Light cigs, heavy profits

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Getting the tobacco industry to speak truthfully about the dangers of its products is normally like convincing Lex Luthor to put warning labels on kryptonite. So it’s pretty ironic that British American Tobacco has been conducting a massive campaign to convince the Indonesian government to require all cigarette makers to list tar and nicotine levels on every pack, as the CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR reports.

An attack of conscience? Nope, more like a marketing strategy. Because of loose regulations and a lack of public education about the health risks of tobacco, Indonesians have developed a taste for high tar cigarettes — high enough to make Lucky Strikes taste like Virginia Slims. BAT, the world’s second-largest tobacco company, is pitching its product as the “healthier” alternative to locally produced coffin nails. “It may be ironic, but this is just business,” says one tobacco analyst.

Last year, the Indonesian government signed a law limiting nicotine and tar levels in cigarettes, giving BAT a huge advantage over local manufacturers. But now the government, under pressure from BAT’s competitors, is considering rewriting the law. BAT’s opponents say the implication that “lower tar = less health risk” has never been proven.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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