Have you ever seen anyone sit down at the breakfast table and pour themselves a big ol’ bowl of cigarettes? Of course not. Why not? Because cigarettes aren’t food, that’s why.
Have you ever seen someone at the drug store waiting for their prescription of Marlboros? Of course not. Why not? Because cigarettes aren’t drugs.
Fatuity, thy name is Chuck Muth. Lots of things – chewing gum and lip balm, for instance – are neither breakfast cereal nor prescription drugs, but they’re still regulated for the sake of public safety. Of course protecting public safety couldn’t possibly be the reason being efforts to regulate tobacco as food and/or drug. Nope; the boogymen in the DNC are to blame.
So why, then, do Democrats (and some misguided Republicans) want to place tobacco under the regulatory control of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)? Well, that’s kinda like asking why lions chase wildebeests. It’s just what they do; expand government.
You want to overgeneralize and caricature lawmakers you disagree with? Fine. Let’s even the score by asking why, in the face of decades of mounting evidence that tobacco products are carcinogenic and highly addictive – engineered to be increasingly so in fact – do Republicans (and some misguided Democrats) continue to defend Big Tobacco? It’s just what they do; whore themselves to corporate interests at the expense of the welfare of their constituents.
Skipping past vacuous defenses of laissez-faire capitalism and the burning of Big Government in straw man effigy..
The Winston Salem-Journal recently summed this all up nicely in an editorial:
“Regulating cigarette sales to adults has no place in a free society. Nobody’s denying the health hazards of tobacco. Most of the smokers who can’t quit sure don’t deny the danger. But if the industry is to eventually become extinct, the forces influencing that ought to involve the simple law of supply and demand. Prohibition proved that limiting supply doesn’t work. . . . Public restrictions on smoking are already limiting demand. But government intervention through FDA regulation would destroy the principle that people are responsible for the consequences of their actions in a world that is far from risk free.”
There’s a grain of truth in that. We need to severely reduce demand. To that end, I suggest that legislators set a more reasonable goal of regulating nicotine as a drug or food additive. By limiting the amount of the primary psychotropic component in tobacco products, fewer people would become/remain addicted and demand would correspondingly drop. Still, attacking consumption and production aren’t and shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. If they were, pot wouldn’t be illegal. Heck, by Muth’s logic, the sale of pot shouldn’t be illegal. After all, the consumers are really to blame. I guess we should leave drug dealers alone.
Ever notice that conservatives are gung-ho about supply-side economics when tax breaks and deregulation are the fruits but get cagey and point fingers at consumers when companies are held to higher ethical standards? Is consumption a primary economic force or just a secondary consequence of production? Make up your minds, folks. If supply indeed creates its own demand, we need to bring the production of tobacco products to a halt, or at least strongly control it, if we want to protect public health, don’t we?
Anyhow, regardless of or right or wrong supply- and demand-side economics are, it’s pretty obvious that any product more addictive than heroin certainly creates its own demand. Furthermore, it’s a product known to cause severe health problems, including various cancers. That’s a problem. People like Chuck Muth aren’t making it any easier to solve.