On last night’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver took on big tobacco. Since smoking in the United States is at an all-time low, you don’t hear too much about the evils of tobacco companies as much these days. Yet, somehow, business is better than ever for tobacco farmers. As John Oliver puts it, tobacco is “an aging product that’s decreasing in popularity, yet, somehow, it just can’t stop making money. It’s basically the agricultural equivalent of U2.”
So, what’s the deal, then? While tobacco companies may have eased their grip on the states, Philip Morris International, in particular, has targeted other areas of the world and are still as diabolically evil as ever. After a failed lawsuit against the Australian government over public health warnings, PMI has targeted smaller countries such as Uruguay, Togo, and even the Solomon Islands, allegedly bullying entire countries out of implementing warnings on their tobacco packaging. Think about that.
As a compromise, John Oliver and Last Week Tonight took the liberty of coming up with a mascot that will hopefully bridge the gap between small countries trying to enact public health measures and tobacco companies that want to brand their products: Jeff the Diseased Lung, the new face of Marlboro! Let’s all tweet, tag, and do whatever we can to make this happen. #JEFFWECAN