All sorts of marketing to children is manipulative and unethical. The response should be straightforward: end all of it. Such prohibitions will not be without complications. There will be enforcement issues. But such complexities can be addressed. For the moment, let's get started. Let's send a strong message to corporate Canada.
W. A. Bogart, B.A., LL.B. LL.M., is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Windsor. He has held several SSHRC and other research grants to support his research and has been a frequent consultant to government and other public bodies regarding legal and related policies. A past member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Law and Society Association, Pro Bono Law Ontario, and the Policy Research Committee of the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, Bogart is now a Member of: the Research Ethics Board of St. Michael’s Hospital, the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, the Advisory Board for the National Self Represented Litigants Project, and the Panel on Research Ethics. He is the author/editor of eight books; Off the Street: Legalizing Drugs (Dundurn, 2016) is his latest.
Non-medical use of prescription opioids is now the fourth most-prevalent form of substance use in Canada; it trails only alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis. Between 2000-02 and 2010-12 Canadians' use of prescription opioids more than tripled. We may now have surpassed Americans to have the highest per capita use of prescription painkillers in the world.
04/26/2017 01:54 EDT
Legalization of all non medical use of drugs is an attainable goal. But confronting the opioid crisis is an urgent and unprecedented call to action. Public health experts and their activist allies are leading the way. Let's not get caught up in complicated and protracted arguments about legalization of all drugs.
03/09/2017 05:12 EST
How effective these measures will be in preventing poisonings and even persuading young ones to stay away from this stuff is a good question. But we won't know the answer unless we try them.
02/07/2017 10:48 EST
Despite criminal prohibition and the prospect of becoming ill or even dying, people still do drugs. So we are faced with a wrenching dilemma: Do we, as a society, take over and regulate the supply and quality of drugs or do we leave these issues to the forces of an unbridled market operating in a dark underworld?
09/19/2016 03:56 EDT
As we urge the move to legalization and regulation, we also need to recognize that Canada has significant issues with drug consumption, both in terms of those that are legal, at present, and those that will become regulated as we shift away from criminalization.
08/17/2016 12:20 EDT
The money raised through those taxes will have more impact if it is used to support prevention and counselling than it will by becoming part of general revenues used for various purposes. Second, the taxes will more likely be supported by the public if they are used for these specific ends.
07/20/2016 10:48 EDT
The War on Drugs has been a failure, and soon enough using drugs will shift from a criminal to a public health issue. But what if we paid people not to engage in harmful consumption? If we rewarded them for stopping damaging use? Couldn't the savings in all manner of costs greatly outweigh the comparatively small expense of any incentive?
06/22/2016 09:45 EDT
Legalization and regulation of marijuana in this country is a virtual certainty. The Prime Minister has promised it and polls enthusiastically support it. The shift away from criminalization is taking...
05/30/2016 01:48 EDT
The War may suffer a slow and prolonged demise, but the end will surely come. Canada can be a leader on these issues. It can steadfastly promote the winding down of the War. Our country should reclaim its position on the international stage, not as a nation of power, but one of humanity.
04/14/2016 02:09 EDT
A study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine addresses an interesting, incremental way to motivate people to butt out: you pay them. In a previous post I've written about both the public and private sector rewarding people for healthy living, including in terms of being more physically active and eating/drinking more nutritiously. Paying people to quit may, at first, seem far fetched. But it is part of a larger movement to implement what are regarded as sound policies without invoking the heavy hand of the state: regulating lite.
05/25/2015 08:05 EDT
Something is happening with the young ones: they are vaping in rapidly increasing numbers. Depending on how you look at kids and their taking to e-cigarettes, two very different views emerge.
05/11/2015 12:23 EDT
There's good news and bad news about smoking. Recent statistics reveal that consumption rates are at record lows and appear to be dropping even further. And, as those rates fall, the menace of second-hand smoke also recedes. But these positive developments come at a time when new evidence warns that cigarettes are even more hazardous than we have thought. So to end smoking and the many costs it imposes on this continent, let alone elsewhere in the world, much remains to be done.
04/19/2015 11:22 EDT
A campaign to advertise healthy foods to youngsters, fruits and vegetables has emerged from the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit. But, in reality, I fear that it may do more harm than good especially if it is taken up in this country. All promotions to children, because of their age and lack of development, can end up manipulating them.
03/24/2015 01:23 EDT
Recently Healthy Eating Research (HER), in the U.S., released a report on food marketing to kids, an issues brief with recommendations. But its recommendations are disappointing. The report does little except tweak the U.S. food industry's voluntary guidelines regarding marketing to children.
03/10/2015 09:05 EDT
Governments and the private sector should engage in more of these experiments, particularly in terms of promoting healthy choices. If incentives work they can save a lot of dollars over time for the health care system etc. Governments need to take the long term view, especially in terms of well being. But that's easier said than done.
02/17/2015 07:10 EST
A recent study in 43 countries concluded that children in schools where tobacco-free policies were firmly enforced were much less likely to smoke. However, anti-smoking lessons in classrooms had little impact on smoking rates. Not a surprise. Educational campaigns seeking to change people's behaviour regarding consumption are notoriously unsuccessful, by themselves, whether in terms of tobacco, alcohol, gambling, drugs, or non-nutritious eating. The claims of education can sometimes be pretty grand.
02/01/2015 11:07 EST
A recent study has tied body mass index (BMI) to pollutants. That investigation suggests that exposure to second hand smoke and roadway traffic may be linked to increased BMI in children and adolescents. Several other studies and reports also raise fears about pollutants and other chemicals and their links to obesity.
01/26/2015 12:41 EST
Obese people, perhaps especially women, face a lot of discrimination. A question that is increasingly asked is whether they should be legally protected from acts of prejudice. Shouldn't people who are obese be judged on their merits with regard to jobs, education, health care etc. and not on their size? As we discuss what should be the legal approach to bias against obese people, let's also change our attitudes. Let's salute nutritious eating/drinking and physical activity for everyone. But let's not allow the size of people to dominate our judgment of them. The Jazzercise instructor had it right: it's time to assess everyone "on my merits, not my measurements".
01/06/2015 12:53 EST
At the same time there is more to obesity than "calories in/calories out." A case in point is a recent study tying body mass index (BMI) to pollutants. That investigation suggests that exposure to second-hand smoke and roadway traffic may be linked to increased BMI in children and adolescents. These studies and reports on pollutants and other chemicals contribute to the movement challenging the causes of obesity as simple caloric explanations. We have much more to learn about the complexities concerning excessive weight gain.
12/21/2014 10:41 EST
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