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Criminalizing possession of tobacco is viewed by many as smacking of
prohibition. Perhaps a more palatable approach would be simply to make it
illegal to manufacture, import, or sell tobacco products, but legal to
possess in limited amounts for personal use. Thus, the number of
potential miscreants is reduced to manageable proportions, and the amount
of money recoverable in fines from deep-pockets manufacturers and
distributors could be quite large. Thus, while nicotine addicts could
still buy black market cigarettes, the prices would escalate far beyond
the ability of youthful initiators to pay, thus diminishing the pool of
smokers as rapidly as they sicken and die -- in the tens of thousands per
The author is a secondhand smoke consultant.
No competing interests
16 December 2003
Visiting Asst. Clinical Prof., Tufts U. School of Medicine