U.S. Surgeon General: We need more … smoking bans! And tobacco taxes!

posted at 3:05 pm on March 8, 2012 by Tina Korbe

In a report released today, the U.S. Surgeon General called for increased governmental measures to cut down on youth tobacco use. Less than one in five high-school-aged teenagers smoke cigarettes, but the rate of decline among youth users has slowed and the Surgeon General wants to do something to slow the pace further. The Washington Times reports:

More work needs to be done to keep young Americans from using tobacco, including creating smoking bans and increasing taxes on tobacco products, the U.S. Surgeon General’s office said in a report released Thursday. …

“In order to end this epidemic, we need to focus on where we can prevent it and where we can see the most effect, and that’s with young people,” Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We want to make our next generation tobacco-free, and I think we can.”The report details youth tobacco use, health impacts, and tobacco marketing and prevention efforts in the U.S. Officials hope the information will reinvigorate anti-tobacco efforts and spark public activism in reducing death and disease caused by tobacco use.

The report also recommended anti-smoking campaigns and increased restrictions under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority to regulate tobacco as other ways to prevent adolescents and young adults from using tobacco products.

Why is this a legitimate object of the federal government? Kathleen Sebelius would probably say fewer smokers mean lower health care costs for the country — and that’s true. If the federal government hadn’t taken over health care or inserted itself into the health care industry at all, though, that wouldn’t be an issue. So, I ask again: Why is this a legitimate object of the federal government?

As with so much that the federal government wants to regulate and control, the decision to smoke is a personal one, just as the decision to ban smoking in a restaurant is the prerogative of the restaurant owner. At the very least, this issue should be left up to state and local governments.

Look, nobody dislikes the smell of smoke more than me — I won’t eat at a restaurant that reeks — and I continue to marvel at classmates who sat through countless D.A.R.E. presentations in elementary school and still decided to light up when they reached high school. I never had the slightest desire to touch the stuff — and can still sing word for word the anti-smoking song my elementary school music teacher taught us. (It was to the tune of Ado Annie’s “I’m just a girl who can’t say no,” and began, “I’m just a kid who’ll always say no. I won’t smoke or drink. Why should I follow those who will? I want to be able to think!)

The reasons not to smoke are manifest, and parents, teachers and others close to adolescents have a responsibility to educate teens about the risks of smoking. Here are some fun stats to start:

Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of—

  • coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
  • stroke by 2 to 4 times
  • men developing lung cancer by 23 times
  • women developing lung cancer by 13 times

Where parents and teachers fail, private initiatives or intermediary institutions should pick up the slack. Bureaucrats like the Surgeon General prove by their zeal for federal solutions that they don’t trust parents to do their job and won’t even give parents a chance to prove them wrong.


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Again, I ask: why is tobacco legal?

rickyricardo on March 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

So Cuba will have something to export other than band leaders.

malclave on March 8, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Well, it was legal in the past because Barack Obama smoked, but now that he’s quit, everyone else should, too, and the easiest way to do that would be to make it illegal.

/Libs v2.0

malclave on March 8, 2012 at 6:24 PM

He hasn’t quit.

slickwillie2001 on March 8, 2012 at 6:26 PM

But, but, but wait!

I mean, all that money the various states extorted from the tobacco companies was supposed to, in part, educate people, especially kids, to not smoke!

Wow, a government program that failed?

And of course, we’re going to do it again, since it worked so well the first time?

/sigh

ProfShadow on March 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

There are no recorded cases of people overdosing or smoking themselves to death on pot. You can’t say the same about alcohol or tobacco. Pot does not impair a person anything like alcohol does. There are actually a number of studies that it increases driving ability.
.

Daikokuco on March 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

You’re lying – or stupid enough to believe someone else’d lies.

Solaratov on March 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

They can’t make cigarettes illegal, the taxes on tobacco are keeping government health care and education running.

And as for reducing health care costs justifying the increased regulation and taxation, I believe the statistics show smokers actually decrease health care costs by dying earlier in life.

Socratease on March 8, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Starting this spring I’m going to start growing my own tobacco on one of my acres.

