previously had taken out a loan from the tobacco company. The control of the tobacco supply chain creates a slavish type of relationship between buyers and sellers. The dependency created leaves most tobacco farmers with no choice but to accept the conditions of the big multinational companies.

Taking the issue of slavery even further we might go as far as condemning the advertisement of tobacco and smoking in the neighborhood of schools as an attempt to enrol tobacco slaves. Only few young people manage to give up tobacco smoking later on with already acquired serious health conditions. Helping to break the vicious circle of dependency as a form of slavery to a drug is hard to accomplish. Specialized medical centers are rare and expensive. Pathologising smoking would be worthwhile rather than other diagnoses where easy to perform physical exercise could do a lot for prevention. Helping people to quit smoking or never start with it would be such a big step ahead.

Peter Laszlo Péri 1960 Help your neighbour