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By endorsing the use of a vaccine that makes the experience of puffing on a cigarette deeply distasteful, Lieber and Millum have taken the first few tentative steps into a future filled with medical interventions that manipulate individual preferences. It is tempting to embrace the careful arguments of “Preventing Sin” and celebrate the possibility that the profound individual and social costs of smoking will finally be tamed. Yet there is something unsettling about the possibility that parental discretion may be on the cusp of a radical expansion, one that involves a new and unexplored approach to behavior modification.


Medical ethics, Vaccine, vaccination, Sarah R. Leiber, Joseph Millumethics, smoking, behavior modification, parental control, medical coercion, medical manipulation of children’s choices, self-destructive decisions

Publication Title

Hastings Center Report

Publication Citation

43:3 Hastings Center Report 34-35 (May/June 2013).