There has long been something of a dichotomy of tradition within the Republican Party over tobacco, with most Southern-state Republicans tending to seek to extend support to the tobacco industry, while a few more teetotaling types (especially from heavily Mormon states) being against it, and welcoming efforts to suppress its indulgent effects through regulation and taxation. One might be forgiven for expecting that Donald Trump, with his abundance of populist and anti-government rhetoric, would fall in with the former group. But that expectation forgets a significant element of Trump's personal history. Trump, it may be remembered, has always been personally strictly anti-smoking in his personal life, conditioned to this position by his father's equally stern views against smoking, resulting in Trump carrying over this disposition with his family and employees. This is in stark contrast with Trump's predecessors -- Barack Obama, who nursed a thirty-year smoking addiction which he reportedly only finally kicked in the waning years of his own Presidency, and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who share a penchant for the cigar. And, naturally, Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama all had some experience in their earlier years, to various degrees of success, smoking something else which Trump happens to despise.

And so it came to pass that Trump appointed Scott Gottlieb as FDA Commissioner -- Gottlieb, who shares Trump's fervently anti-tobacco attitude, in July 2017 announced a major new regulatory push against tobacco (his speech on it is here -- ) with "a new and comprehensive approach to the regulation of nicotine," intended to virtually drive the product out of the market altogether. The tobacco industry has railed against this new regulatory push, but thus far their pleas to the Trump Administration have fallen on decidedly deaf ears. More recently the Trump Administration has struck a blow from the other end of the revenue pipeline, requiring the tobacco industry to fund a new round of anti-tobacco ads planned to be more comprehensively negative towards tobacco than previous ads. Trump opponents were probably expecting him to be soft on tobacco -- but is it really surprising that a longtime anti-smoker is shifting the weight of the government toward taking this hard line against it? And oughtn't those liberals who've long favored such regulation be applauding this?



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