Tobacco, somebody once said, is the only product that, when used as directed, kills you. Though smoking rates have declined, more than a 150,000 Americans each year die of lung cancer, nearly all directly killed by smoking.
That doesn’t include the thousands who die of other smoking-related diseases, from heart failure to emphysema.
We also know that with rare exceptions, smokers start the habit -- addiction, really -- while they are legally too young to smoke. Have you ever met anyone in their 30s who spontaneously decides to start?
State Senator Steve Bieda of Warren knows this; like many of us, he has seen relatives die in great agony as a consequence of smoking. Unlike most of us, however, he is in a position to try to do something about it. He’s introduced a bill to double the penalty to anyone selling tobacco to a minor to $100 for the first offense, and $500 for subsequent offenses.