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Ending Smoking?

In this March 2 photo, a woman smokes a cigarette while sitting in her truck in Hayneville, Ala. (AP)

In this March 2 photo, a woman smokes a cigarette while sitting in her truck in Hayneville, Ala. (AP)

Northeastern University law professor Richard Daynard says that the country is due for another serious anti-smoking crusade to reduce levels of smoking below 10 percent. Snuffing out the habit is possible, he says, with a few easy steps. Smoking advocates, however, see it as a campaign that’s gone too far.


Richard Daynard, professor of law at Northeastern University and president of its Public Health Advocacy Institute. His recent op-ed in The New York Times, calling for a new anti-smoking push, is here.

Stephen Helfer, a Cambridge-based independent smoker’s rights advocate


New York Times: “What we need is an all-out push to reduce smoking rates to well below 10 percent. The notion is nothing new to tobacco-control advocates, many of whom gathered last week in Cambridge, Mass., for a conference on the governance of tobacco, sponsored by Harvard with support from the World Health Organization.”

The Atlantic: “Products introduced before March of 2011 have been allowed to enter the market provisionally, although the agency may order their removal at any time. The approximately 500 products submitted for review since then, however, are hostage to an approval process that progresses glacially, presents vague standards, and makes no promise of reaching a conclusion.”

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  • Kathy

    Prohibition of tobacco is as stupid as prohibition of alcohol which is as stupid as the prohibition of pot. It’s dumb. 

    Banning parents from smoking in homes with children would be a nice step though.

    • Mark from Cambridge

      What was proposed was the end of smoking, not of tobacco.  There are a myriad of tobacco products as well as things like e-cigarettes that deliver nicotine with dramatically less risk to health.  That distinguishes these ideas from alcohol prohibition or marijuana prohibitions, which banned all forms of the substance.  Daynard is proposing to phase out only the most dangerous form of tobacco that is responsible for more than 95% of the death and disease caused by the tobacco plant.

  • Kathy

    Wow, you found someone even dumber than the first guest.

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

     Did Probation end differently than I remember? Making some thing illegal has never ended it’s use. Besides we are talking about a very small population here.   As the older smokers die off hopefully fewer people will pick up the habit. Smoking will gradually end, or not.

    I don’t support the idea of any one other than myself to decide what I can put in or take out of my body.  Yes I went there!!

  • whtlnefvr

     These nanny-state types like Daynard remind me so much of the prohibitionists.  We have the right to do to ourselves what we wish and that should continue.

  • Dennis John Gianatassio

    Smoking should be completely outlawed.  Period. – Dennis John Gianatassio

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    Just a heads up Richard, listening to you makes me want to smoke! 

  • Gretchen

    C’mon, WBUR – didn’t you vet this smokers’ rights fellow?  He sounds like a complete wack job!  This is not a thought provoking discussion.

    • Kathy

      I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a non-whack-job “smoker’s rights advocate.” They are either astro-turf groups started by the tobacco industry or complete nutters.

  • Kathy

    Does the guest understand that he’s actually empowering the tobacco companies with this stuff because he sounds so insane? Are they paying him to be a stereotype of a condescending nanny-stater?

  • Mary

    OMG Is Helfer actually suggesting the smoking is good for the poor? At $8-$10 dollars a pack? How can you possibly give this person a platform to speak Radio Boston? Badly done.

  • Aarondmccall45

    All inclusive banning strips the rights of individuals to make their own choices and shows a profound lack of respect for an individuals ability to make intelligent choices.

  • Aleo

    Is Helfer for real? Or is he a performance artist?

  • Chuck

    An obvious question was not asked at the outset of this conversation. Does the pro-smoking advocate smoke? Most likely not. 

    • http://radioboston.wbur.org/ Alex Kingsbury

      He’s a proud smoker, yes.

  • Divine582

    Mr. Helfer position  is ridiculous. I’m sure when they removed cocaine from Coca C0la there was an uproar from those addicted masquerading as a demand for “constitutional rights”.  Smoking affects the  physical and financil health of everyone .

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