Politics
Rep.-elect Tom Cotton from Arkansas (TheDC Video) Rep.-elect Tom Cotton from Arkansas (TheDC Video)  

Tom Cotton demanded Harvard ban cigarettes in 1997

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

Arkansas Republican Rep. Tom Cotton pushed for a campus-wide bad on cigarette smoking in Harvard in 1997.

That could be a political problem for the ambitious pol, who is expected on Monday to announce a run for the Senate.

It’s a problem because Arkansas voters don’t want to take dictation from Washington D.C., and because 22 percent of Arkansas adults are smokers, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Smoking is addictive, harmful and annoying… Smoking is wrong because it enslaves and destroys the body,” wrote the 20 year-old student, who subsequently served in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005 to 2009.

He was elected to Congress in 2012.

“Quit equivocating on our smoking policy and take the hard line. Harvard should not allow smoking anywhere on its property,” Cotton wrote in the April 9, 1997 edition of the Harvard’s Crimson newspaper.

“Harvard, acting in loco parentis, should make this judgment,” he said in the article, which was titled “Ban Cigarettes in Toto.”

“It should forbid smoking by all individuals on Harvard property, for their own sake and for the sake of those around them. If students or employees want to smoke, they can go to public property. If this is too inconvenient, maybe they will break a destructive habit.”

The Crimson’s site does not record any dissent against Cotton’s anti-smoking screed among Harvard’s student body.

Cotton is expected to announced Monday if he’ll run for the Senate seat held by endangered Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor.

The Democrat is expected to have a tough race, partly because the state leans strongly Republican, but also because Pryor voted for the Senate’s immigration bill that would add roughly 46 million immigrants to the country by 2033. Most of those immigrants would be low-skilled, and so would likely increase the supply — and then reduce the wages — paid to low-skill blue-collar, cigarette-smoking American workers.

Follow Neil on Twitter