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'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver' Attacks The International Tobacco Problem

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is already a massively popular show, despite barely entering its second season. Most would assume that any spin-off of The Daily Show with John Stewart would be an instant success, but that's not why Last Week Tonight got so popular so quickly.

For those that haven't watched it, Last Week Tonight almost acts as a lecture: while it may look similar to The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, Oliver's show usually focuses on one major issue per episode. There are smaller segments that open the show, but for the most part, episodes are dominated by one specific story.

Last night's episode was dedicated to the tobacco industry. Not the American tobacco industry - the United States' smoking population has been falling steadily for the past 50 years. No, Last Week Tonight focused on the international tobacco industry:

Yes, things are getting better here in America. Less than 20% of adults smoke tobacco regularly, and fewer people are dying early from diseases like lung cancer and emphysema. That's fantastic, but as the video clearly demonstrates, the rest of the world isn't doing quite as well.

There have been strides: Australia's flat-out disgusting cigarette cartons are doing their jobs and helping lower the smoking rates, but that didn't come without months of tedious and expensive litigation. The trademark manipulation and government court case that followed only made things more complicated.

Surprisingly enough, that's the best part of the story. Tiny countries like Togo are basically blackmailed into selling cigarettes: if a country that only makes $4.3 billion is taken to court by a corporation that makes $18 billion, things probably won't go well - even if the case was already thrown out by an Australian court.

It's despicable, but in typical Last Week Tonight fashion, there was a happy ending. Meet the new Marlboro mascot: Jeff, the Diseased Lung In a Cowboy Hat.

Don't forget: #JeffWeCan!

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