Daily Archive for November 27th, 2008

Smoking gun

Newsday Editorial
Thursday, November 27 2008

SmokingThe Tobacco Bill now being debated in Parliament seems to be a case of using a shotgun to kill a mosquito. And, as with a shotgun, there is the danger of injuring innocent bystanders while the mosquito flies free.

To be sure, smoking leads to major health problems for many people. Heart disease, strokes, and cancer are three of the five leading causes of death in Trinidad and Tobago, and all these diseases have been linked to tobacco use. But, at the heart of this issue is the question of rights, including people’s right to harm themselves. A smoker, after all, chooses to smoke. Since people own their bodies (save in slave cultures) it is therefore their right to do as they please with themselves. In respect to tobacco legislation, two main counter-arguments to this position are generally proffered: first, that advertising persuades people to start and continue smoking; and, secondly, that second-hand smoke is as harmful as smoking itself.
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