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March 22, 1995

Legislating Tobacco Use: Are Subsidies Hypocritical?

Author Affiliations

Meadville, Pa

JAMA. 1995;273(12):919. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520360033028

To the Editor.  —As a practicing internist, I have always urged my patients not to smoke, and I have had reasonable success. However, I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the government-sponsored campaign against the tobacco industry. Neoprohibitionists such as Rep Henry Waxman (D, Calif) and Mr Califano1 are morally outraged by the cynicism of the tobacco industry, and they have taken it upon themselves to protect the "ignorant" population by legislation. Meanwhile, the federal government pays our tax money to subsidize the tobacco farmers and keep the price of tobacco reasonable.My suggestion is that our bureaucrats and legislators should put their own house in order by phasing out the tobacco subsidies. To attack the tobacco industry while continuing to support it is nothing short of pharisaical.

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