Last Friday, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General’s first report on health hazards of cigarette smoking, his office released a report linking smoking to several new chronic diseases. These include diabetes, erectile dysfunction, cancer of the colon and liver, and stroke, in additional to the well-known links to lung and oral cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The parallels between cigarette smoking and meat consumption are uncanny: The chronic diseases linked to both activities and costs of associated medical care and lost productivity are very similar. The first government reports warning consumers about health hazards of cigarette smoking and meat consumption were issued in 1964 (by Surgeon General) and in 1977 (by Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs), respectively. The first warning labels on cigarette and meat packaging were required in 1966 and 1994, respectively. Both activities are discouraged by health advocates and both are declining. But there is one important difference: The meat industry impacts more state economies with a stronger Congressional clout than the tobacco industry. A Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of meat consumption is most unlikely.

Our health remains our personal responsibility.

BRENT REGAN

Brattleboro Prohibition alive and well in Vermont

When you hear the words "illegal liquor transportation" do you have visions of prohibition and Al Capone, Elliot Ness and his gang breaking open barrels of booze? Well, for one New York man in December, his vision was a Vermont State Trooper telling him the alcohol he just bought legally in New Hampshire was getting him a date in court.

Welcome to the Green Mountain State. You see, Vermont doesn’t take kindly to individuals passing through in an attempt to save money. It isn’t enough you have to pay our high gas tax and our meals tax on your journey back home; we want a piece of the action when it comes to your alcohol purchase. Thanks for promoting tourism and Interstate Commerce, Vermont.

How excited would we be if New Hampshire put a tax on all Vermont Maple Syrup transported through the Granite State or how about a surcharge to bring that Heady Topper over state lines? A man made a transaction that is legal in all 50 states, and his only offense was his geographical location. At a time when many politicians talk about open borders, Vermont wants to build a wall around foreign hooch. I have read countless articles about how wonderful it is when folks from Quebec come down and spend their Loonies at our shops and hotels and how it boosts the economy. Why shouldn’t Americans have the same competitive advantage? Prohibition ended in 1933 with the 21st Amendment. It is time Vermont catches up.

TRAVIS SPENCER

Milton Town Chairman
Vermont Libertarian Party

Will God bless an America that allows abortion?

As a weary America struggles through wars, a weak economy and a spiritual crisis, maybe we should reassess our moral compass. Since Jan. 22, 1973, the day that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, 56 million unborn babies have been murdered. Saying "God Bless America" is a common theme in our country. Will God bless an America that sanctions the slaughter of millions of unborn children? Will God bless those who stand by in apathetic silence? I do not think so. If our legal system allows the killing of unborn babies, how can we feel secure in our own lives?

We as Americans must change our moral compass and if we do not, God will certainly withdraw His blessings.

HUGH GALVIN III

Bennington