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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 17, 2010 / 10 Kislev, 5771

Warning labels and the nanny-state

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Every sentient human being knows that smoking is unhealthy. Cigarettes have been nicknamed "coffin nails" since at least the 1880s, and more than two centuries earlier King James I was railing against smoking as "a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, [and] dangerous to the lungs."

In the United States, federal law has required warnings on cigarette packages since 1966. In the years since then, smoking rates have been sliced in half -- from more than 42 percent Americans who were occasional smokers in the mid-'60s to less than 21 percent now. As for the hardcore who smoke daily, their numbers have dropped to just 12.7 percent, an all-time low. If ever any message reached its intended audience, it is the message that smoking is bad for your health. In fact, smokers tend to overestimate the danger from cigarettes: Surveys show, for example, that smokers put the chances of dying from lung cancer caused by smoking at 40 out of 100. The actual likelihood: between 7 and 13 out of 100.

Smoking's toxic reputation isn't the only thing that has depleted the ranks of American smokers. Cigarettes have never been as highly taxed as they are now, as widely banned, or as deeply stigmatized. Plainly, the last thing the federal government needs to be doing now is rolling out new rules for alerting consumers to the hazards of smoking.

That, of course, is just what the feds are doing.

Last week the Food and Drug Administration announced that it will soon require tobacco warning labels to be much bigger -- beginning next fall, they will have to cover half the front and back of each cigarette pack -- and more graphic. Armed with new powers granted by Congress last year, the FDA has designed 36 possible labels, from which nine final choices will be selected.

The proposed warnings, reports The Washington Post, include one "containing an image of a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; another depicting a body with a large scar running down the chest; and another showing a man who appears to be suffering a heart attack. Others have images of a corpse in a coffin and one with a toe tag in a morgue, diseased lungs and mouths, and a mother blowing smoke into a baby's face."

Apparently the theory behind such fulsome antismoking imagery is that while everyone knows tobacco is unhealthy, some people need to have their noses rubbed in that fact as pungently and unpleasantly as possible. I don't smoke and never have, and if one of my kids were tempted by cigarettes, I wouldn't hesitate to deploy the diseased-lung or dying-cancer-patient pictures to make sure they realized the potential stakes.

But when did it become the job of the federal government to treat American adults the way mothers and fathers treat children? Is the stomping out of bad personal habits a role we really want to entrust to the Department of Health and Human Services? Washington can't manage to curb its own foul behavior; why would we put it in charge of curbing ours? Few things in modern American life are as ubiquitous as the pressure to stay away from tobacco. Everyone gets the message, which is why the great majority of Americans no longer smokes. The dwindling few who do don't need to be nagged about it by the government of the United States of America.

There will always be some people who smoke, just as there will always be some people who drive recklessly or overeat or drink to excess. Should the manufacturer's sticker on every new car be required to include images of horrible collisions and mangled motorists? Should packages of high-calorie junk food depict rolls of flabby cellulite or a patient undergoing bypass surgery? Should beer and wine bottles be covered with grisly pictures of ruined livers or passed-out drunks?

"The natural progress of things," Jefferson said, "is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." The nanny-state may make some decisions easier, but it is not compatible with a free society. It isn't Washington's function to wipe your nose just because your nose needs wiping. Of course the functionaries mean well. There always seem to be good reasons for giving them just a little more authority, for agreeing to surrender just a few more personal choices, for letting yourself be treated just a bit more condescendingly. But it comes at a price. Smoking is unhealthy, no question about it. The loss of freedom and self-respect are more hazardous by far.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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