Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The media has been having a lot of fun with Barrack Obama's efforts to quit smoking. Columnist Michael Kinsley recently did a piece that simultaneously did a "gotcha" by speculating that Obama had violated his pledge to stop smoking while calling on people to let him smoke lest a nicotine fit gives him an itchy trigger finger with our nuclear arsenal. USA TODAY recently joined the fun with an editorial suggesting Obama deserved the scorn of late-night comedians if he doesn't quit. They paired this with an opposing view which held that Obama should be allowed to have an occasional puff so his faculties aren't clouded in a time of crisis.

Partnership for Prevention's Corinne G. Husten has now called the media on this little game. "Some folks seem determined to cast (Obama) either as villian or victim..." Husten wrote in a letter pubslished by USA TODAY. "Both narratives make for good drama, but neither is realistic or constructive." She pointed out that 70 percent of the millions of U.S. smokers say they want to quit, but they are hampered by uneven smoking cessation treatment benefits provided by private and government insurance programs.

"People in this situation don't need vilification or indulgence," she said. "They need our support, and they need access to the full range of tools that can help them.


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