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New smoking laws: Infringement or protector?

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President Obama signed a new law that could help you quit smoking. At least, that’s what he’s hoping for.

“I know how hard it is to break the habit once you’ve started,” he said. He’s an on-and-off smoker too.

This new law allows the Food and Drug Administration some serious authority to control the marketing and manufacturing of tobacco products. Constituents of the new law include:

– getting rid of fruit-flavored cigarettes and spice-flavored cigarettes,
– getting rid of the words “light” and “low tar” on cigarrette boxes,
– adding (even more) warnings to packages,
– allowing the FDA to have manufacturers reduce the amount of nicotine in cigarettes
– and saying goodbye to the “constant, insidious” advertising that tobacco companies target at children and young adults.

Increases in box prices and increases in taxes on cigarettes over the years have had little to no affect on people giving up the bad habit. This intense new law is set to take effect within a year, if it makes it that far.

Thus far, the Supreme Court has ruled against efforts banning tobacco advertising, saying that it goes against the First Amendment. The New York Times suggests that there will be plenty more challenges where that came from.

On the grounds of free-speech, tobacco companies are saying that these restrictions are wrong. The law also includes advertising restrictions like no ads within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds and restricting ads to black-and-white print only (for many print advertisements).

Basically, the main argument is against whether tobacco companies should have the right to advertise to the adult population at the risk of also influencing the children of the population.

Is it worth it? You decide.

andrea @ June 26, 2009

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