President Obama might have praised Congress' tobacco bill, but for George F. Will, the new legislation gives just two muscular groups reason to celebrate: Philip Morris and "the Democratic Party's fountain of funds, the trial bar." New restrictions on cigarette advertising will help Philip Morris vault over competitors, while a provision on product liability encourages further multibillion-dollar lawsuits. It's a "contradictory and unlovely" bill, he writes, part of tobacco policy that appears to be "on balance, a success."
After all, Americans seem to be wising up to the dangers of smoking. But for the Washington Post columnist, that has less to do with government policy or even the fear of death; instead, smoking has become a habit for people who are "weak-willed and impervious to evidence." Social pressures rather than government ones may be the best way to beat tobacco—smoking was once cool, but now it's "dumb and déclassé."