Rebuttal to Killing Them Softly

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Rebuttal to “Killing Them Softly”

“Killing Them Softly,” an essay by Jacob Sullum, addresses the issue of Senator Judd Gregg’s bill to give the Food and Drug Administration control over tobacco products. This bill would allow the FDA to make such decisions as halting tobacco companies’ marketing of safer tobacco products and reducing the nicotine content in cigarettes. Sullum argues that by giving the FDA the power to make such decisions, individual consumers would be disadvantaged and lives could possibly be lost instead of saved. If given control of such decisions, the FDA would not allow the introduction of safer tobacco products as they feel this will increase the number of smokers. They feel more people will begin using these products that are advertised as less harmful substances, whereas Sullum feels it would be better for people to change their habits to these “safer alternatives.” Sullum fails to consider benefits of relinquishing control to the FDA, however. By considering some of the positive results, Sullum might develop a different opinion and support the bill as he should.

One major point that Sullum tries to emphasize is how people’s health will be disadvantaged once the FDA is given control. When making the decision about marketing safer tobacco products, the FDA is concerned about how the introduction of smokeless tobacco will be interpreted by the “population as a whole.” Sullum, on the other hand, believes the concern should be with individual consumers. He believes smokers could be doing something healthier for themselves if the FDA promoted smokeless tobacco. However, the FDA believes advertising smokeless tobacco as a less harmful substitute for cigarette smoking misleads people and encourage...

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...rth thinking about, it is in the best interest of the “population as a whole” that the Food and Drug Administration be given the rights to control the image that tobacco receives and exploit its negative aspects.

Works Cited

1Up Health. Tobacco Use - Smoking and Smokeless Tobacco. 2003. 9 Oct. 2003.


Just Eliminate Lies. A Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control. 9 Dec. 2003.


Kick Butts Day. Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids. 9 Dec. 2003.


Sullum, Jacob. “Killing Them Softly.” Reason Online. 19 Sept. 2003. 2 Oct. 2003.


Teens Against Tobacco Use. American Lung Association. 9 Dec. 2003.

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