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Posted on September 23, 2008 at 6:55 AM

What’s the way to save the world? Luckily you can keep driving your car, eating fatty foods and even going out in the sunshine–as long as you stop lighting up.

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According to Michael Bloomberg, America’s public health mayor (so much so that they’ve named a School of Public Health after him) in this week’s Newsweek, the epidemic killing more people than TB, malaria and AIDS combined is–yep–tobacco. Put that in your pipe and smoke it–or don’t, as it were.

Bloomberg has been the the anti-tobbacky crusader since NYC banned smoking in the workplace in 2002. And according to him, he’s been a trendsetter–while he’s given millions to anti-smoking campaigns so have other philanthropists.

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And who cares about the rights of smokers to put tar in their lungs and nicotine in their bodies not in public places where it can inflict harms on innocent secondhand smoke inhalers and not while their healthcare costs are inflicted upon other nonsmokers. Public health ethics says that almost any measures are okay to get smokers addicted to nicotine to kick the habit to stop inflicting harm on themselves and others.

Bloomberg says “a billion lives hang in the balance” so do whatever you can. Get tobacco out of our societies. Ban it, tax it, kill it off if we have to. It might seem draconian, but I think he might just be right.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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