Jennings Death Inspires Anti-Smoking Crusade

Jennings Death Inspires Anti-Smoking Crusade
NBC reports that thousands choose to stop smoking yet, they need regulation and government funding to help?

By Dan Gainor
August 11, 2005

     The networks have been on an anti-smoking crusade since Peter Jennings death but they werent just showing concern for the nations health. NBC took the opportunity to plug increased regulation of businesses and more taxpayer funding for government meddling in peoples lives.

     NBCs Today followed up on Jennings death reporting that Since his passing, thousands have logged on to Web sites determined to quit smoking. As the U.S. overall tries to go smoke-free.

     The Aug. 11 report by NBCs Carl Quintanilla mentioned that nearly a dozen states now ban smoking in restaurants and bars. That would mean that something close to 80 percent of the states do not so the entire nation is far from smoke-free.

     Quintanilla pegged his story to a proposed ban in Louisville, Ky. The story quoted former NFL Bears coach Mike Ditka, who now owns a restaurant, saying the ban would hurt his business. But the report didnt delve into any statistics on that point. All Quintanilla did was restate his concern about the dangers of the voluntary act of smoking by ending his report with this: Authorities hope to change that behavior and help more Americans avoid a disease that has already taken too many.

     But as Quintanilla had already reported, the authorities werent needed to help Americans stop smoking. They were doing that in droves, spurred by the tragic reality of Jennings death from smoking-related lung cancer.

     Today followed up that report by interviewing Dr. Claudia Henschke, a professor of radiology and the coauthor of Lung Cancer Myths, Facts, Choices and Hope. Henschke said she would urge people to stop smoking. Katie Couric, who was handling the interview, took the approach that increased government funding was needed to combat smoking. Its woefully under-funded, isnt it? she asked. Henschke agreed.

     Couric and Quintanilla rushed to the government for smoking solutions, overlooking the fact that peoples personal choices, inspired by the tragic choices of another, could be far more effective.