Smoking legislation solves nothing


Well, I see some people are at it again. They are going to try to burden cigarette smokers once again with higher taxes. There seem to be two major groups involved in the campaign.

One thinks it is the government's right and duty to make some people with a "bad" habit pay more money than others that don't. The other group thinks we should tax cigarettes out of existence for our own good.

The first group just doesn't understand fair play. Even if they make the argument that sometime in the future some of those smokers will be a burden on society, they are still punishing the whole group.

The second group just doesn't understand freedom. We have the right to free choice. This, believe it or not, means that we have the right to "stupid choices" as well.

However, neither group understands that with choice comes responsibility. You and you alone are ultimately responsible for your choices. You may rationalize that somehow someone else, like the tobacco industry, is the real culprit. For most of you, no one twisted your arm and made you smoke.

Armed with all the evidence that exists about smoking, it does not seem like a rational choice for any individual. As far as I know, smokers are people who need the increased chances of lung cancer, heart disease and other diseases that have higher rates of occurrences for smokers.

I have never smoked cigarettes. I don't like being around them. I should have the right to not have to inhale smoke. On the other hand, smokers have rights too. They shouldn't be harassed. They shouldn't be made to pay for everyone else's causes.

Smokers are people just like us, only for some reason, they have chosen to smoke. Don't let them tread on us non-smokers, but tread on them either. I don't see anything here that makes one group superior to the other. Just remember, they have to live with their choice and be responsible for that choice.

Hopefully, I don't have to spell out to you how this one issue of freedom of choice and the responsibility that goes with it applies to so many other hotly debated topics at this time. Freedom of choice is what gives us our freedom. Responsibility for our choices is the price we all pay to make it work. There are no guarantees.

There are special interest groups who seem bent on saving us from ourselves without caring about its impact. I say to you- educate, don't legislate. If they don't want want to listen to you, then that's just too bad because they made their choice!

Mark Holland

NDS Graduate Student

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