Beginning next year, high prices aren’t the only thing smokers will have to overcome to buy cigarettes. The government will start putting pictures…

Beginning next year, high prices aren’t the only thing smokers will have to overcome to buy cigarettes. The government will start putting pictures of rotting teeth, destroyed lungs, and surgery patients on the covers of cigarette packages in an effort to curb smoking. For those of us who don’t smoke, this is a nice step forward, as secondhand smoke exposure will hopefully decline when even a few smokers quit because of the pictures. Plus, new generations will be exposed to the negatives of smoking before they start. At the same time, the pictures beg the question: why smoking should be legal at all, if it’s so disastrous for users? I know smokers, and I know they’d argue that they have the right to ingest what they want. But you could make the same argument for any of the hundreds of outlawed drugs. It seems like the one thing keeping cigarettes legal is inertia. They’ve been legal, so they should stay legal. But this approach ends up endangering the lives of smokers and nonsmokers, present and future.
– Will