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Public's interest

September 05, 2008

Re "Carolina city has a date with digital TV history,"

Sept. 3

So the federal government is making an all-out effort to make sure that every television viewer in Wilmington, N.C., is aware of the upcoming switch to digital TV. Each household in the city will be entitled to two $40 coupons to buy digital converter boxes.

Imagine if the same public-awareness effort were expended on preventive services that affect health. Federal staffers could visit events in every county and offer parents two $40 coupons to take their children for immunizations. They could refer smokers who want to quit to a counseling program with a coupon for a nicotine patch or gum. They could hand out coupons for generic aspirin to inform adults about the benefit of taking one a day to prevent heart disease. Forty dollars could buy nearly a year's worth of generic aspirin for 10 people.

But these public-service efforts would only improve health and save lives, not preserve viewers for TV advertising. Unfortunately, this is just one illustration of our nation's priorities.

Jeanne T. Black

Culver City

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