Government's Answer to the Tobacco Industry

Once again, via legislation, the federal government has shown its contempt for American citizens. You see, time and again, over the last 40 years, people have tried to sue the tobacco companies, and juries have decided that adults are responsible for themselves and their decisions, and not big, bad business.

Now, fedgov has made it LAW that people are NOT responsible for their decisions. The People must have been fooled by big, bad, business; tricked into ignoring, for 40 years, research that showed a link between lung cancer and smoking. Granted, the tobacco industry allegedly did some serious things; if those allegations are true, those responsible should be punished by whatever means is appropriate. However, in light of the aforementioned link to cancer, The People must be held responsible for their smoking decisions, even when they hurt themselves.

The federal government has opened its "war on tobacco" with a mess of new laws, aimed at reducing the number of smokers. These laws are justified as being in the interest of "the public health". Their goal, they say, is a "smoke-free" environment.

Given that, as long as there are people, there will be people who will smoke, there are few choices. First, we could ban tobacco products. Most everyone would agree that that would be a disaster. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, it isn't working with drugs, and it wouldn't work on tobacco.

We could tax it so heavily that people won't want to buy it. (The existing federal tax on cigarettes is already enough to cover any added health-related costs.) The experience several years ago in Canada should show us why this is also a bad idea. In some Canadian provinces, there were almost as many smuggled cigarettes being smoked as there were legally bought ones! The Canadian government recognized this, brought the tax down to a more acceptable level, and the cigarette smuggling virtually stopped.

The way for the federal government to deal with the tobacco industry is this: let them know, in no uncertain terms, who their customers are, and who are NOT their customers. The industry should be required, like most manufacturers of consumable goods, to make public a factual list of ingredients. After that, it's up to adults to decide whether or not to smoke.

By passing the tobacco legislation, the federal government has another finger in yet another part of citizens' private lives. And, as usual, their answer will cause more trouble than it fixes!


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