Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein has a new piece up at the Hoover Institution Web site about a legal challenge to the FDA's gory new cigarette-package warning levels. He suggests an alternative approach:
The United States should promptly cut to zero the near $200 million in tobacco subsidies that it shelled out in 2010. In addition, it should take smoking into account in determining premiums for Medicare, and make it perfectly clear that all insurance companies are entitled to charge extra fees, if they so choose, to tobacco smokers. The correct regime here, as in so many other cases, is to remove both the undeserved subsidies along with the excessive regulations and tort liability. As a nation, we would have been a lot better off in dealing with the dangers of tobacco by adopting a minimalist four-part program: no tort liability; no Master Settlement Agreement; no FDA regulatory barrage, coupled, perhaps, with the set of tobacco warnings first adopted in the 1960s.