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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Governor Strickland encourages young job-seekers to smoke ... or something like that

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Congrats on the internship, kid. Now smoke up!
At his press conference on Monday to announce a new $1.5 billion economic stimulus package, Governor Ted Strickland unveiled plans for a $250 million college-internship program intended to quell the dreaded brain drain currently afflicting Ohio. And in a coup for committed smokers, Strickland’s internship program means certain death for the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation (OTPF); the new program will poach $240 million from OTPF’s budget, leaving the nicotine-haters with a measly $40 million with which to save you and your lungs from a long, slow, but pretty relaxed (and skinny!) death. And it isn’t the first time the legislature has used OTPF, funded as a result of successful litigation against big tobacco companies, as its own get-out-of-jail-free card. ... When OTPF was originally founded in 2000, they had a billion bucks and some change, which they used for counter-marketing, a 1-800 quit line, and developing more effective ways to dispense common-sense statements like “smoking kills.” But now, with a tanking economy, legislators have been forced to take sides: job creation over lung preservation. We understand Governor Strickland’s intentions. But we wonder if, in all the calculations to determine the long-term economic benefits of his internship program, the Governor ever thought to account for all the time his new workforce will waste taking smoke breaks? – Caleb Hannan


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