Restrictions implemented in Australia have resulted in no meaningful decrease in already downwardly trending tobacco consumption rates -- and virtually no impact whatsoever in youth consumption rates in particular. Can Canada expect plain packaging regulation to offer any real improvements to smoking rates?
It is important to know that unlike other types of cancers, lung cancer doesn't show symptoms until in much later stages. This means that by the time an individual begins to notice changes to his or her health, the cancer has significantly advanced, often making treatment more complex. However, there is still hope.
For 24 years I was a smoker. That's nearly a quarter century of inhaling smoke into lungs that are probably black by now. But I loved it. I'd start the day with a smoke and a coffee, and I'd have that last cigarette at the end of my day. When my partner and I were expecting our first-born, I finally made the decision that I was ready to stop.
The Making Healthier Choices Act -- true Orwellian doublespeak -- treats vaping as if it was as harmful as smoking. This imaginative warping of the facts requires the province to ignore the growing scientific evidence that whether inhaled directly or second-hand, vaping has not been strongly associated with the negative health effects of inhaling combusted tobacco products.
Since 2009, Health Canada has taken the position that e-cigarettes containing nicotine are illegal. But out on the streets, Health Canada is simply being ignored. There's a brisk trade in vaping supplies including nicotine. Much of the new legislation might be found unconstitutional if challenged in the courts. Nicotine addicts who still use tobacco as a delivery method are suffering harm to their health that now appears to be quite unnecessary.
Beyond the war of statistics, the principles of liberty and personal responsibility must be brought back to the heart of discussions about tobacco consumption, or consumption of any other product deemed "harmful" to one's health. You don't need to be a radical libertarian to start to ask some serious questions regarding the tendency of certain groups to want to regiment all aspects of people's lives under the pretext of protecting their health.
There are many factors we can't control that affect our cancer risk, like growing older, our genetic profile and having a family history of the disease. But the good news is that there is a lot we can control. It's as simple as making healthy choices every day and having policies in place that protect our health. Here are the top 10 ways to lower your risk of cancer.
The case of Quebec provides a cautionary tale, as the prevalence of tobacco use has hovered around 24 per cent since 2003 despite a doubling of the price of cigarettes. And to the extent that tobacco taxes do reduce consumption, they can end up reducing total tax receipts, thus working against the competing and contradictory government objective of raising revenue.
The tendency for governments to increasingly regulate the advertising industry, whether in the name of consumer protection or for health concerns, is already on full throttle. After cigarette packs, don't be surprised if sooner or later you see plain bags of chips on the shelves of convenience stores, or plain-packaged chocolate bars. Politicians stand on a steep, slippery slope that could lead to private property and intellectual property violations, and destruction of brands. The economic consequences should be weighted carefully. And such policies backed by solid empirical data, not merely good intentions.
It is true that smoking is a major public health concern, and one might be tempted to say that the change in behaviour is desirable, whatever the effect on government revenue. Again, Laffer tells us that things are more complicated than it seems. While it is true that some people are deterred from smoking by tax increases, this is not the case of all smokers.
Those approaches, for unhealthy eating in particular, can be a real challenge, because they bang hard against the reactor core of our economic system -- consumption. Consumption and lots of it. Like tobacco, the fight for healthy eating will challenge the heart of what companies do: sell as much as they can.
The pain and terror that seem, for those first few days, like everything -- seen, smelled, tasted, heard, felt -- will be replaced by a longing similar to the kind one feels towards an old paramour. It is even possible that you will be capable of returning to the warm arms of the infrequent cigarette at some distant speck in the future without drowning again in the compulsion.
Tobacco is much more than money for Canada's Mohawk people -- it's a source of economic independence, a non-handout form of income that goes well with aspirations of independence and self-reliance. And these are good and necessary goals. Yes, it's also been deemed illegal and is likely going to draw the communities into a collision with the federal government, but in the meantime tobacco is a desperately-needed investment in the community. Until we discover oil or invent a better iPad (and I hope we do both), tobacco is the best we've got. We're beginning to make some real money through entrepreneurship, and if it takes cigarettes and gambling in the beginning, so be it.
This is precisely what happened in Canada in the early 1990s. Indeed, following a steep increase in duties and taxes applicable to tobacco products by the federal government and the provinces, a vast illegal trade in cigarettes sprang up. Contraband's share in the Canadian tobacco market jumped from 1 per cent in 1987 to approximately 31 per cent by the end of 1993.
Ever since launching our project to put climate change warning labels on gas pumps, people have frequently told me, "My friend still smokes, so warning labels don't work." They draw a very general conclusion from a very particular example. First, if you want to learn about the effectiveness of tobacco warning labels, you need to look at the studies. Second, if want to learn about the potential impact of our warning labels, you need to look at human psychology and the nature of climate change.