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“If you’re not going to ban them … ”

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2002 - Autumn


Past efforts to make a “safer” cigarette, attorney Scott D. Ballin told the audience at a seminar at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, may have increased the risks to smokers. Ballin, a former vice president for public policy at the National Heart Association, said low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes offered smokers a false sense of security. “People were compensating by smoking twice as much and inhaling more deeply,” he said at the May gathering. “I don’t think it is politically or economically feasible for tobacco products to be banned in this society. The real question we have to struggle with is, if you’re not going to ban them, what do you do with them?”

Ballin called for making cigarettes safer by removing carcinogens and other toxins known to cause disease. “Risk reduction can be an effective strategy,” he said, “but it has to be done based on science and with a regulatory mechanism, such as [that provided by] the FDA, in place. What we have done with other products regulated by the fda should now be applied to tobacco.”