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Awareness

Alcohol Is Killing More People Than The Opioid Epidemic. So Why Aren’t We Talking About It?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Alcohol related deaths are the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the US.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we be glamorizing the consumption of alcohol in the media and in advertisements? Is it time to get real about the potentially life threatening risks of this drug?

In recent years, we have been hearing a lot about the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation. The Center for Disease Control reported that over 47,000 people died in the United States alone from an opiate overdose in 2017, that is almost 5 times the amount of deaths caused by opiates in 1999. This is important, and yes it is good this is getting the attention that it deserves. However, in the same year, an estimated 88,000 people died from alcohol related causes — Did anyone hear about that?

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Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and minimal physical activity. Given this, why aren’t we talking about it? And why don’t we see warning labels on alcoholic beverages? Why are we promoting such a harmful substance? We certainly don’t see huge billboards with people in bikinis popping oxycontin or injecting heroin, because we are well aware that these substances are addictive and can cause harm, so again, why are we openly promoting alcohol? Especially to young people?

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Is It Because It’s Legal?

Is it possible that alcohol related deaths do not garner as much of a cause for concern because it is legal, easily available and socially acceptable? Most likely. Alcohol sales reached $253.8 billion in the US in 2018 — this might also have something to do with it.

I’m not suggesting that criminalizing alcohol is a solution to this issue or anything, the same way I don’t see how it’s still against the law to use any drugs at all, regardless of how bad they are for you. I believe that we should have the say in how we treat ourselves and what we put into our bodies, not the government or a legal system. But instead of being portrayed as a harmful substance, like opiates, crystel meth, and crack are — alcohol is glamorized by the media; often being portrayed as sophisticated, fun, sexy and generally just the cool thing to do.

Alcohol Is Basically Encouraged In Our Society

There is no doubt about it, the use of alcohol is deeply ingrained in our culture. So much so, that choosing not to drink is often the more odd thing to do. People will always ask, oh, how come you’re not drinking? As opposed to other drugs, people won’t typically ask, oh why aren’t you smoking meth tonight? Or whatever it may be.

Binge drinking is practically expected on the weekends, and for many people it is a way to unwind, let loose and have fun after a long workweek. Many people justify their consumption this way insisting that it’s fine, because, I don’t drink every day. The thing about alcohol abuse is that it doesn’t have to be every day to be considered a problem or for the person to be considered an alcoholic.

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There are many ways we tend to justify our use, because the thought of giving it up entirely or admitting that we even have a problem can be extremely overwhelming — especially if our entire livelihoods are centered on it.

How Much Is Too Much?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) created a web site called “Rethinking Drinking” to highlight the amount of misconceptions about what is considered “low-risk” and “high-risk” alcohol consumption. It turns out, more than three drinks in a day or more than seven drinks per week for women and four drinks per day or 14 drinks per week for men are considered “high-risk,” and these patterns can be detrimental both in the short and long-term.

Some people might have an attitude of, I don’t drink at all during the week, so I have all of my allotted alcoholic beverages on the weekend — however, for men consuming 5 or more drinks and for women consuming 4 or more drinks in about a 2 hour period is considered binge drinking.

Is It Time To ‘Rethink That Drink’?

Should we have more campaigns aimed to raise awareness about the potential harm caused by alcohol? Because it is legal it seems to have this view of also being safe, because our government officials and lawmakers always have our best interest at heart, right? 😉 But if we aren’t educating young people effectively on the potential risks associated with alcohol consumption, then perhaps there should be more of an effort to make the risks known on the packaging and even eliminating ads. In my opinion, it simply does not make sense to be legally allowed to advertise something that is so harmful — especially in such a glamorized way.

I don’t know what it’s like now for teens and if it is still considered “cool” to drink and if there is a ton of peer pressure around the whole thing. My hope is that this view will shift, young people will be made more aware of the risks and more people will find the courage to step away from what is no longer serving them or what’s not in their best interest.

