Ganga? Guess again. The above is the caption of a review in the current issue of The Economist of a new book entitled, The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall and Deadly Persistence of the Product that Defined America by Allan M. Brandt. The review begins as follows:
The single most shattering statistic about life in America in the late 1990s was that tobacco killed more people than the combined total of those who died from AIDS, car accidents, alcohol, murder, suicide, illegal drugs and fire. The deaths of more than 400,000 Americans each year, 160,00 of them from lung cancer, make a strong case for the prohibition of tobacco, and particularly of cigarettes.
The review concludes with the sardonic but probably accurate observation that by entering into a negotiated settlement with Big Tobacco in 1998 to recoup the cost of treating sick smokers, numerous states "now had an interest in the industry's success" by virtue of being tied to tobacco's purse-strings. "For those who thought the settlement was akin to 'dancing with the devil'," according to the reviewer, "it appeared in retrospect that the devil had the best tunes . . . "
When Mike writes about "The War on (some) Drugs" consider this exhibit "A".