Friday, June 12, 2009

Stop smoking now

By Michael J.W. Stickings

CBS News:

The Senate struck a historic blow against smoking in America Thursday, voting overwhelmingly to give regulators new power to limit nicotine in the cigarettes that kill nearly a half-million people a year, to drastically curtail ads that glorify tobacco and to ban flavored products aimed at spreading the habit to young people.

Make no mistake. I do not think nicotine products should be banned. In a free society, even bad and dangerous habits must be matters of choice. (Which is why I support, within limits, some drug legalization.)

But smoking (or the use of nicotine products) isn't about choice, it's about addiction -- and about an industry that engages in false and misleading advertising, targets minors, and distorts the truth at every turn, even blatantly lying about its products and the health risks associated with them.

Should nicotine products -- cigarettes and nicotine-delivery systems -- remain legal? Yes.

But should they also be severely regulated? Yes. Which is the point of this legislation.

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