Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mad about "manipulation"

I'm sure you all saw this story, either yesterday or today, concerning cigarette companies, menthol, and younger smokers:

"Tobacco companies are manipulating menthol levels in cigarettes to appeal to newer, younger smokers, part of a deliberate strategy to get younger people, particularly African-Americans, hooked, a new study contends."

And so of course you're expected to be further outraged at tobacco companies, to demand yet more regulation, yadda yadda yadda. But think it through.

So what companies marketing mass products for consumption don't "manipulate" flavors, levels of salt, sugar, chocolate, etc etc etc in order to get people "hooked" on their product?

Oh, but you say the key is that cigarettes and the nicotine in them are addictive? But so can be sweets, and fatty foods. And what about caffeine???? Talk about manipulating levels--do you see what the makers of Jolt Cola and Vault and Amp and the many other "energy" drinks out there do to levels of caffeine? And how good is that for you? And yet who's raging at those companies?

As conservatives, we ought to worry about the potential threat to liberty and to economic freedom from this endless drumbeat against tobacco companies. Yes, tobacco...a legal product...probably harmful to you, but so are a whole bunch of other things we put in our mouths, eat, and drink. And what makes you think that the health nazis, once they get done with cigarettes, will stop there?