Smoke and glamor

If we really wanted smoking cessation, or at least a dramatic reduction, we could achieve it ("Pa. to get back $120M in tobacco ruling," April 11). Jurisdictions that enjoy the revenue from smokers, however, are not about to turn off the spigot. That's why so many well-touted efforts are no more than smoke screens (pun intended). I was a three-pack-a-day smoker. If we are serious about the health effects of smoking, there is only one way: Cut out blatant promotion of smoking in movies and on TV. The all-time classic movie smoking scene remains Sharon Stone in that short white dress, lighting her cigarette and taunting police. If we don't want kids to smoke, we will have to counter such masterful advertising.

John R. Powers, Alexandria, Va., jrpowersjr@hotmail.com

Worth the price

Judging by the article on Medicare data, you might think doctors are somehow trying to soak the health-care system by choosing an expensive medication rather than the cheaper alternative ("A trove of data on doctors," April 11). Instead, we should be asking why a treatment that preserves patients' vision, and requires a doctor to have the skill and dexterity to inject medication into the eye, is worth less than $50 in Medicare reimbursement. It's not too clichéd to point out that most people spend far more for their cable and cellphone services. Consumers are paying for a doctor's knowledge, judgment, and experience. Otherwise, they could just order Ophthalmology for Dummies and do it themselves. If consumers knew how poorly physicians were reimbursed by Medicare and many other insurance companies, it would put the whole greedy-doctor misconception to rest.

Kathy Donnelly, Upper Darby, kad1120@yahoo.com

Not Lonegan again

During his disastrous runs for office over the past decade, First District congressional candidate Steve Lonegan has managed to offend just about every group in New Jersey. He's alienated long-standing, loyal Republicans like me who are repulsed by his mean-spirited politics. Lonegan's extreme views and toxic rhetoric are precisely what are driving people away from our party and costing us election after election. He will never get my support.

Darin J. Thorn, Evesham

Self-contradictory

Arthur Brooks claims conservatives will achieve social justice through education reform, yet House Republicans voted for Paul Ryan's budget - which would scale back grants needed to blunt rapidly rising college costs ("Social justice helps restore opportunity," April 13). Brooks wrote that conservatives would empower Americans to match their passions and skills with personal and career goals, yet without Obamacare (which the GOP opposes), workers would be discouraged from starting businesses and tied to unwanted jobs by employer-provided health insurance.

Michael Frank, Doylestown, mfrankplanner@gmail.com

To serve and honor

As a kid, we had Wawa delivery to our door. Today, I always stop at Wawa stores because I know they will be neat, clean, and an easy in-and-out. But with Wawa pumping 1.7 billion gallons of gas a year, one would wish for a better break on price. And as a Vietnam Veteran, I wish each store could have a flag pole and fly Old Glory.

Rich DiMarcello, Royersford, rjdimar@aol.com

Power play

It defies all business logic to assume that individuals can obtain lower prices than an entity purchasing power for an entire metropolitan area ("Electric shopping barred for low-income," April 1). A few large power users can make meaningful deals. The rest of us are out in the cold.

Richard Rohr, Broomall, rrohr1@verizon.net