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What do Happy Meals and Cigarettes Have in Common?

November 23rd, 2010 Posted in Smoking ban Buy cheap cigarettes online Tags:

Meals and Cigarettes
Recently, the political world was run amuck with the reports of San Francisco’s ban on Happy Meal toys. Although Mayor Gavin Newsom shortly after vetoed the ban, it brought up important political questions about government involvement in parenting. As quoted on CNN, Mayor Newsom called the ban an “unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices.” Although Newsom is a Democrat, this rings like a true conservative statement; and I, as a liberal, could not agree more. There are certain areas that the government should let be. Parenting is one of those areas.
A more controversial and perhaps more difficult case is the constant increase in bans on tobacco products. Just about a year ago, the FDA was given the right to regulate cigarettes and has since enacted several new regulations. In addition to the ban on flavored cigarettes (with the exception of menthols), the FDA recently proposed new warning labels that will be increased in size and much more graphic in nature. Pictures of a cancerous mouth and the like may soon be adorning your cigarette box.
I am not a smoker, but I do believe it is a personal choice. The flavored cigarettes in particular were banned because the government is concerned that they may attract children, but the government is far overstepping its boundaries in this. It is each parent’s duty to ensure his or her child is following the law and making good decisions. And while I think there are cases of bad parenting, to systematically ban flavored cigarettes is doing the parenting for them and this is something I cannot reconcile. If the government can step in on cigarette flavorings, where does the government’s parenting end?
In terms of the labels, it is not the actuality of the new labels (i.e. the pictures and the increase in size) but the principle. I do not think it is serving the right purpose. These pictures are incredibly offensive in nature and will subject the average cigarette smoker to an unwarranted and undeserved experience each time they light up – regardless of the fact that it is their personal choice to do so. What’s next? Pictures of cirrhosis of the liver on whiskey or vodka bottles? It seems hypocritical considering that according to MSNBC, the state and federal governments see billions of dollars in tax revenues off of tobacco. Cigarettes are taxed to hell and back and are limited severely in advertising, and I agree with both of these policies. But the line of government influence in parental decision-making and in personal bad choices has to be drawn somewhere. I think it is best to do it now, rather than later. Proactive programs such as increased drug-prevention and cigarette awareness programs in school are much more reasonable, as opposed to these preventitive labels and flavoring bans. That way, those legal-aged smokers do not have to be subjected to these constantly increased restrictions.

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