Deadly Tobacco

In State News on February 20, 2009 at 8:29 am


More than 1,000 people died in a year from the chemicals of secondhand smoke. If we knew definitively that this many people died in a year from, say, tainted food or toys, the companies that sold those products would be shut down and face criminal charges and fines.

Yet tobacco is glamorized in movies and on TV. (Just last night, we were watching Hell’s Kitchen, and nearly every chef in that show smokes.) Stores place tobacco advertisements at eye level for children. Groups backed by the tobacco industry and congressmen talk about businesses’ rights to chose whether their employees’ health is important enough to ban smoking in their buildings. Many of these happen because of the money and influence of Big Tobacco, and all of them help create a culture that says tobacco is OK.

But as statistics show and as court cases decided, tobaco is a dangerous and deadly drug. Why shouldn’t it have the same stigma as lead paint, melamine, and salmonella? Why shouldn’t it be regulated the same as we regulate other addictive substances such as Lortab?


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