‘If we had an honest, functioning Congress … ’

Nicotine and opioids are equally addicting and far more people died from nicotine/tobacco than from opioids in recent years, yet opioids are a controlled substance but anyone over the age of 18 can buy nicotine. We largely have the tobacco lobby and a corrupt Congress to thank for that. The tobacco industry even developed strains of tobacco to have more nicotine to make their product more addicting. Today we have bubble-gum-flavored nicotine vaping devices to get kids addicted early on in their lives when their health is most vulnerable. If we had an honest, functioning Congress, here is what we would do. First, restrict vaping devices to prescription only with a regular measured decrease in nicotine dosage so people can gradually withdraw from their nicotine addiction. Second have the tobacco industry reduce the level of nicotine in their products by 10% every year so in a decade tobacco products would be nicotine free. According to the CDC, “smoking related illness costs the U.S. more than $300 billion a year.” Ironically the U.S. tobacco market is about $100 billion. In other words the U.S. would save $200 billion annually if we just paid the tobacco industry $100 billion to do nothing. The Democrats have no backbone and the Republicans have sunk from a basement level of corruption to something much closer to hell. We need to put an end to lobbying and super PACs. We need term limits and strict fair campaign finance reform.

Larry DePuy, Eureka

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