Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The federal government and tobacco

Smoking is a tough issue for me, though I am not a smoker. Close family members and friends have been smokers in the past and while I did not like that they smoked I recognized that it was their legal right to do so. I have watched people in my life quit and I have seen first-hand how difficult it was for them.

I am all for education for young people in the dangers of smoking. Much like I am in favor of teaching healthy eating habits and the dangers of heart disease and diabetes as a consequence of poor eating choices.

The federal government requires that tobacco products carry a label that warns of cancer, now they would like to require labels on all packs one of which looks like this:

The new packaging law requires that 20% of the packaging must be the new warning label. There are other requirements in the law for education, marketing and advertising. For the full MSN article on the new legislation and the lawsuit in response you can click HERE.

My problem with the whole thing is that it is still legal to purchase and use tobacco products. If this is a legal product, why isn’t the government trying to shut the entire industry down rather than tell the company how to spend advertising money?

The answer is threefold. First the tax loss is more than they can stomach at this point. The second is the guarantee of money going into advertising, marketing and packaging. The third is the amount of jobs that would be lost in a market that can take no more hits.

Until tobacco sale is no longer legal I refuse to accept the argument that the burden to the healthcare field is the driving reason for the new regulation. If that were true, tobacco sale and consumption would be illegal.

1 comment:

Abby said...

Oh dear. You know I'm as mixed on this subject as you. On occasion I enjoy a cigar; when stressed I pop a packet of snus and at the same time I wish tobacco never existed. I don't like the smell, yet appreciate the income it gave our family when they were growing tobacco. It's so hard, yet I applaud our government for trying (however misguided) to deter new followers of the tobacco king.