Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Merchants of Death

It's been a while since I've written about tobacco, but the UN has provided a good occasion with the release of a new report on the eve of No Tobacco Day, which is tomorrow.

Smoking has been in long-term decline in the U.S., although tobacco addiction continues to afflict 15% of the adult population. So the psychopaths who get rich by murdering people have concentrated their efforts abroad -- specifically, they target poor and low-income people in low income countries.

The UN reports that tobacco now kills 7 million people every year. (It killed my father and my grandfather, by the way. In my father's case, starting with a stroke that put him on a decade-long course of dementia and decline.) To quote the press release, that's just for starters:

Tobacco use causes serious disability and significantly increases the risk of a number of additional diseases not immediately linked to it such as tuberculosis.  However, it is the wider economic and development impacts of tobacco that must be better understood.  With the tobacco industry doing all it can to increase tobacco consumption in low- and middle income countries, we must all take action to bring tobacco use to an end,” says Dr. Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, Head of the Convention Secretariat.
Global estimates show that every year tobacco use costs the global economy USD 1.4 trillion, nearly 2 percent of global gross domestic product, but take into consideration only medical expenses and lost productive capacities. In addition to the health and economic consequences for individuals, families and nations, tobacco growing causes up to 5 percent of deforestation worldwide and results in biodiversity loss and soil degradation, as well as water and soil pollution from pesticide use.
“Effective tobacco control through the implementation of the WHO FCTC is essential for development. Saving lives, while growing economies, protecting the environment and providing resources for other sustainable development efforts is exactly the type of win-win action that can help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” says Magdy Martínez-Solimán, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.
We imprison people who are addicted to other drugs, while tobacco company executives make millions. They should be in prison.


Anonymous said...

We imprison people who are addicted to other drugs, while tobacco company executives make millions. They should be in prison.

Mmmmm....NO, they shouldn't. Why? It's a legal product, unlike the "other drugs" you're attempting to conflate it with.

If you wish to stop the deaths, you will have to first make tobacco unlawful to sell and maybe then , to possess.

After *that*, then you can call for their imprisonment.

And I'm up for that.

Calling for tyrannical solutions to the problems you see in society could be worse than the problems you're addressing...

Cervantes said...

That's my point -- if heroin is illegal, so should be tobacco. Actually I don't favor prohibition, but I do favor a ban on marketing. (You don't see advertisements for heroin.)

Anonymous said...

Well, that's a different tone than "They should be in prison".

And I understand your viewpoint.

That being said, there are a lot of issues that seem ripe for a government solution when looked at through the lens of social collectivism. Your earlier motorcycle helmet example is similar to the tobacco example. Both solutions offered up were boot-on-neck government edict with no balance for individual liberty.

Let's all remember that the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, were every one a protection of individual rights from government overreach.

I find it more than ironic that the same people that marched for individual freedom, were part of the free speech movement and all of the other social revolution initiatives of the sixties against "The Man" now have the same tendencies to use government oppression to push agenda at the expense of individual liberty.

Anonymous said...

Original Anonymous:

I'm sorry we share the same name, but I can assure you that we are not related; except, of necessity, quite distantly.

I do, however, see your point about keeping the boot-on-neck government away from our individual liberties.

You just didn't go far enough. We should all have the right to:

- Buy any drug we want to without government interference.

- Move to any country we want to without having to deal with those annoying immigration laws.

- Not be prohibited from driving my ATV across your lawn just because of some boot-on-neck property law.

- Own any weapon we like regardless of its power to devastate. (I've always wanted to see what I could do with a mortar myself.)

Now that would be some real liberty!

(By the way, did you know that the 2nd Amendment was added to the Constitution so that the Southern states would be free to organize their own militias to put down slave rebellions on their own rather than hope that the Federal armed forces would be willing to do it for them? The entire text of that amendment makes a lot more sense when you read it with that in mind.)

Anonymous said...


That's the best performance parody explaining the second amendment I've ever seen.

Good job there, Susie

BTW, your ignorance of gun laws is astounding! Here's a mortar you can legally own in most states that will make your wet dream come true!

Just pay the federal tax with ATF.