Saturday, June 13, 2009

Phony anti tobacco bill

Promising to sign new tobacco legislation, Obama "who himself has struggled to quit smoking" said the measure would “protect our kids and improve our public health” . . . he said the tobacco legislation was “a bill that truly defines changes in Washington” and one that “changes the way Washington works and who it works for” . . . The law would for the first time give the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products . . . Under the law, the FDA will be able to set product standards and ban some chemicals in tobacco products, but not totally ban addictive nicotine. The FDA will set up a new tobacco regulatory office financed by industry fees, which are expected to be $85 million in the first year and as much as $700 million annually within 10 years. The FDA would have the power not only to consider changing existing products, but also to ban new products unless the agency found they contributed to overall public health. The FDA is charged with imposing a ban within 15 months on tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds . . . Also, within one year, the industry will be banned from claiming products are “light,” “mild” or “low tar” . . . The law provides that by 2012, new, graphic warning labels must be designed and approved by the FDA and occupy 50 percent of the space on each package of cigarettes. . . . [and] will quickly ban most flavoring in tobacco and raise penalties for sales of tobacco to under-age buyers. . . . Some antismoking groups, particularly those representing African-Americans, had wanted the law’s ban on tobacco flavorings to include menthol. Mentholated brands are preferred by three-quarters of black smokers, who also have a disproportionate share of lung cancer . . . .Menthol is to be studied by the FDA by 2011, though, and the agency will have the power to ban it, if the evidence warrants. . . . “This bill is proof positive that the tobacco industry is no longer running the show on Capitol Hill and that the health of Americans is a top priority for our elected officials,” the group’s chief executive, John R. Seffrin, said in a statement.

A president without the will power or self control to quit smoking (but who makes sure he's never photographed smoking) is signing an "anti smoking" law that will result in a new bureaucracy and billions of dollars of new spending.

Unfortunately, the law does not require the removal of nicotine.

Nicotine is what makes cigarettes addictive.

If we were to simply pass a law requiring the removal of nicotine from cigarettes, cigarettes would no longer be addictive. All we would have to do is monitor and randomly test the processing plants, to make sure the nicotine was in fact removed. Nothing else would be required. Then, smoking would truly be an individual "choice", not a medically ascertainable addictive compulsion.

Of course, keeping the nicotine in cigarettes lets the tobacco industry keep earning (and donating) billions. And, the administration gets to put on another pretty show and hire more buddies for new government jobs in a new permanent bureaucracy.

Always remember, if a law doesn't provide for the removal of nicotine from cigarettes, it's a pro smoking, not an anti smoking, law.

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