I appeared on the Diane Rehm Show today (direct link for Real Audio; direct link for Windows Media Player) in what I thought was a very interesting discussion of the FDA tobacco legislation. I took the position that the legislation will be harmful to the public's health because it contains numerous loopholes that were inserted to protect the interests of Philip Morris, but which undermine the protection of the public's health. I tried to emphasize the fact that the legislation was crafted, in part by Philip Morris, as it resulted from a negotiation between the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the nation's largest tobacco company.
The highlight of the show, in my opinion, was not anything that I said or that the other two guests said, but in fact was the comments of two of the callers. One was from a woman who argued that the legislation creates a huge bureaucracy in the FDA which will cost huge amounts of money but accomplish very little. I think she was right on the mark. The other insightful comment was from a smoker who argued that the Congress specifically does not want to take any action that would actually reduce smoking rates substantially because they are so tied to the tax revenues and financial contribution made by tobacco sales. She, too, was right on the money.
It's nice to know that while our politicians and health groups have fallen hook, line, and sinker for the political propaganda behind this legislation, at least some members of the public seem to appreciate the truth behind this subterfuge.