Many health advocates and people that are very cautious with regards to what they are putting into their body are still completely overlooking alcohol as a harmful substance. Now, there is no judgment to anyone who chooses to drink, but I think it’s time to take a good hard look at these things and at least have the awareness behind it. Surely, it can be fun from time to time to relax, to loosen up, to be silly, but when we are relying on it to escape our unhappiness from our current situation, well then maybe it’s time to face these situations head on, rather than escape them and change whatever is encouraging us to reach for that glass of wine, whiskey or beer in the first place.

How Can We Support Others?

The fact of the matter remains, many people who drink can do so sparingly, not in excess and not very often. They have a handle on it and it doesn’t interfere with their lives in a negative way. However, for the ones who have struggled — with drinking too much, too frequently, with black outs, it can be difficult to even know if it’s a problem because of how acceptable it is in our society.

If someone says, no thanks I’m not drinking, don’t ask why, and instead try, right on! And no peer pressure. I’ve had problems with drinking, have quit and relapsed twice, currently I’m sober. Before I stopped drinking this time around I would open up to some people about it, questioning my use and whether or not it was harmful, many people would tell me, ahh don’t be so hard on yourself! We are allowed to enjoy life, or shut down from time to time if we need to. If someone is expressing to you that they are concerned they might have a drinking problem, don’t make them second guess themselves, if they are opening up about it please try to support them. We don’t always know what others are going through — apparently even if they flat out tell us. This may also challenge our own relationship with alcohol, but if you can keep that separate.

Do You Have A Problem?

If you are concerned that you might have a drinking problem, you probably do. Keeping in mind that having a problem with alcohol doesn’t necessarily make you an alcoholic. You may have a problem with alcohol if you can identify with any of the following scenarios:

  1. Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of alcohol.
  2. Cravings, or a strong desire to use alcohol.
  3. Being unable to cut down on alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
  4. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite negative interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to alcohol use.
  5. Using alcohol in physically dangerous situations (such as driving or operating machinery).
  6. Drinking more or for a longer time than originally intended.
  7. Continuing to abuse alcohol despite the presence of a psychological or physical problem that is probably due to alcohol use.
  8. Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, work, or school because of alcohol use.
  9. Giving up previously enjoyed social, occupational, or recreational activities because of alcohol use.
  10. Having a tolerance (i.e. needing to drink increasingly large or more frequent amounts of alcohol to achieve the desired effect).
  11. Developing symptoms of withdrawal when efforts are made to stop using alcohol.

A great way to get things in check is to commit to a period of time without any alcohol consumption and monitor how you feel, what you accomplish, and if you feel uplifted. You may need to ask your friends to support you during this time and have some sober activities prepared! Board games, cards, movies, sports, hiking — all these things can be great sober fun!

If your problem is more severe than this, or you are needing help in any way, reach out to a trusted friend or family member or you may benefit from your local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for a whole slough of support and resources. If that’s not your jam, check out Hello Sunday Morning for assistance in moderating your use.

My hope is that in the near future it will be more common not to drink and doing so will be more like taking a drug, or having an experience that is typically out of the ordinary.

It is never too late to make a change, first step is to get really honest with yourself…

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Awareness

“Wearing A Mask…Offers Little, If Any, Protection From Infection” – Harvard Doctors

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A study published in the New England Medical Journal outlines how it's already known that masks provide little to zero benefit when it comes to protection a public setting.

  • Reflect On:

    Should we have the freedom to wear masks? Why are so many things we are doing right now contrary to data and evidence? Are these measures helping us thrive, or are they totalitarian type measures?

