Benjamin’s alarm was sounded by a recent government report from her office about youth smoking. Keep in mind that the report shows that the rate of kids lighting up has gone down. Yes, down. Almost one in five high school-aged teens smokes, down from earlier decades.
Apparently the rate of decline has slowed, which makes our Surgeon General nervous.
I’m not a smoker and I understand the long term health problems that can be caused by the nasty habit. I cheered when smoking was removed from many public places.
At this point in our history, people know that smoking is bad for you. Since the 1960s, 31 reports have come out of the Surgeon General’s office that say tobacco use is dangerous.
If you smoke today, you’re basically an idiot. More public dollars don’t need to be spent to give these people a clue. Especially when the tobacco industry spends $10 billion a year to promote the habit.
I’m also alarmed that Benjamin isn’t concerned with why youth tobacco use continues. “I don’t want to focus on blame, I want to focus on prevention,” she said.
To me that’s an excuse to write a big number on a blank check.
America’s resources would be better spent tackling other health issues.