"From the gut (and the heart)"
Editorials by Paul Olivier
Billions Judgment against 
"Big" Tobacco.
Smoking, Taxes and the $145 Billion punitive judgment gave me something to think about and come to some conclusions about confusing approaches to fairness and personal responsibility.
I will not be giving detailed historical fact; just some logical thoughts.
With most laws the US congress produces and the respective administrations enact, an other incremental limitation of the freedoms of the American People is the effect. And as some wise Americans have said: "The less the congress does the better".
Congress, in the name of the American People, has done some things, it has instituted to tax the sales of tobacco products. So, how many billions (adjusted for inflation) has the government racked in? Did the government officials know about the danger of smoking (and chewing)? Who didn't? I knew as a 6 or 7 year old, some some 58 years ago that smoking was not good for your health!
Taxing a dangerous product, and it is clear that tobacco was always known to be unhealthy, brings the government and the manufacturers in collusion. Both made lots of money from this dangerous product and habit. So the government, representing "We the People",is responsible. That makes us all responsible. However, some are more responsible: the smokers. Because there is choice. You (the majority) got the laws arranged for your convenience, so that you will be able to kill your unborn children.
You had also the choice to smoke or not to smoke. Understand well,this does not let the tobacco industry off the hook. I have no argument with suing the tobacco manufacturers for advertisement meant to attract young children to smoking. I have however an argument with parents, who smoke while having under aged children; these parens are disqualified to have any complain against tobacco manufacturers. 
What is this cigarette smoking doing in our modern society anyway? Why are we still holding on to this obsolete custom? Shouldn't we reject this objectionable despiccable habit? What about cigars or chew tobacco or sniff? There are better things to smell, chew and sniff!
But as long as it is not in someone els space, you should be able to smoke, if you choose to do so, in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Paul Olivier. 7/21/2000
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