What Happened: Is this fake news? No, it’s a quote directly from a paper published a couple of months ago in the New England Journal of Medicine by, Michael Klompas, M.D., M.P.H., Charles A. Morris, M.D., M.P.H., Julia Sinclair, M.B.A., Madelyn Pearson, D.N.P., R.N., and Erica S. Shenoy, M.D., Ph.D. Whether or not it’s may be up for debate, but one thing is for sure, the conversation shouldn’t be censored. According to the paper:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

The calculus may be different, however, in health care settings. First and foremost, a mask is a core component of the personal protective equipment (PPE) clinicians need when caring for symptomatic patients with respiratory viral infections, in conjunction with gown, gloves, and eye protection. Masking in this context is already part of routine operations for most hospitals. What is less clear is whether a mask offers any further protection in health care settings in which the wearer has no direct interactions with symptomatic patients.

The study goes on to examine whether a mask alone is even an effective health-care measure, and discusses its capability alone devoid of other, what seem to be more important practices, like washing your hands. The point is, outside of a healthcare setting, where their usefulness is still questionable, they provide no clear protection from Covid-19, so why are they being mandated like they are? Instead of a mandate, should the citizenry simply be encouraged to wear masks, with the government explaining the science and still giving people a choice?  Why are they saying it’s to protect other people when there is no evidence that it actually does that?

What’s interesting about this particular study is that it’s one of multiple that mention how masks are more of a symbolic representation. As mentioned above, the paper states that “in many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.” Again, the study is an examination of the validity of masks in a health care setting (which is also questionable) with regards to the new coronavirus, and clearly states that it’s already known that they offer almost zero protection in a public setting.

It is also clear that masks serve symbolic roles. Masks are not only tools, they are also talismans that may help increase health care workers’ perceived sense of safety, well-being, and trust in their hospitals. Although such reactions may not be strictly logical, we are all subject to fear and anxiety, especially during times of crisis. One might argue that fear and anxiety are better countered with data and education than with a marginally beneficial mask, particularly in light of the worldwide mask shortage, but it is difficult to get clinicians to hear this message in the heat of the current crisis. Expanded masking protocols’ greatest contribution may be to reduce the transmission of anxiety, over and above whatever role they may play in reducing transmission of Covid-19.

The study provides other justifications for masks, but the prevention of Covid-19 is not one of them.

Below is a quote from a very interesting paper published in 2016, titled “The Surgical Mask Is A Bad Fit For Risk Reduction.”

As represented by our cinema and other media, Western society expects too much of masks. In the public’s mind, the still-legitimate use of masks for source control has gone off-label; masks are thought to prevent infection. From here, another problem arises: because surgical masks are thought to protect against infection in the community setting, people wearing masks for legitimate purposes (those who have a cough in a hospital, say) form part of the larger misperception and act to reinforce it. Even this proper use of surgical masks is incorporated into a larger improper use in the era of pandemic fear, especially in Asia, where such fear is high. The widespread misconception about the use of surgical masks — that wearing a mask protects against the transmission of virus — is a problem of the kind theorized by German sociologist Ulrich Beck.

The birth of the mask came from the realization that surgical wounds need protection from the droplets released in the breath of surgeons. The technology was applied outside the operating room in an effort to control the spread of infectious epidemics. In the 1919 influenza pandemic, masks were available and were dispensed to populations, but they had no impact on the epidemic curve. At the time, it was unknown that the influenza organism is nanoscopic and can theoretically penetrate the surgical mask barrier. As recently as 2010, the US National Academy of Sciences declared that, in the community setting, “face masks are not designed or certified to protect the wearer from exposure to respiratory hazards.” A number of studies have shown the inefficacy of the surgical mask in household settings to prevent transmission of the influenza virus…

A study published in 2015 found that cloth masks can increase healthcare workers risk of infection. It also called into question the efficacy of medical masks. You can read more about that and access it here.

The physiological effects of breathing elevated inhaled CO2 may include changes in visual performance, modified exercise endurance, headaches and dyspnea. The psychological effects include decreased reasoning and alertness, increased irritability, severe dyspnea, headache, dizziness, perspiration, and short-term memory loss. (source)

There are studies out there that also suggest that wearing masks can indeed help prevent Covid-19, especially in an acute care setting, it’s just that we are hearing so much of it that we forget to examine the science on the other side of the coin.

