Charles Rehn - Democrat for President 2004

A Conversation With America
Questions That Must Be Answered
Web Edition (c) 2002, 2003 Charles Rehn All Rights Reserved




Vices: Tobacco


I'm going to make this fairly simple by quoting The Beatles, from the "White Album" song "I'm So Tired", when they sang "...and curse Sir Walter Raleigh, he was such a stupid get..."

Anyone, including people like myself who have smoked for years, brought up in a generation when advertising promoted it as the "in" thing to do, will tell you that smoking is bad for you in a hundred different ways.  There are few, if any, redeeming social values (frankly, I can't think of a one).

Tobacco is incredibly addicting - as a chemical, and an integrated behavior - a habit that becomes part of a routine. After a while, the behavior is more compelling than the drug.

I have a great deal of empathy for people who have to endure second hand smoke. I remember as a young child that, every Sunday after church, my sisters would make a stop on our way home. We'd park outside the Bar and Greyhound depot at Camp Evers (Scotts Valley, California) and I think they were trying to guilt the people in the bar out of drinking on Sunday.  And, we'd sit there in that car with the windows rolled up while they smoked their cigarettes and the smoke was unbearable.

I actually approve of the idea of banning smoking in public places. It is clear that the world, not just the United States, is moving toward a tobacco-free culture.  But, as we go through the process of conversion, I believe it's important for smokers to be considerate regarding where they smoke and who they affect. I also believe that non-smokers should be courteous toward smokers who DO go out of their way to consider non-smokers.

As we move toward a tobacco-free culture, I also believe that we need to do more than just make smokers outcasts.  We need to provide assistance that aids them in quitting. 

And, we need to make sure farmers are assisted in cultivating new crops so they can continue their lifestyles and professions. Farming is not a job, for most people, it's a way of life, often a tradition or heritage.

To do away with the scourge of tobacco is a good thing.  To punish those who were sold a product that is so obviously a danger is placing the blame on the wrong people.

Ultimately, Congress, and all the subsidies and laws that have allowed an addictive carcinogen to be sold so freely, need to take ultimate responsibility. But I'd suggest that it's not about blame: it's really about addressing one more issue we'd rather not deal with, and moving on to bigger and better things.

If there was ever a clear case for Congress to act on behalf of the public good, this would be the one.

Cigarette makers spending more on advertising 
The industry spent $11.2 billion in 2001

Pfizer unveils anti-smoking drug In clinical trials involving several hundred smokers, the New York-based company said almost half of smokers given this oral medicine, called Varenicline, were able to quit smoking after only seven weeks

Nations Flock to Sign U.N. Anti-Tobacco Treaty Absent were the United States, where the administration of President Bush  had opposed parts of the accord, particularly an advertising ban, and Germany and China, both heavy-smoking nations with high revenues from tobacco sales. U.S.-based anti-smoking campaigning group Infact warned that "giant tobacco corporations are continuing their aggressive efforts to derail the swift implementation" of the treaty, formally the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

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(C) 2002,2003-2009 Charles Rehn Jr IV  All rights reserved