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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Infelicities in Tobacco Op-Ed

I strongly support the position of Representative Kaprielian and the Rev. Hamilton on increasing the tobacco tax but some of the language they used in their opinion piece puzzled me (Benefits of a Higher Cigarette Tax, Boston Globe, April 10, 2008).

They say; "Its wrath results in great personal, physical, societal, and fiscal cost." It is not at all clear what the initial "Its" refers to. The nearest noun of any substance is plural:"tobacco-related illnesses ." The nearest singular noun "Cigarette smoking " is two sentences away. And why "wrath?" Is that the correct noun in this context? Maybe, invoking the grim reaper they meant, swath; or perhaps they thought cigarette smoking should bring down the wrath of God on the hapless smoker.

Surely staffers on Beacon Hill or Editors at the Globe should have smoothed this awkward, barely comprehensible sentence.
Sent to Boston Globe

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