The list goes on, these are just a few examples.

Manufactured Panic?

The next important question to ask ourselves is, are health authorities making this pandemic out to be more serious than it actually is? Many scientists and epidemiologists from around the world have expressed this belief, and many of them, as a result, have been censored by social media platforms. Why is there an authoritarian “fact-checker” going around censoring information, evidence, and opinions being presented by some of the worlds leading scientists in this area simply because it opposes the narrative given to us by organizations like The World Health Organization? (WHO)

Are masks being used to prolong fear and hysteria?

John P. A. Ioannidis, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Stanford University has said that the infection fatality rate is close to 0 percent for people under the age of 45 years old. Why are we taking such measures for a respiratory infection when tens of millions of people get infected and die from respiratory viruses every single year?

Why is there so much controversy surrounding the deaths? For example, in Toronto Canada, “Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.” (source)

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, recently stated that, even if it’s clear one died of an alternative cause, their death will still be marked as a COVID death.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths amid complaints that it inflated numbers. This has been a common theme throughout the US as well as the World.

Vittorio Sgarbi, Italian politician Mayor of Sutri gave an emotional speech at a hearing on the 24th of April where he emphasized that the number of deaths in Italy due to COVID-19 are completely false and that the people are being lied to.

This isn’t even the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to manufactured deaths.

What’s really going on here? Is this actually about the pandemic, or was Edward Snowden right? That governments are using the new coronavirus to impose more authoritarian measures on the population, measures that will stick around long after the virus is gone? You can read more about his comments here.

Was Dr. Ron Paul correct when he said that this virus is less dangerous than it’s being made out to be? And that people will profit both politically and financially from this in the form of more of our basic rights being taken away? Is this simply being used like the justification for mass surveillance was used? To protect the population, or is it for, as NSA whistle-blower William Binney says, “total population control?” You can read more about his comments here.

The Takeaway

It’s quite clear that a large portion of the population doesn’t agree with various medical mandates, and wearing masks is one of those mandates. The reason is justified, and that’s simply because there is no evidence that they can protect the general public, and depending on the material, in some cases it can be harmful. I find it hard to believe that someone would have an issue with someone else not wanting to breathe in their own carbon monoxide, but I also understand that many peoples perception with regards to this pandemic has been severely manipulated.

On the flip side, due to so many instances where things don’t make sense, this pandemic is contributing to another large amount of people questioning what we are being told and being forced to do by our government, this is causing a deep awakening of the masses. Perhaps this is the larger reason it’s playing out from a collective consciousness perspective.

At the end of the day, more measures are continually pushed upon the population without their consent. We don’t have to continue to obey, continue to elect, and help maintain a system that is clearly not serving us to thrive.

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Awareness

The Physicians For Informed Consent Ask If The MMR Vaccine Is More Dangerous Than The Measles

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What Happened: The Physicians for Informed Consent (PIC) are a group of doctors and scientists from around the world who have come together to support informed consent when it comes to mandatory vaccine measures. Their information is based on science. Their mission is to deliver data on infectious diseases and vaccines, and to unite doctors, scientists, healthcare professionals, attorneys, and families who support voluntary vaccinations. Their vision is that doctors and the public are able to evaluate the data on infectious diseases and vaccines objectively and voluntarily engage in informed decision-making about vaccination. 

You can check out their directors, advisors, and founding members here.

The organization itself is much bigger than the founding members, and includes a coalition of organizations, doctors and scientists.

On their website, they’ve put out some excellent downloadable PDF’s with regards to the MMR vaccine. There are four of them that all present different points.

  1. MEASLES: What Parents Need To Know
  2. MMR VACCINE: Is It Safer Than Measles? 
  3. Waning Immunity & The MMR Vaccine 
  4. FAQ’s: The MMR Vaccine versus the Measles

One of them deals with “what parents need to know about the measles vaccine” and another one presents the information that has them questioning if the MMR vaccine is safer than the measles. They point out that the chances of dying from measles and make many comparisons to the vaccine.

