Tobacco: Where's The Fire?

What's the hurry? That's our reaction to the rush to settlement on the tobacco front. The pact is only a broad-strokes agreement that could--repeat, could--lead to a decent deal once it has gone through the Washington legislative mill. There's the rub. We need to see the political fine print. After all, we're talking about negotiations involving the two biggest campaign contributors, trial lawyers and tobacco companies. We've got long-standing ideological issues at stake, from the fate of the Food & Drug Administration to government's role in the nation's health. Toss in pity for tobacco farmers (subsidized by taxpayers), victims of cancer (who just might have some personal responsibility in their smoking), and this promises to be a giant spectacle. Given this intensely political arena, we want transparency in the upcoming negotiations, and the time to see just who is agreeing to what, and why.

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