There was an excellent Op-Ed piece in Monday's paper about the efforts to curb the 400,000 American deaths per year blamed on cigarette smoking. Two ideas are being pushed up against the strong pro-tobacco lobby. Let's hope they come to fruition:
1) FDA enforces non-addictive levels of nicotine in cigarettes.
Apparently, the Food and Drug Administration has been given the power to regulate the amount of nicotine allowed in a cigarette as long as they don't regulate it to zero. They do have the right to force tobacco companies to bring it down to a level that is non-addictive. This should cause current smokers to switch to other 'healthier' sources for their daily fix. More importantly it will prevent the next generation from becoming addicted. Which brings us to the second strategy, this one enforced at the local level.
2) Communities refuse to sell tobacco to anyone born in the year 2000 or later.
These kids are just turning 13, (my twins are an example) so what parent could argue against this? Of course, when they turn 18 and can vote, they may have something to say about it. But the idea has merit. We don't care what age they are, if they were born after 1999, they don't get to buy, sell or even possess tobacco. Tasmania, a state in Australia is considering the law.
Maybe Jeff McGinley can rewrite Prince's 1999 along these lines
They say two thousand zero zero smoking's over oops outta time
So tonight I'm gonna toke it like it's 1999