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    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    The Power of Anti-Smoking Activists: CBS News was going to air a story about "smoker's rights" but held it up at the request of ASH - an anti-smoking organization run by a lawyer who makes his living in the field of tobacco litigation. ASH had these complaints about the piece before it aired:

    ... Prof. Banzhaf, who has advocated and litigated for the right of companies to refuse to hire smokers or to charge them more for health insurance, says he also fears that CBS might present a one-sided piece dramatizing the impact of such policies on smokers, and omitting many of the reasons for such policies.

    Evidently, Professor Banzhaf has a lot of influence at CBS:

    As then aired after the delay, the piece was generally quite favorable in reporting on a new policy by Scotts Miracle-Gro to fire all employees who smoke, even off the job, pointing out how unnecessarily expensive it is to employ them.  CBS closed by suggesting that firing employees who smoke may be a "national model" and a "new reality."

    Once Professor Banzhaf successfully stamps out smoking everywhere, what's next? I think we can guess.

    At some point, you have to ask yourself if marginal gains on healthcare expenditures are worth the sacrifice of personal liberty.

    posted by Sydney on 1/24/2006 08:45:00 AM 6 comments


    I was having dinner with a German couple who were both doctor's a couple of years ago and they wanted to know what all the fuss is about in the US concerning smoking. There feeling was that with the high taxes on tobacco and shorter life span of a smoker the total life long medical expenses would be less than a long lived person.

    In our area tobacco settlement money is being used for car emission testing. There does not seem to be a shortage of funds for medical services due to smoking

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:24 AM  

    Ah...one of the dangers of having healthcare tied to employment and run by insurance companies.

    Big business cares only about the bottom line...not about civil liberty...nor public health.

    By Blogger Dr Dork, at 3:51 PM  

    dr dork ignores the same conflict when health insurance is tied to governments.

    Why else did the "tobacco settlements" take the absurd form of fining the tobacco companies while guaranateeing their continuing profitability? Because their continued profitability is the key to paying off the "fines".

    Pick yer poison.

    Stella Baskomb

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:45 AM  

    Government doesn't make a profit.

    By Blogger Dr Dork, at 5:18 AM  

    Insurance companies, and employers, are not socially accountable.

    For the record, I think banning employment on the basis of smoking status is grossly wrong, and a violation of civil liberties to even be asking the question.

    But I live in Australia, and we're socialists compared to the US ;)

    Not saying either is better, of course...each to their own.

    I think we all can agree that tobacco companies are evil :)

    By Blogger Dr Dork, at 5:21 AM  

    dr. dork says tobacco companies are evil. Since "companies" are only pieces of paper, which particular people associated with tobacco companies does the good dr speak of - the shareholders, farmers who supply the tobacco,the truckers who ship it, the loggers whose trees are used for the paper, the employees, the consumers, the politicians who appropriate the biggest share of tobacco company profits? Who exactly?

    As for governments not making "profits," dr dork may not realize greed can manifest not just in the desire for money but also in the desire for power over others. Government is uniquely suited for those who hunger for that power.

    By Anonymous Fuming Non-smoker, at 8:54 PM  

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