According to a MedAlerts search of the FDA Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, as of 2/5/19, the cumulative raw count of adverse events from measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines alone was: 93,929 adverse events, 1,810 disabilities, 6,902 hospitalizations, and 463 deaths. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid out approximately $4 billion to compensate families of vaccine-injured children. As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering HHS claims that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

The PDF’s are well-sourced and laid out in an easy to read and understand type of manner, and quite detailed. Their arguments are quite compelling, and it would be interesting to present this information to a physician on the opposite end of the spectrum in order to hear or read their rebuttal. So feel free to take a look at them if interested!

Why This Is Important: When it comes to both our individual and collective health, all of us simply want what’s best. Nobody can really deny that, especially for our children. The issue is, many people have been made to believe that vaccines are for the greater good of everybody. We are made to believe that children, for example, who are not vaccinated are actually a danger to the vaccinated children.

The Physicians for Informed Consent are well aware of this argument, and they present a lot of information on why that’s not true. At the end of the day, in order to produce “herd immunity” from vaccines, the vaccines must be 100 percent effective for everybody, all of the time. We already know that that’s not the case and that a large majority are susceptible to vaccine injury. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury act alone is enough to argue against mandatory vaccination and the idea that the unvaccinated are a risk to the vaccinated. In fact, vaccines have been known to spread diseases. This has happened with polio as well as the measles.

For example, during the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccinees. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences. The media (Pharma-owned) generated high public anxiety. This fear-mongering led to the demonization of unvaccinated children, who were perceived as the spreaders of this disease. Rebecca J. McNall, a co-author of the published report, is a CDC official in the Division of Viral Diseases who had the data proving that the measles outbreak was in part caused by the vaccine. It is evidence of the vaccine’s failure to provide immunity. (source)

There are actually decades of examples when it comes to the measles.

The Takeaway

Vaccinations are quite a controversial topic, and vaccine hesitancy continues to increase among not only the global citizenry, but among doctors and physicians as well, which was also expressed at the recent World Health Organization vaccine summit. You can read more about that here.

In today’s day and age, it’s important to ask ourselves if measures taken under the guise of goodwill are really necessary and good for us. Take terrorism, for example, the idea that those who fund the problem, arm the problem, and in some cases create the problem then propose the solution of foreign infiltration, again, under the guise of goodwill.

So what were the real intentions, to stop the terrorists or to take over the country for natural resources and economic power and control?

Are people capitalizing off of the coronavirus? Not just for profit but for control, like Edward Snowden mentioned?

It’s also important to note that pharmaceutical companies hold tremendous lobbying power, even more so than big oil. (source)

Ask yourself, should we not have the right to decide for ourselves what goes into our body? Especially when there is a tremendous amount of flawed logic with the idea of mass vaccinations? Should we not have access to appropriate double blind placebo controlled safety studies? How come there are none for vaccines?

Why are there massive ridicule campaigns against organizations, professionals and people who create awareness about vaccine safety? Is vaccine safety not in the best interests of everybody? Should we not be analyzing and questioning instead of simply believing?

We must ask ourselves if we want to continue to give our consciousness and perceptions about certain medications over to these global and federal health authorities or, is it time to start asking more questions and pointing out facts that don’t really resonate? Why is discussion being discouraged, censored and even punished?

Why is Julian Assange in Jail? Why do we jail those who expose crimes and identify with those who commit them?

At the end of the day, vaccines are not a one size fits all product, and that’s quite clear. There are risks associated with vaccines, and evidence suggests that they are nowhere near as rare as they’re made out to be.

If we can come together as billions and shut down for the coronavirus, imagine what we could do if we come together to oppose measures that we as a citizenry, and as an entire collective, do not desire.

