Regulation of smoking has always been an interesting area of consideration when it comes to freedom, with both those who are in favour of regulation and those who are against it making arguments based in the theory of individual liberty. Those who favour regulation assert that non-smokers’ right to health is being violated and those against assert that smokers’ freedom of choice is being violated.
Whatever the case, any regulation should adhere to the precepts of the rule of law absolutely, and adhere as far as it can to the demands of economic reality…
Regulations on the tobacco industry are nothing new to Americans. As early as the 1950s, the U.S. government has made efforts to regulate the industry, from public service announcements to advertising regulations such as the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act in 1965. It wasn’t until 2010 when the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was enacted into law that the Food and Drug Administration gained the power to regulate the tobacco industry.
The intention to curb smoking and improve public health is a common mission of governments around the world, but often the solutions they impose come in the form of burdensome regulations and misinformation campaigns….
Today’s Young Voices Podcast features Young Voices Executive Director Casey Given and YV Advocate Andrew Wilford on the forthcoming release of GMO apples in select stores in the Midwest. Could the relative lack of outrage regarding these apples mean Americans are finally accepting the scientific consensus on GMOs?
While an HIV outbreak last week prompted Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to override state law and implement a short-term syringe exchange program in order to curtail the high rate of disease transmission, a bill aimed at achieving the same effect in the country’s worst area of HIV infection has passed its first hurdle.
Miami-Dade County has one of the highest rates of intravenous drug use nationwide, with over 10,000 residents injecting drugs regularly. Considering that the average intravenous drug userinjects about 1,000 times per year and 67 percent of injection drug users in Miami-Dade reporthaving shared syringes, it’s essential that public officials find ways to reduce harm associated with risky behavior.
Sharing needles is a cheap way for injection drug users to get their fix, but it comes at a high price: injection drug use accounts for one-fifth of all HIV infections and two-thirds of hepatitis C infections. Miami-Dade County is now home to the highestrate of HIV infection in the United States.
Regrettably, old legislation has perpetuated this crisis. All across the state municipalities have placed bans on clean syringes, prohibiting their sale to anyone without a prescription. The Florida Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention & Control Act goes a step further by making it a third degreefelony for anyone without a prescription to possess a syringe. While well-intentioned, this legislation frustrates harm reduction initiatives and encourages dangerous behavior.
Fortunately, State Representative Katie Edwards has filed legislation which would create Florida’s first sterile syringe exchange program (SEP) and the bill has now passed its first Senate committee. The Infectious Disease Elimination Pilot Program (HB 475) is similar to the failed bills pushed through the state legislature in 2013 and 2014 and it would establish one regulated SEP in Miami where program staff and participants would not need to fear arrest.
The goal of the program is to allow intravenous drug users a place to safely dispose of their used syringes and to receive sterile syringes at no cost in order to enhance their welfare.