My Proposed Ban on Cigarettes or at Least Nicotine Makes Sense to this Small-Government Conservative

Let me preface this by saying, thank you so much for your kind words and prayers in support of my father who is in very bad health.  The doctors do not give him much of a chance to survive much past this day, and your concern and love mean the world to me. My father started smoking in 1948.  He was 8 years old.  Sounds just crazy huh?  Think about that time in our history.  World war two had just ended.  300 billion cigarettes were produced per year.  It’s estimated that 75 percent of all cigarettes produced went to servicemen.  That’s staggering.  In the movies, the most beautiful and desirable women smoked as did their handsome strong and heroic leading men.  It was not only deemed as a good habit but a sexy one and fun one.  There was no mention of the health effects of smoking — none. Warning labels were added to cigarette packs in 1966 — the year I was born.  My father was 25-26 years old.  He had been smoking for 18 years by then.  The warning never mentioned the addictive properties of cigarettes; just said this, “Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health.”  Umm.. okay, thanks for telling me — can I have a pack of Lucky Strikes please.  What exactly was that warning supposed to do?  Why were they hazardous?  No mention.  Most anything is hazardous to your health if not used in moderation or correctly.  This warning meant nothing — and few heeded it. As recently as 1994 tobacco company CEOs appeared before congress and lied about the addictive qualities of nicotine.  In 1997, Liggett, a tobacco company, admitted “We Lied.”  And continued to say nicotine is addictive and that tobacco companies marketed to kids.  So, generations of Americans faced advertising on TV with actors presenting themselves as doctors suggesting people smoke their brand.. to Joe Camel and “get a free stuffed animal with the purchase of a carton” to the pop culture icons of the day smoking, and they were expected to know nicotine was in cigarettes and it was addictive?  I think not. Years later, after all of the individual states have settled with tobacco companies to recoup the expected health costs of cigarette smoking, cigarettes are still available everywhere.  Why?  When the truth came out and internal memos showed the companies were manipulating the data to get and keep smokers “hooked,” why didn’t the government take the next logical step and ban cigarettes completely.. or at least the addictive substance nicotine that was used to hook Americans without their knowledge.  Don’t get me wrong, my complaint isn’t that cigarettes exist nor even that nicotine is in them.  My complaint is how this industry lied and  and cheated to grab market share through addiction of its consumers. There are thousands of web sites alleging that tobacco companies knew the harm to people when they smoked as early as the 1930s.  They hid the information.  There are memos and now admissions from former heads of some of the companies that they knew of the addictive properties of nicotine and used it to their advantage by manipulating the amount in their product.  This industry has made trillions of dollars off of deception, lies, half truths and advertising to the youngest of Americans.  Our government, no matter republican or democrat is charged with keeping us safe.  We expect Washington to protect us from terrorist attack, invasion and yes purveyors of poison — especially when there’s no truth in the advertising of the poison. There’s much confusion about my comparison cocaine to nicotine.  I’m not sure why this is not clear, so I’ll try to make it so here.  Coca Cola originally had actual cocaine in it.  In 1903, The American Journal of Pharmacy outlined the ill effects of cocaine on humans.  The people of the United States were turning on cocaine because of it’s addictive properties and problems associated with its use.  So, in 1903, Coca Cola company removed the substance from the drink.  It was outright banned for non-medical use in 1914 by the Harrison Act.  Keep in mind, before 1914, cocaine was a legal substance.  It was NOT illegal.  It became illegal after the Harrison Act. I have compared the inclusion and subsequent ban of cocaine from Coca Cola to the inclusion and my desired ban of nicotine from cigarettes as I think it’s a true apples to apples comparison.  The answers I’ve gotten from my listeners has run the gamut including: When did you become an Obama loving big government liberal? Ummm.. I haven’t What do you want to ban next, Pags? Any substance that has nothing but, adverse health effects and for which we are sold a bill of goods about Cocaine isn’t a good comparison because it’s illegal. Umm… it wasn’t always.  It became illegal when it was banned.  I can’t wrap my brain around that answer Your father is gonna die — get over it.  Thanks for your concern and support Your father at 8 years old made a decision and I shouldn’t have to pay for it.  Eight year olds are to be protected from predators.  The cig companies preyed on my father. Bottom line is this.  I’m not for anarchy.  I’m for a government that is less intrusive yet still plays a vital role in keeping us safe and keeping order.  My feelings on government size and spending haven’t changed.  I want cocaine and heroine to be illegal.. and I’m simply asking for another disgusting damaging drug to be added to the list.  It’s a drug that was used to artificially hook millions of Americans through lies and deception.  This is clear to me. To those who have written me that I’ve wasted my time for two days talking about this and that I’m only doing it because of my father and that my judgement is clouded.  Yes, my father and his situation have me in a very emotional state.  I don’t want him to die — so, sue me.  But, I have spelled out a very logical, well-researched, fact-based argument here.  Don’t let my personal situation cloud your agreement or disagreement with it. If you want to be consistent in believing nicotine should NOT be banned I contend that you MUST believe the Coca Cola company would be well within its rights to put the cocaine back in. BTW, for all of you bashing me for being Big Government Joe, the only reason the government isn’t banning  nicotine is because of the billions upon billions of dollars it collects from the sale of cigarettes every year.  In fact, if nicotine were banned and more people quit (and they would) that would force the government to downsize because of the loss of income. Thanks for taking the time to read — for listening to my shows — and for spending part of your days with me. Best, Pags Update May 5, 2010 — My father passed away today of respiratory failure.  He’d survived cancer, but his body could no longer continue after what it had been through.  I cannot put into words how much I miss him today and will miss him always.  Thank you Daddy! Joey