Are Cell Phones the New Cigarettes?

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Are cell phones "the new cigarettes"? The idea's been brought up before, but now it appears to be gaining steam. This time, it's Maureen Dowd looking at the dangers of cell phones in The New York Times, following a San Francisco Board of Supervisors vote to make "cellphone retailers display radiation levels." Dowd recounts San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's struggle to bring the matter to a vote:

" ... I discovered that companies who make cellphones are already required to disclose that information to the federal government, and that it exists but somewhere on someone’s Web page on the 88th page." Why not underscore it, he thought, by alerting consumers at the store, putting the SAR level in the same font as the phone price?

His alarmed advisers, accustomed to seeing the sleek Newsom diving into bold stands without calculating the potential blowback--as with gay marriage--told him to focus on jobs and the economy ... when the bill passed Tuesday, CTIA issued a petulant statement that after 2010, it would relocate its annual three-day fall exhibition, with 68,000 exhibitors and attendees and "$80 million" in business, away from San Francisco ..."Since our bill is relatively benign," Newsom said, "it begs the question, why did they work so hard and spend so much money to kill it? I’ve become more fearful, not less, because of their reaction ... "

Is the next big fight with big business going to be over cell phones?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.