Thousands of New Jerseyans will die this year due to tobacco-related illness, yet not a penny of nearly $5 billion generated over the past five years in state cigarette taxes has been allocated for tobacco cessation and prevention efforts. New Jersey is the only state that spends so little on this. Given its population, the state should spend $119.8 million a year on antismoking initiatives, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's why tobacco-control advocates throughout the state are urging Gov. Christie to allocate $12 million in the coming fiscal year. These may be tough economic times, but tobacco use costs the state vasts sums for health care. Spending on tobacco control should be made a priority so more smokers can be helped to quit, reversing Jersey's grim statistics.
Nicole Bodnar, Sewell
In his interview with President Obama broadcast on Super Bowl Sunday, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly probably knew Obama would not honestly answer questions concerning the health-care law, the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, and claims that the IRS targeted conservative groups ("Tweeters have fun with boring Super Bowl," Feb. 4). Obama was a master in his responses, skirting questions, and I didn't think he gave O'Reilly truthful answers. Like two prizefighters, the men verbally jabbed at each other, with neither one coming out the winner. This same scenario has happened before, and, if Obama grants O'Reilly another interview, it will happen again.
David M. Levin, Vineland
For whom the calls
A recent letter writer wisely urged readers to stay in touch with friends as they age ("Not too late to call," Jan. 29). In my book on end-of-life planning, Between Now and Then, I included a form titled "people to call." It's designed for the specific purpose of making it simple for acquaintances to be alerted if you become ill or are injured, or at the time of your death. The form requires only names, contact information, and your relationship to each person. Completing such a list would be a gift to your loved ones.
Jeanne C. Hoff, Jeffersonville, email@example.com
In November 2012, my son Reuben Mitchell lost his life in Philadelphia when the driver of a car made a U-turn and collided with his motorcycle as he rode to work. The driver walked away with only a ticket. My son, who never abused drugs or drank alcohol in his life, as far as I know, was drug-tested by the medical examiner's office - which, I found out, is routine when someone dies in a road accident. However, an assistant district attorney informed me that the driver was not drug-tested and that state law didn't require it, even in a fatal accident. I think this is so wrong. It makes me wonder what value Pennsylvania places on each life. We've never laid eyes on the individual whose car killed my son, nor has that person even made a phone call to say she was sorry.
Bettie T. Mitchell, Havelock, N.C., firstname.lastname@example.org
District Attorney Seth Williams is wrong to oppose Debo Adegbile's nomination to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division due to his involvement in a legal challenge to Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence, and he is out of line with Philadelphia tradition ("Toomey and Williams oppose Justice nominee," Feb. 4). In the 1950s, when the government prosecuted members of the Communist Party, lawyers fled from the role of advocate except in Philadelphia. Here, the head of the bar association recruited a group of young lawyers who would subsequently become a "who's who" of the legal community, led by the bar vice chancellor, Thomas D. McBride. It is wrong to condemn lawyers for honoring a tradition of representing the unpopular, or to say that doing so will limit their right to serve in our government. Doing so chills lawyers from being advocates and is the wrong message from a legal community leader.