If you were a manufacturer proposing a new product and in the details it came out that if the consumer used your product exactly as intended it would kill or maim him, do you suppose government (or society) would allow you to distribute that product?
Probably not, would be our guess. So why is tobacco legal?
A recent editorial here was about weaning oneself from the addiction to nicotine but a bigger question is:?Why is the nasty product that enslaves masses of people even available?
Since earliest childhood, we have watched scenes of misery caused by tobacco. From a lung-cancer riddled grandfather begging us children to sneak him cigarettes to a robust championship golfer and friend reduced to a bag of bones dying in an oxygen tent.
Another friend who favored those cute little cigarillos had his voice box removed, but died anyway. Mother had a form of uterine cancer that has only one cause - smoking.
Government frets about waste in health care, yet every citizen of the country knows billions could be saved every year if there were not hundreds of thousands of smoking-caused diseases clogging the system.
One can talk about alcoholism and obesity, yet neither of them comes close to the devastation caused by tobacco. And, more importantly, neither is caused by using a product in the manner it is intended to be used.
Critics will argue that Prohibition didn't work. But how many lives would be saved if tobacco was not available at store after store? Can't we at least make it hard to come by and illegal to possess?
Every time we see a young person smoking, we envision them with tubes in their arms or with portable oxygen tanks strapped to them. It is so sad and so preventable. But society twiddles its collective thumbs, collects the taxes on the pack of cigarettes - and sentences the youth to death.
(Note: A version of this editorial appeared previously in The Maui News)
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.