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The death of John Britton at age 88 proves that cigarette smoking is good for you and increases longevity. Either that, or he’d made a pact with the Devil (and the tobacco industry, for whom he lobbied very effectively in the State Capitol in Jefferson City for many years).
Even without Britton, the tobacco lobby remains very influential and I don’t expect any good state smoke-free air bill being introduced anytime soon.
I’ve featured Britton before and it’s worth revisiting this earlier blog, posted on August 31, 2009:
Columnist Bill McClellan on tobacco lobbyist John Britton, aka “Mayor of Jefferson City”
The obituary by reporter Michael D. Sorkin in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch is here:
Lobbyist John Britton dies after a half-century as one of the most powerful people in Missouri
The first two paragraphs sum Britton up well, although the full story contains interesting details of which I was formerly unaware, like his military service and education:
John Britton was a recovering alcoholic known for being ready with a case of beer for legislators in Jefferson City. In addition to being the lobbyist for the world’s largest brewery, he was the chain-smoking representative for the tobacco industry.
With his influence, the beer industry routinely stopped the state from raising taxes on its products. The tobacco companies regularly beat back every effort by the state to restrict smoking in public places.