A family practitioner for over 25 years, Dr. Hubbard knows the medical world inside and out. Frustrated by managed care and the lack of time doctors were able to spend educating patients, he launched James Hubbard's My Family Doctor: The Magazine That Makes Housecalls, a national magazine written by health care practitioners that is his answer to hurried doctor visits, conflicting medical studies, and complicated treatment options.
On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed a bill that gave the FDA regulating authority over tobacco. It is supposed to be a blow to the tobacco industry and its advertising efforts. No more flavored tobacco or “light cigarette” claims.
But I have a few questions:
If it does work, I wonder where Congress is going to raise the lost tax revenues. Tobacco has been an easy target for the federal government and the states when they’ve needed to raise some extra cash. They just tax tobacco more. Smokers fuss but don’t stop buying. One pack of cigarettes now costs $9 in New York, with more than half of that being taxes.
We’ve sued tobacco, banned advertising, raised taxes, humiliated the CEOs in congressional hearings, and issued dire warnings that tobacco causes everything from cancer to impotence. Tobacco use is lower than before we started in the ’60s, but it’s like illegal drugs: some people continue to buy. Do we start punishing the smokers in some fashion? We are, above all, a free society.
Do you have suggestions or comments?
By James Hubbard, MD, MPH
My Family Doctor Blog
[Originally posted June 16, 2009, James Hubbard’s My Family Doctor Web site. This version has been slightly modified to reflect developments occurring shortly after that date (i.e., President Obama's signing of the bill passed in early June).]