George Will had a column in yesterday’s Washington Post about why NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg won’t run for the presidency. That shouldn’t come as much as a surprise. But one part of the article warrants mentioning for its sheer absurdity:
Bloomberg credits his crusade against smoking with the decline in heart attacks that has helped make the life expectancy of city residents higher than that of the rest of the nation.
For the sake of argument, let’s grant Bloomberg that second-hand smoke inhalation can lead to heart attacks (even though the evidence is suspect) and let’s further grant that his policies of banning smoking in the bars and raising cigarette taxes encouraged more people to quit smoking. This still doesn’t change the fact that heart disease takes decades to develop, and any government actions taken three-and-a-half years ago to reduce smoking-even if they could be effective in the long-term-would not have an immediate impact on heart attack rates or life expectancy. I’m surprised that George Will would allow Bloomberg to advance such a canard without challenging him.
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