An interesting passage in William Saletan’s otherwise ho-hum editorial on the anti-tobacco crusades:
Urine tests are a warning sign that the war on smoking is morphing into a war on nicotine. The latest target is snus, a tobacco product that delivers nicotine without smoke. Despite studies showing it’s far safer than cigarettes, most European countries allow smoking but prohibit snus. In the U.S., sponsors of legislation to regulate tobacco under the FDA are resisting amendments that would let companies tell consumers how much safer snus is. The president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids complains that snus will “increase the number of people who use tobacco,” letting “the big companies win no matter what tobacco products people use.” But the goal shouldn’t be to stamp out tobacco or make companies lose. The goal should be to save lives.
Well, I’d say that the goal “to save lives” goes a little far, as well (at least insofar as it’s done not by preventing nonsmokers’ exposure to smoking but by criminalizing smokers themselves), but whatever. You get Saletan’s drift. The anti-smoking crusade is not just about protecting innocent third parties from the potential dangers of second-hand smoke, or even “protecting” those poor smokers from themselves. It’s about the complete eradication of tobacco use and sale. Not that this observation is anything new, obviously, but it’s just nice when anti-smoking people come right out and say it (much like when anti-choice fundies let it slip that their motives are less about Loving the Embryos!!!!!!! and more about preventing The Sex).