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Adults are free to choose

Reader Input
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A recent letter criticizes me for opposing a bill that gives the federal government wide-ranging control over the tobacco industry, “McClintock vote up in smoke,” (Reader Input, June 16). The health risks of smoking are real and they are well documented. Our schools rightly make a concerted effort to inform every child of the health risks associated with tobacco products, and they do a good job of it. Our government warns every adult of the risks associated with tobacco products, and they do a good job of it, too.  As a result, I don’t believe there is a single individual in the United States who doesn’t well and fully comprehend the health risks of tobacco.  But once those warnings are issued, how much further should government go to make individual decisions for rational adults as they weigh the risks of smoking for themselves? Personally, I think they’re making a bad decision. But they probably think others make bad decisions when they decide to go skiing or bungee jumping or skydiving or thousands of other pleasures that incur corresponding and calculated risks. And I would ask today, whatever happened to the notion of personal responsibility? And whatever happened to the notion, as Jefferson put it, of a “a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another (but) shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement …” U.S. Representative Tom McClintock