Let them set ONE FOOT on my property to tell me I can’t. Please, I want to see them try.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 6:56 PM

bah
after 43 years of smoking, my ONLY regret is the amount of taxes that I have paid to the gubmint.
FYI the effects of alcohol on society and individuals is much more costly and dear to all of us.
I light a KOOL in your honor and am opening a Noble Pils as soon as I send this.
Back to your regular programming, but please keep the freaking romper room songs in a different thread

Tom_Ohio

dazed_in_oh on March 8, 2012 at 6:59 PM

There are no recorded cases of people overdosing or smoking themselves to death on pot. You can’t say the same about alcohol or tobacco. Pot does not impair a person anything like alcohol does. There are actually a number of studies that it increases driving ability.
.

Daikokuco on March 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

You’re lying – or stupid enough to believe someone else’d lies.

Solaratov on March 8, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Smoking pot DOES impair driving. Absolutely does, no doubt about it.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006173453.htm I absolutely hate linking to that left leaning “”"science”"” site, but it’s the place I most easily found the latest study.

On the other hand, smoking pot is less hazardous than alcohol and IS NOT ADDICTIVE. It also has valid medicinal uses such as for nausea, pain, and muscle spasms, but I’m all for making it as legal as beer and cigarettes, and taxing it’s sale.

I want existing D.U.I. laws stiffened though, and an easy means to test for intoxication when pulled over just as their is for booze. If you’re tokin, dude, stay the hell off the roads.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 7:02 PM

Kathleen Sebelius would probably say fewer smokers mean lower health care costs for the country — and that’s true.

Is that really true? I think that’s too often just taken for fact. I understand that those who die from smoking die earlier and faster and so cost less. Can we please stop accepting “facts” without question?

topspin67 on March 8, 2012 at 7:02 PM

I want existing D.U.I. laws stiffened though, and an easy means to test for intoxication when pulled over just as their is for booze.

THERE. Geez. It’s not even that late.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Not to mention all the taxes smoker’s pay before they die… was that taken into account?

topspin67 on March 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM

I used to work with a young rampant anti smoker, but who would come out to talk to all the “cool” people who smoked on break.
She would always tell me to quit, but if I opened a pack of smokes anywhere near her she would ask to see them, and hold the freshly opened pack up to her nose and inhale that awesome mentholness. :-)
When I was 13, I made my purchases at a gas station vending machine. You put your 40 cents in, you pulled the lever and out comes your pack and a pack of matches. Oh, and also there were 3 pennies inside the pack wrapper as they were 37 cents a pack in that machine.

dazed_in_oh on March 8, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Compared with nonsmokers, smoking is estimated to increase the risk of—

coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times
stroke by 2 to 4 times
men developing lung cancer by 23 times
women developing lung cancer by 13 times

And there’s the crux of the matter, estimated. There has never been a definitive study to prove that smoking causes these issues. Not everyone who smokes dies from these issues, and many who have never been exposed to it do. It’s based on speculation. There has yet to be an industry as vilified, taxed, and sued as much as the tobacco companies, nor one who’s had as many restrictions on advertising. Yet, it is a legal substance.
Many of the arguments used against smoking, especially with regard to ‘second hand smoke’, are based on the same ‘science’ as AGW.

chewmeister on March 8, 2012 at 7:16 PM

THERE. Geez. It’s not even that late.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM

Maybe one too many of them doobies?

chewmeister on March 8, 2012 at 7:20 PM

Ban cigarettes, then wonder why your tax on cigarettes isn’t raising as much money as expected…..

tom on March 8, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Again… The poorest children in the country will suffer the most from this tax increase. Their addicted smoker moms will buy cigarettes before buying the kids a meal, or shoes, or a coat… you get the idea.
-

RalphyBoy on March 8, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Okay, so what’s the government going to do to REPLACE all that tobacco tax money it collects if everyone stopped smoking?

