Can I See Your Smoking License, Please?
Two researchers debate the pros and cons of licensing the right to smoke in articles published this week in the online journal PLOS Medicine.
What's the Latest Development?
The online journal PLOS Medicine recently published dueling opinions on the subject of requiring smokers to obtain a permit or license. Public health professor Simon Chapman proposes a smartcard that smokers would pay for that would limit them to a maximum of 50 cigarettes per day averaged out over a two-week period. They would be required to present the smartcard when purchasing tobacco products, and both buyers and sellers would face steep fines for abusing the system. Chapman says that the license would be easy to get but its fees would vary in such a way as to encourage users to minimize their consumption or quit entirely.
What's the Big Idea?
Global health policy professor Jeff Collin agrees with Chapman that something needs to be done to mitigate the effects of tobacco use on overall health. However, Collin argues that a license would further stigmatize already-beleaguered smokers (for whom smoking is an addiction) and draw attention away from the industry itself, which he feels is behind the prevalence of smoking worldwide. Currently many countries are striving to reduce smoking using a variety of methods, many of which, just like Chapman's proposal, "would have seemed unimaginable a few generations ago."
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The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.
Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.
- A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
- The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
- The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.
- "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
- "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"