Smoking is at a historic low in America after decades of informing the public about the huge health risks involved. But smoking rates aren’t down for everyone – poor, uneducated and rural Americans are still dying sooner because they smoke. On Wednesday’s “The Morning Blaze with Doc Thompson,” Doc Thompson talked about the danger of giving government more and more control over our decisions, even in the name of making us healthier.
Smoking was once an upper-class addiction, influenced by Hollywood movies and marketed as good for your health in doctor-endorsed advertisements. But the 1964 surgeon general’s report on the dangers of smoking and subsequent decades of public campaigns has massively reduced the number of smokers in the U.S. in the past few decades.
The gap between rich and poor has never been bigger when it comes to smoking, the Washington Post reported last week. Low-income, uneducated Americans are smoking more – and dying more – than those with more money and more education.
Smoking rates have dropped 83 percent since 1966 for Americans with a college education; for those who only completed part of high school, smoking rates are down just 39 percent. People living in rural areas are 18 to 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer. Smoking has dropped 62 percent among high-income families; however, it’s been reduced by a mere 9 percent for families with the lowest income.
Doc warned that the failure of higher taxes and public campaigns to discourage smoking completely may result in expanded government control. When big government fails, government officials just demand more control and more money. While the intentions are good, preventing people from smoking isn’t the government’s place, he asserted.
“I don’t think it’s the government’s job to stop people from doing destructive things to themselves,” Doc said.