BAT: Real Supervillains

Martin Broughton, Chairman of BAT. This is the man who plans to give your kids cancer

I grew up reading comics. I still read comics, although now they’re called graphic novels for some wanky reason.

In comics, the supervillains have amazingly diabolical and quite often slightly unbelievable schemes of evil. That is the point, after all – it’s all meant to be much larger than real life.

But how will comic writers compete with BAT, who have now upped the evil stakes of reality?

“Britain’s largest tobacco company has been testing chocolate and alcohol-flavoured cigarettes, which campaigners say are aimed at enticing children to smoke.

British American Tobacco, whose brands include Rothmans and Lucky Strike, has been carrying out scientific trials on animals in Canada.

As well as chocolate, wine and sherry, BAT has also experimented with cocoa, corn syrup, cherry juice, maple syrup and vanilla.” (Source: The Independent)

Can you believe this? It sounds like it was lifted straight from a comic. Evil company decides to hook kids by making choccy-flavoured ciggies!

What the hell is going on? It seems to me that there are two rules for drug pushers:

1. If you’re a small-time pusher, just killing a few people around you and you don’t wear a suit, you get arrested and imprisoned

2. If you’re an enormous, multi-national pusher, killing millions of people for decades and you wear very nice suits, you get away with it. You’ll probably get a peerage and a gorgeous lifestyle.

In fact, you can deliberately target millions of children, as the alcohol industry does with alcopops, and nothing is done. Nothing. It’s prefectly morally acceptable for a business to help destroy the health of millions of children as long as it turns a tidy profit. Meanwhile, the tabloids whip-up moral panics about Ecstasy or crack or heroin, drugs which kill a handful of people a year compared to alcohol and tobacco. And that’s not even adding in the violent crimes committed by drunks.

It’s not human lives that matter: it’s profit.

Now BAT are openly testing product which is an attempt to link cigarettes to confectionary. I can’t think of a more cynical attempt to entice children to try a highly-addictive killer drug.

So. We have the supervillains. Where are the superheroes?