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1982 Excise profits

Congress doubles the excise tax on cigarettes to 16 cents a pack. The tobacco companies enter a lip-service protest–claiming it discriminates against smokers, who are poorer on average than nonsmokers. They then use this cover to boost the price of cigarettes at a rate never before contemplated. Their profit margin soars to well over 20 percent, twice the average return on equity in corporate America.

1984 The Waxman cometh

After a bitter struggle, California Rep. Henry Waxman engineers a bill that forces tobacco companies to list their ingredients and toughen the warning labels on cigarettes. The bill marks a turning point in the industry’s hold on the federal legislative machinery; smoking is no longer an issue that can embarrass a congressperson. A Philip Morris attorney dubs Waxman “a very dangerous adversary.” Nonetheless, the bill does nothing to restrict the manufacture or marketing of cigarettes.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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