 

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Alternative News

Soft Drink Companies Caught Using Big Tobacco’s Playbook To Lure Young Children

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Documents obtained by researchers clearly outline the unethical and immoral actions Tobacco companies used to 'hook' kids onto sugary drinks. They use the same tactics they did for smoking.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do and have our federal health regulatory agencies allow such products to be approved as safe for consumption when they are clearly linked to a variety of diseases, like cancer?

Many moves made by multiple big corporations are extremely unethical, immoral, and downright shocking. These corporations have completely compromised our federal health regulatory agencies, and it’s quite clear that they do not care about the health of the human race and will do anything when it comes to the success of the products they manufacture, including taking illegal and/or immoral actions.

One of the more recent examples comes from the tobacco industry. Companies within the industry used colors, flavors, and marketing techniques to lure and entice children as potential future smokers. They actually used and applied these same strategies to sweetened beverages starting as early as 1963, according to a study conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco.

As the Sugar Scientists point out:

The study, which draws from a cache of previously secret documents from the tobacco industry that is part of the UCSF Industry Documents Library tracked the acquisition and subsequent marketing campaigns of sweetened drink brands by two leading tobacco companies: R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris. It found that as tobacco was facing increased scrutiny from health authorities, its executives transferred the same products and tactics to peddle soft drinks. The study was published in the March 2019 issue of BMJ.

“Executives in the two largest U.S.-based tobacco companies had developed colors and flavors as additives for cigarettes and used them to build major children’s beverage product lines, including Hawaiian Punch, Kool-Aid, Tang and Capri Sun,” said senior author Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH, of the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Even after the tobacco companies sold these brands to food and beverage corporations, many of the product lines and marketing techniques designed to attract kids are still in use today.” (source)

The new papers, which are available in the UCSF Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, a subset of the UCSF Industry Documents Library, reveal the close and tight knit relationships between the big tobacco and big food industries. In fact, in the 60s and 70s, these companies conducted taste tests with mothers and their children to evaluate sweetness, colors and flavors for Hawaiian Punch product line extensions. The children’s preferences were prioritized.

Kool-Aid Joins Marlboro

Meanwhile, tobacco competitor Philip Morris had acquired Kool-Aid, via General Foods, in 1985. The company flipped its marketing audience from families to children, created its “Kool-Aid Man” mascot, and launched collaborations with branded toys, including Barbie and Hot Wheels. It also developed a children’s Kool-Aid loyalty program described as “our version of the Marlboro Country Store,” a cigarette incentives program. (source)

“The Wacky Wild Kool-Aid style campaign had tremendous reach and impact,” said first author Kim Nguyen, ScD, MPH, who is also with the UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. “Lots of kids in the ’80s dreamed of getting swag from the Wacky Warehouse. What is really ‘wacky’ is that the Kool-Aid kid program was modeled after a tobacco marketing strategy designed to build allegiance with smokers.”

The tobacco giant also acquired Capri Sun and Tang, and used similar child-focused integrated marketing strategies to drive those sales.

“The industry claims that these tobacco-inspired marketing strategies are not actually targeting children and should be excluded from these industry-led agreements,” said Schmidt. “But the evidence cited in our research shows that these product lines and marketing techniques were specifically designed for and tested on children.” (source)

The UCSF Industry Documents Library was launched in 2002 as a digital portal for tobacco documents. Today, the library includes close to 15 million internal tobacco, drug, chemical and food industry documents used by scientists, policymakers, journalists and community members in their efforts to improve and protect the health of the public.

The Takeaway

At the end of the day, it’s important to recognize that government health authorities and the corporations we buy our food from, among other things, really don’t care about us. This has become extremely evident, as they are responsible for the sharp rise in numerous diseases. It’s not uncommon to see parents buy their children products similar to the ones listed above, and that’s due to mass brainwashing and the fact that we’ve been made to feel that these products are actually safe. This is why awareness is so critical.

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