Monday, June 13, 2005

Unintended consequences get public airing :: NYT Magazine

If a new, independently produced cigarette like Fact -- or, just as likely, a product from a big tobacco company backed by enormous marketing resources -- promises to lower the odds of disease for smokers, couldn't it increase cigarette consumption? This is what most scares antitobacco policy makers. The more successfully a cigarette reduces risk, the more it might encourage smokers not to quit. Or lure ex-smokers to resume their habit. Or make kids smokers. It might, in other words, do exactly the opposite of what it is intended to do. In a worst-case scenario, it could reverse a half-century of antismoking education, policy and litigation in a flash.
Why stop there? What about seatbelt laws? What about lite beer? What about debt forgiveness?


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