Monday, June 22, 2009

Call for Philip Morris!

I hope that, when I write about tobacco issues, people understand that I am a lifelong non-smoker. Perhaps, because I grew up in a smoking household (both of my parents were smokers), I have an unusual tolerance for those who use tobacco products in my presence. My libertarian instincts, however, play a major role in my belief that the government should not increase its regulations over tobacco sale and use and leave it to individuals to decide whether to partake and leave it to private businesses whether to allow tobacco smoking on their property.

It seems that my instincts are also held by a majority of Americans, who believe the government has overreached in turning over regulation of tobacco to the Food & Drug Administration and virtually prohibiting the advertising of tobacco products. (Is it any surprise that this new regime was supported by the largest tobacco producer, Philip Morris, since control of its market share will now be secure against encroachments by smaller players in the industry?)

According to UPI
, a Gallup Poll shows that a majority of Americans say they disapprove of the new laws -- signed today by President Barack Obama in a Rose Garden ceremony -- that expand regulations over tobacco:

By 52 percent to 46 percent, more respondents said they don't like the idea of government having greater authority over tobacco products, a Gallup Poll released Monday indicated. Congress last week passed such a measure last week. [sic]

The poll indicated 69 percent of smokers said they disapproved, while 28 percent said they favored the broader government oversight. Views among non-smokers were closer, with 50 percent indicating approval and 48 percent indicating disapproval, the poll said.
CQ Politics summarized the results of the poll, which was conducted last week, like this:
The strongest opposition - 60 percent to 36 percent - comes from those with a high school education or less. College graduates favor the legislation by 56 percent to 43 percent.

Republicans oppose the move by 62 percent to 37 percent and independents by 51 percent to 46 percent, while Democrats favor it 54 percent to 45 percent.

Only 17 percent of those surveyed would support a smoking ban.
One has to wonder whether those 17 percent also favor the death and destruction that inevitably would follow tobacco Prohibition. Organized crime is already involved in tobacco smuggling for the purpose of avoiding taxes. A ban would provide new opportunities for drug cartels and enrich mobsters and corrupt police officers around the world.

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