I recently read an online article that criticized Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence for his stances on two healthcare issues as governor of Indiana. The author of the article did not like the fact that Pence opposes state funding for free needles for drug addicts. The writer claimed that such needles would have prevented an AIDS outbreak in parts of the state where IV drug users tend to re-use dirty needles. Yes, they probably would have prevented the AIDS outbreak, but it’s not the government’s job to help people mitigate the consequences of choices they made to use illegal drugs.
The writer also attacked Pence for keeping the state’s tax on cigarettes among the lowest in the country. This person cited statistics that show that cigarette smoking goes down when taxes on tobacco products are increased. While I don’t doubt the accuracy of those statistics, I don’t think it’s the government’s job to babysit adults who want to smoke. Cigarettes are a legal product. People know the risks when they choose to start using them. Obviously, no one chooses to get addicted to anything, but they do choose to use stuff like cigarettes and illegal drugs. And they can’t get addicted to them without using them.