They Can't Stop, So We Have to Make Them


Yesterday the National Institute on Drug Abuse announced that it will no longer hold conferences in cities without "a comprehensive smoke-free policy, unless specific circumstances justify an exemption." NIDA Director Nora Volkow explains:

Most smokers use tobacco regularly because they are addicted to nicotine. Addiction is characterized by compulsive use, even in the face of negative health consequences. Reducing such exposure will not only improve public health but may also facilitate quit attempts by those addicted to tobacco, benefiting their health as well.

The same day NIDA announced its new policy, Volkow was at an anti-smoking conference in New York, where she asserted that once a smoker is hooked on nicotine, the act of lighting up a cigarette and inhaling smoke from it is "no longer voluntary behavior." If so, how can smokers be expected to quit in response to smoking bans? I'm confused. Or maybe Volkow is.

[Thanks to Tom Angell for the tip.]