Well it looks like it’s going to be a Libertarian news day. The first is a press release regarding the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control:

2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: May 21, 2003
For additional information:
George Getz, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 333-0008
E-Mail: pressreleases@hq.LP.org

Global tobacco treaty will curb freedom, but not smoking, Libertarians predict

WASHINGTON, DC — The international anti-tobacco treaty that the U.S. government has suddenly embraced won’t reduce smoking in other nations by one iota, Libertarians predict, but it will infringe on the right of adults everywhere to smoke.

“This treaty proves that politicians and bureaucrats are hopelessly addicted to running other people’s lives, no matter which nation they’re from,” said Geoffrey Neale, Libertarian Party national chairman. “While this document will further empower the international nanny state, in all likelihood it won’t deter people from smoking.”

In a speech before the 171-member World Health Assembly on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is expected to announce that the U.S. has abandoned its opposition to the international anti-tobacco treaty.

Formally called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the multinational agreement seeks to combat tobacco use around the globe by imposing higher cigarette taxes, cracking down on smuggling, banning advertising and outlawing sales to minors.

Libertarians’ main objection to U.S. participation: It’s none of the government’s business whether people smoke.

“American politicians have no right ordering Americans not to smoke — much less people halfway around the world,” Neale said. “Smoking is a personal choice, not an international crisis. Adults should have the right to engage in behavior that hurts no one but themselves, as long as they’re willing to accept the consequences.”

Americans who support the treaty should be reminded that trying to “protect” people in other countries from smoking cuts both ways: The U.S. government would get power over individuals in other nations, but foreign leaders would get the same power over us.

“Do you really want bureaucrats in Brazil, China, and Zimbabwe to have the power to decide whether and where you can smoke, and how much it will cost?” he asked. “If you think it’s hard to fight City Hall, imagine trying to fight the United Nations.”

Finally, Neale noted, evidence shows that higher tobacco taxes, anti-smoking campaigns and more stringent regulations don’t curb smoking anyway:

* In Australia — where cigarettes cost about $4 a pack, most tobacco ads are banned, and the government sponsors massive anti-smoking campaigns on TV — smoking rates are about the same as in the U.S., according to a study by the University of Sydney’s Department of Public Health.

* In the United States, the teen smoking rate has increased at the same time that states boosted taxes, outlawed smoking in public places and launched public education campaigns, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The study found that smoking rates among high school students rose from 27.5 percent to 36.4 percent between 1991 and 1997, during which time the government launched an unprecedented anti-smoking campaign.

* A recent study at Cornell University also found no significant decline in teen-age smoking rates in states that raised cigarette taxes.

“The bottom line is that treaties, taxes, and tyranny won’t curb smoking in the United States or abroad,” Neale said. “It’s time to snuff out the U.S. role in the global anti-tobacco treaty.”

The Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org/
2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 voice: 202-333-0008
Washington DC 20037 fax: 202-333-0072

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