Should the government regulate the tobacco industry.

Question: Should the government regulate the tobacco industry?

Bill Novelli: Well, tobacco is not an ordinary product. So when you’re looking for that balance between, you know, public government oversight and individual responsibility and individual liberties, the line for tobacco is not exactly where it should be with cheeseburgers. Tobacco is the only product which, if you use as directed, it kills you. And of course 80% of all those who become addicted to tobacco become addicted as kids. And so we have a government . . . a national obligation to protect our children. And that’s why the line should be sharper for tobacco than for other products. That’s why we need FDA oversight over tobacco. We need taxes on top of tobacco. We need public education campaigns. And we need to really reign in the tobacco industry.

Question: Do you have a specific policy in mind?

Peter Novelli: There’s a law that’s pending right now as we discuss this. It is to give the food and drug administration oversight over tobacco so that it would be regulated for the first time. Right now you can bring out, you know, a new product of any kind – a new soft drink – easier than you can bring out . . . Oh excuse me. It’s the other way around. Let me try that again. Today you can bring out a tobacco product – a cigarette – far, far easier than you can bring out a new food product because there’s no regulation. There’s no oversight. It’s a historic accident and we have to fix it.

Question: What effects does tobacco have on your AARP constituents?

Peter Novelli: Tobacco kills people later in life. We’re talking about 45, 50, 60, 70 years old. And of course when you’re a kid, you think you’re immortal and invincible, and you don’t think about being 55 or 65 years old. And so that’s why it’s so insidious. It starts early and it kills later. And as far as our members are concerned, what we try to tell them is it’s never too late to quit. You can quit smoking and reap benefits from it.

Recorded on: 9/27/07

 

Tobacco is no ordinary product, says Novelli.

Think of the closest planet to Earth... Wrong! Think again!

Three scientists publish paper proving that not Venus but Mercury is the closest planet to Earth

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbour must be planet two of four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbour is... Mercury!
Keep reading Show less

Scientists reactivate cells from 28,000-year-old woolly mammoth

"I was so moved when I saw the cells stir," said 90-year-old study co-author Akira Iritani. "I'd been hoping for this for 20 years."

Yamagata et al.
Surprising Science
  • The team managed to stimulate nucleus-like structures to perform some biological processes, but not cell division.
  • Unless better technology and DNA samples emerge in the future, it's unlikely that scientists will be able to clone a woolly mammoth.
  • Still, studying the DNA of woolly mammoths provides valuable insights into the genetic adaptations that allowed them to survive in unique environments.
Keep reading Show less

10 novels that brilliantly capture the American experience

The distance between the American dream and reality is expressed best through literature.

American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin poses at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979. (Photo: Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Literature expands our ability to feel empathy and inspires compassion.
  • These ten novels tackle some facet of the American experience.
  • The list includes a fictional retelling of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard and hiding out in inner city Newark.
Keep reading Show less