Monday, June 22, 2009
New Smoking Law
Today I watched President Obama sign a law giving the FDA new authority in regulating cigarettes. As much as I generally dislike increasing regulations, I think this is a step in the right direction. However, I think there is a much better solution that would do a lot more with fewer new regulations: ban cigarettes completely.
I believe a complete ban on smoking would reduce poverty, increase productivity, improve public health, reduce health care costs, and reduce litter. I think it will happen some day. A Zogby poll found that 45% of Americans would support making cigarettes illegal in 5-10 years, including 57% of 18-29 year olds.
But it won't happen any time soon. For now, I can just hope more places will follow the lead of Calabasas, CA in banning smoking in ALL public places, indoors and out. Unfortunately, I live in one of the only places where that can't happen -- Oklahoma is the ONLY state that prohibits local governments from regulating smoking more strictly than the state. And there's not much at the state level. While in most states smoking is already banned in restaurants, Oklahoma will allow it until at least 2013.