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Tobacco Settlement

Christmas Day is special to me, and I am careful not to let anything spoil it. However, your Dec. 25 article regarding the use of tobacco settlement money came very close to doing just that. Two facts, in particular, were especially distressing: Only 8% of the settlement money has been designated for antismoking programs, and, in Texas, lawyers for the state will receive 10 times the amount that will be spent on antismoking programs. A number of states are treating the money as just another source of revenue.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that public health had very little to do with government efforts to punish the tobacco industry. And public statements of concern over the harmful effects of smoking were but an emotional smoke screen to secure backing for an agenda of questionable merit.

WILLIAM S. LaSOR

Lake Forest

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I am an addicted smoker, aged 50, and I know I will die an addicted smoker, probably of a smoking-related disease. I am beyond redemption. Now, I have no objection to the fact that the price of my addiction has doubled in the last few years, as long as this increase in price goes toward preventing future young people from suffering the horror that I now suffer. But I very much resent it if these politicians treat this increase in revenue as some kind of windfall to be used at their discretion. I think maybe the tobacco companies and these politicians have a common motto, “Grab the buck and run with it.”

RICHARD H. TAYLOR

Rancho Santa Margarita

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