Letter: Cigarettes should be criminalized

By Gus Bode

Feel free to comment at the bottom of this page.

Dear Editor:

In response to the editorial, “Smoke-free a good plan,” I would like to express my wholehearted agreement, but with one caveat. I do not think banning smoking in private businesses is enough. For the safety of everyone in and around Carbondale, I suggest we commence with the outright criminalization of the sale and possession of cigarettes and all other tobacco-related products.

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Here, we have the opportunity to be seen as pioneers of public health. When others suggest this same measure, we can be seen as the brave souls who made it work first.

Smokers are endangering the lives of countless people with their precious cancer-sticks. Who are they to decide what substances they take into their body? Who are they to decide what they are allowed to do on their private property in the seclusion of their own homes?

One could argue that this criminalization might flood our prisons with no-good nonviolent “nic-heads” and their dealers, or that the government should never completely ban such an addicting substance because the hefty taxes levied on its sale can be used to line the city’s coffers. We must, however, keep our eye on the prize. We must never forget that the most important thing to consider here is the protection of the public health.

Finally, I submit the words of Peter J. Daley (D-PA) referring to his recent bill attempting to ban cigarettes in cars with children: “We know that secondhand smoke is worse than firsthand smoke. The studies are all in, and we really want to protect the health of our children.” Following this train of thought, I submit that third-hand smoke is the real threat behind the cigarette epidemic. If there is one thing that homeopathy has taught us, it is this.

Won’t somebody, please, think of the children?

Daniel Muehl-Miller junior studying physics

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