Tobaco Settlement Essay, Research Paper
“The Bottom Line” is an opinion which makes a claim stating the correct uses of tobacco
settlement money. The money should be spent on smoking related health care and prevention,
according to the claim. In order to support his claim the writer resorts mostly to using
The title of the article gives the first assumption made by the writer. The catch phrase used for
the title, “The Bottom Line”, is immediately at work trying to convince the reader that whatever
the content of the article, it is the truth. The writer smartly tries to set this tone even before the
reader begins reading the first sentence of the piece. The statements made by the writer might
contain no truth at all. The reason for this tactic is simple. The phrase “bottom line” is a popular
catch phrase with universal meaning. Anyone in our society would expect to get the truth
whenever they receive a bottom line statement, regardless if it is from their physician or a used
car salesman. When accountants determine the profits and margins of a business, we consider
this to be the bottom line. In this case, just a couple of sets of numbers, even if distilled from
perhaps millions pieces of data, is held to be a fundamental universal truth for rating the
performance of a business. The writer is trying to quickly connect this article, by means of its
title, to this presumption he hopes many of its readers hold.
When the writer of the editorial reveals what he believes the correct answer for the issue about to
be presented is, another assumption is immediately made. The first sentence of the first
paragraph begins with “The bottom line in the question…”. The phrase “the bottom line” is
implied to constitute the same meaning as the word answer. I do not see the reason why, in most
cases, anyone should believe this. When tackling a question of any sort, would a person be
looking for a bottom line to be the answer for a question? The phrase “bottom line” and the word
answer are not perfect synonyms. The tests I have taken since kindergarten never requested the
answer of a question in the form of a bottom line. These catch phrases are only a tactic to snare
less wary readers into quickly believing the writers opinion.
The end of the first and the whole second paragraph are another assumption. The author assumes
that just because the state fought the tobacco industry in the name of “…smoking related health
care and prevention”, the concessions it won belongs to this area. Not all areas of revenue in
New York State put their funds back into the areas they came from. For example, lotto revenues
do not go back into expanding lotto games once their expenses are met, and income taxes do not
go completely towards forwarding the cause of income.
By the time the third paragraph is written, the next assumption occurs when the topic the opinion
focuses on is stated. The tobacco settlement money awarded to the states is argued to be needed
“…to fight off the scourge of tobacco-related illnesses…”. Whether we need to do this or not is a
pure assumption. Specifically, the paragraph outlines three separate areas we need to put this
money towards. Statistics could defend the need to replenish money lost to youth illness and
state funds. When the writer states the need for the money to be used to fight off tobacco related
illnesses that sap our potential, he assumes we know what the word potential means in this case.
Moving down to paragraph six, the assumptions first stated in paragraphs one two and three are
restated. At the bottom of that paragraph the writer assumes smoking to be the direct cause for
ravaged health. This could be proven, but in the sentence above the last one the assumption is
made that “…smoking cessation programs and other anti-smoking efforts…” will prevent any
other adverse effects from smoking to happen. What is other? It could be anything from laws
restricting marketing to the approval of FDA oversight during the manufacture of cigarettes.
Paragraphs thirteen is a one sentence assumption of morality. The writer tries to back up his
point in paragraph twelve. As I stated earlier, just because a state revenue comes from an area
does not mean the funds necessarily will to go back to that area. This pattern of stating an outside
opinion and then declaring it a fact is used in almost the same fashion with the next two
paragraphs. The writer quotes a statement from a director of the American Lung Association.
Although the American Lung Association is respected for the purpose they defend, respiratory
health , I can not assume their directors are right about everything.
Paragraphs seventeen through twenty outline the problem of how diminished cigarette sales cut
into settlement payments the state was depending on. In order to fill this budget gap, the counties
are spending some of the initial settlement money given to them before the payments began since
the reduced payments will not balance their budgets alone. The decision made by the state to
spend the settlement money on the budget, and not on anti-smoking is wrong according to the
writer. This restates the assumption made in the beginning, and in paragraphs twelve and
thirteen. The last paragraph restates this assumption again, adding to it the new assumption that
this course of action by the state will be costly in the future.
I feel the writer presented a fairly strong case for his view. The downside of his opinion in the
writing is its use of assumptions, but not fact. If you look at the argument it can seem appealing
if it is seen from the perspective of the main causes he fought for in the piece. They are youth,
health, and The American Lung Association. Some health care workers, farmers who grow
tobacco, and tobacco company workers might view anti-tobacco spending as a means to end
their livelihood. They would probably not agree so easily with the message of this piece. Since I
have very little connection to any of these interests I remain neutral, looking for hard facts to
base my own opinion on.
The argument’s lack of statistical support is a major weakness. The writer provided no evidence
of instances where spending money on a certain anti-smoking campaign produced worthwhile
results. The success of increased anti-smoking spending is assumed. No mention of past attempts
at this leads me to wonder, is the writer not mentioning past programs where money that was
spent on fighting off tobacco produced little success? If the writer had included some statistics,
along with his opinion and show of good will, the piece would be more convincing.
The writer based the validity of the opinions argument only on assumptions. The whole writing
lacked hard statistical evidence of any sort for the argument. My analysis concludes that I do not
see how spending the tobacco settlement money on tobacco problems makes sense.