So this is what freedom is all about for some people: cigarettes. The tiny little town of Westminster, Massachusetts, is considering a ban on the sale of tobacco products. That brought out a host of flag-draped, nicotine-addicted oldsters who were so angry and out of control that the meeting had to be shut down. They were screaming about freedom. Nonsense. It's about public safety. The city is trying to prevent the tobacco industry from hooking yet another generation of their children on the addictive drug that they are peddling inside their cancerous little death-tubes. Smoking kills 480,000 Americans every year. The cost to all of us is enormous. According to the CDC, the cost is:
- More than $289 billion a year, including at least $133 billion in direct medical care for adults and more than $156 billion in lost productivity
- $5.6 billion a year (2006 data) in lost productivity from exposure to secondhand smoke
While I'm on the topic, I've often wondered why smokers think it is perfectly acceptable to fling cigarette butts all over creation. Why do they think this is anything but littering?