GarandFan on March 8, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Smoking pot DOES impair driving. Absolutely does, no doubt about it.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006173453.htm I absolutely hate linking to that left leaning “””science””” site, but it’s the place I most easily found the latest study.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 7:02 PM

There are other studies from the BBC and such which say the opposite. Even the study you linked to has an “exception”. This says that it is not the pot itself that is impairing driving. In your studies, it could well be that what is happening is that careless drivers are simply more likely to smoke, and correlation is not causation. FWIW the BBC study tested the same people, who were first sober, and then high, and put them through the same tests. You study appears to be simply compiling the statistics of people involved in crashes. It’s less of a scientific study than it is just plain statistics.

Daikokuco on March 8, 2012 at 8:14 PM

We don’t hear a lot from the morbidly-obese Regina Benjamin – but, when she speaks, we are reminded of just how worthless she is.

Pork-Chop on March 8, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Again, I ask: why is tobacco legal?

rickyricardo on March 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Taxes !!! Why else ??

Or was that a rhetorical ??

cableguy615 on March 8, 2012 at 9:29 PM

want existing D.U.I. laws stiffened though, and an easy means to test for intoxication when pulled over just as their is for booze.

Wolfmoon on March 8, 2012 at 7:02 PM

There is no known test in existance. Marijuana stays in the system for up to 14 days after injested and long after the affects of it have worn off. There is no test to tell if someone is under the influence of pot.

Dollayo on March 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Yes, smoking increases Health Care costs. But it increases overall entitlements by way more than it raises Health Care costs. Our retirement years of our lives are the most expensive for the federal government. Smokers have a lot less retirement years than non-smokers. If they really want to make Social Security secure amd reduce medicare costs they should be handing out packs of cigarettes for free, not taxing them.

Rocks on March 8, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Again, I ask: why is tobacco legal?

rickyricardo on March 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Because people are free to destroy their health if they wish to.

Rocks on March 8, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Less cigarette smoke? Sounds like a good plan to me.

Mr. Prodigy on March 8, 2012 at 5:52 PM

What about when they try to take away something you enjoy? Beer? Whisky? Salt? Sugar?

Numbnut.

fullogas on March 9, 2012 at 2:07 AM

smfh

fullogas on March 9, 2012 at 2:08 AM

Tina, before legislation to provide smoke free areas in restaurants came about it was impossible, in many parts of the country, to go have a dinner, fine or fuel Denny’s, without being surrounded by smokers. These smokers had cigars and pipes as well as the ubiquitous cigarettes. It was unbelievably horrible. The fact that legislation was required is repugnant to me. The results of the legislation are wonderful beyond belief. I’m roughly three times your age and tried one puff on a cigarette. I decided on the spot that it isn’t worth the tearing at my throat or the hole in my purse. Thus my descent into the outskirts of the out group.

You’ve had it easy. {^_-}

(Um, no, I didn’t walk seven miles up hill both ways to school. But some things back with the dinosaurs were a whole lot worse than they are now.)

{^_^}

herself on March 9, 2012 at 10:00 AM

You’re lying – or stupid enough to believe someone else’d lies.

He is quite correct, smoking pot DOES impair your ability to drive. I speak from youthful experience.

Lcsulla on March 9, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Many of the arguments used against smoking, especially with regard to ‘second hand smoke’, are based on the same ‘science’ as AGW.

chewmeister on March 8, 2012 at 7:16 PM

This!!! Even the anti-smokers don’t know what really clean air smells like. To do that you have to go somewhere truly remote from civilization to smell what it is like without factory/automobile exhaust. Here within the US, we’re all used to those exhaust, that we don’t even notice it. Much like going to a fishing town in AK and smelling the millions of dead fish, blood & waste. After 2nd or 3rd day, you can’t smell it anymore, yet as soon as you leave and go to a non-fishing town, people can smell your “fishiness” because it’s embedded in your pores & clothes.

It’s more likely that “second-hand” cancer comes from automobiles and other industry pollutants. Now how many are truely redy to ban industry for the sake of avoiding cancer? Nevermind that turning off industry will instantly shorten the modern lifespan on an order of magnitude. It’s that irrational fear of death/illness that makes people jump for the nearest hoax in hopes of getting just another day.

AH_C on March 9, 2012 at 3:31 PM

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