The hammer has officially been dropped on smoking. The U.S. Senate has passed a vote that will give the FDA the power to regulate the tobacco industry. For years I've bemoaned our nation's slide toward an outright ban on tobacco. And with the passing of this vote, that slide is now moving at a blinding speed.
So be ready to kiss your cigarettes goodbye … along with some other personal freedoms, to boot.
Of course, the anti-smoking types are very excited — this is the massive victory they've been working towards for decades. And naturally, these freedom-crushing zealots are predicting the usual "success" that they believe will surely result from FDA regulation. They foresee a drastic decline in the number of "smoking deaths" each year, and prophesize that healthcare costs "caused" by tobacco will drop by a whopping $100 million.
I suspect they're pulling these figures out of thin air. But what the heck, they sound impressive.
And you can be sure that President Obama will surely sign this bill in a hurry the second it lands on his desk. After all, he's already effectively socialized (sorry … "bailed out") the auto industry. Why not add the tobacco industry to the growing list of American industries that are falling under the control of the government here in the People's Republic of the United States?
When the law eventually goes into effect, it will give the FDA the power to mandate a lower nicotine content in cigarettes – clearly the first step on the way to an outright ban.
Many people see my pro-tobacco stance as my most controversial. It's considered blasphemy for a physician to actually be for tobacco these days. But aside from the fact that I believe tobacco and smoking have been unjustly vilified by lobbyists both within and without the healthcare field, I believe the issue of tobacco has become bigger than health. It's about personal freedom.
Few people realize how precariously close we are to losing a sizeable chunk of the precious personal freedoms that most Americans cherish. And I'm shocked at the number of Americans who are so willing to support a president who has the Orwellian knack for waving away Constitutional law in the interest of doing what he considers to be "fair" or "right." And smoking is the perfect example. Remember, less than a decade ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the FDA did not have the authority to regulate tobacco under the current laws.
Smokescreen: tobacco bill propped up by speculative numbers
No one seems able or willing to connect the dots on the link between smoking and freedom. I've written to you more times than I can count about how smoking is used as an excuse for the government to tell you what you can do on the street, in restaurants – even in your own home. What's more, it's the government telling companies and business owners what they can and cannot do.
People are all too willing to agree to practically ANYTHING (especially now in the age of Obama) that the government tells us we need to do to stay healthy, save the planet, or protect the children. We're told we need to cede our individual choice for the "good of the whole."
This bill is a perfect example of this party line, because it's been sold by Congress as a kind of first step to bringing down healthcare costs. It's really the first salvo of Obama's disastrous ideas for overhauling the healthcare system.
According to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn), the new tobacco bill "mmay do more in the area of prevention, if adopted, than anything else we may include in the healthcare bill in the short term."
Really? And what does he base that on? Smoke and mirrors, if you'll pardon the pun. Obama and his willing handmaidens in the Congress are attaching concrete numbers to what this regulation will actually achieve. But they have absolutely zero proof that FDA regulation will do ANYTHING to lower healthcare costs – it's pure speculation.
The Senate passed the bill by a massive majority – 79-17. The few opponents of the bill bravely tried to stand up against the politically correct tide by arguing that FDA regulation could give an unfair advantage to tobacco giant Phillp Morris, hobbling corporate competition. One senator from North Carolina (the heart of the tobacco industry) even argued against the bill by bashing tobacco – he said that an agency in charge of safety shouldn't be regulating a product that is inherently dangerous.
All for naught, of course. The tide is too strong. The battle is lost. We all know what's coming next.