Pubdate: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2001, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Idris David Mercer


Burnaby, B.C. -- I can't be the only one who notices the hypocrisy and 
inconsistency implicit in Health Minister Allan Rock's recent proclamation 
that "all cigarettes are totally unacceptable for one's health," given the 
recent publicity surrounding Canada's new medical marijuana regulations 
(news -- Aug. 13).

Tobacco is an extremely addictive substance whose long-term use can have 
devastating medical consequences. But I'd be willing to bet that one could 
find a few hundred Canadians for whom it can be demonstrated that 
occasional moderate ingestion of nicotine has some health benefits (reduced 
anxiety, for instance).

I suppose if we banned tobacco use except for this small number of 
hypothetical individuals, this would at least be consistent with the rules 
for marijuana, but there is an alternative. Treat adults like adults. Allow 
them to ingest any recreational mood-altering substances they like, but by 
all means warn them in an intelligent, respectful way about any associated 
health risks.
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