SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT CURB SMOKING?

Health Canada says smoking in Canada has dropped to a record low.  About 17 per cent of Canadians (4.8 million) continue to smoke.

Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer society applauds the government for its policy of controlling smoking. He says the policy should be continued and strengthened.  He supports a new measure that would see cigarette packages have larger picture warnings.

Cunningham says, ‘We can continue to drive smoking rates down further.  We need to  keep at it.”

But smoking is a life-style choice.  Should the government be involved at all?

Before you answer in the negative, consider these points.  The results of smoking cost millions in health costs thus adding to the burden of Canadian taxpayers.  In addition, smoking costs millions more in the workplace.

Should the government curb smoking?

What do you think?

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11 Comments »

  1. 1

    ” Should the government curb smoking”?
    That statement sounds confrontational.

    But yes, the Government should use resources within their power to encourage people to stop smoking.
    .Continue to raise the price.
    .Offer free patches, gum etc.
    .Offer financial incentives/tax breaks
    .Run more campaigns showing the down sides.
    Make every effort to keep the statistics going down.

    It’s becoming such an anti-social behaviour (except among teens). So often, it seems to be the poorer people who smoke.
    How can they afford that? Why are efforts not getting through to that segment of the population?
    Recently, I saw an interview: Women doing a community kitchen, to save money & learn to make healthy food. They were smoking! The astray was full!
    In the US, I saw a woman trying to buy cigarettes with her food stamps.
    It’s a frightful addiction. I know.

  2. 2
    Neil McKenty Says:

    littlepatti,

    A frighful addiction indeed. I had a terrible time stopping 35 years ago.

    One reason poorer people may smoke is that they have so few ways to relax. I hesitate to give money to a panhandler who is smoking. Should I?

  3. 3

    I have been smoke free for 14 years and it’s one of my proudest accomplishments.
    We calculate $50,000. saved. We would be smoking one of our pension checks a month. We feel great, (smell good) and have fun!

    I don’t usually give money to pan handlers.
    I keep a few hygiene kits, or a toque, or gloves, in the car to pass out if I’m stopped at a corner.
    Maybe a gift card for a coffee or a muffin is a better idea than money.
    Of course they may sell or trade it for cigarettes, but the act of charity & kindness does mean something to them and you never know…

  4. 4
    youngshoutman Says:

    I (aged 14) have never smoked anything and plan not to do so, but am surrounded by good friends that do (including drugs) I tell them they should not but it’s not that easy, but to get to the point I think that the government should crack down on the places where my friends get their cigarettes (DEPANNEURS) I wouldn’t know how to do so but i’m sure the think that our think tanks could come up with something for if you start young then it would be even harder to stop.And it’s not just a lifestyle choice, their parents smoke so could be influencial, and it is considered cool by your friends to do so (unless you’re me), and if you are poor then it should be made obvious how expensive it is but maybe I don’t have the experience to judge others.

  5. 5

    The libertarian in me says that the government should “butt out” (pun intended) when it comes to telling us what to do regarding our smoking habits because it is, as you say, Neil, a life-style choice.

    But as a society we have decided that the government is to be our Big Daddy when it comes to health care (our universal health care system pays for almost everything). So the state does have an interest in seeing that costs are kept down and discouraging cigarette use is probably a very cost effective way of doing that. Kinda the same with wearing seat belts: it is a life-style choice yet an accident that causes 10s of thousands of dollars in hospital bills is a cost born by us all, so there is a state interest in having seatbelt laws.

    On a related topic: there is a product which is very popular in Sweden called “snus”, which are little pockets of snuff-like tobacco that the user inserts into his mouth between the upper lip and gum. It gives a nicotine “hit” that satisfies, apparently, without about 98% of the ill effects (allegedly)…and no second-hand smoke (one can do it anywhere and anyplace). Apparently, 1/3rd of all Swedish men “snus” (I guess it’s also a verb), many of whom have used it to wean themselves off cigarettes. Swedish men have the lowest smoking rates in all of Europe and many feel that snus is responsible.

    Well, selling snus is illegal in Canada. I’d like to know why. It’s not the perfect alternative (not using any tobacco product is) but it seems to me to be a much better than cigarettes. Why not give Canadians a choice of what seems to me to be the lesser of two evils?

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snus#Health_consequences

  6. 6
    Neil McKenty Says:

    youngshoutman,

    You have enough experience to know that it does not make much sense to start smoking. That’s a great first step.

  7. 7

    I read a SF short story a long ( very long) time ago, titiled With Folded Hands. The premise was that after mankind had come close to annihilating itself in some nuclear exchange,some alien creatures came and basically locked us up for our own good,with nothing to do but contemplate the error of our ways,and sit with folded hands.

    I never smoked,watch my weight and all the rest of it , but I deeply resent the government telling me how to run my life. Now they`re deciding to tax snacks,or what they term unhealthy foods. This is a whole new field of possibilities.

    They`re also moving against teaching kids religion in subsidised day-cares,which is plain meddling. In short,the government needs no encouragement to pry into our lives. Sorry,but smoking is an individual choice,however costly.

  8. 8

    The government is also ‘meddling’ in food service in schools. It’s had a positive effect. Kids are tasting salads, and learning about calories and trans fats. (Things we used to learn in home Ec.) I’m in favour of some meddling by government, where health is concerned.
    Now maybe they can find a pill to curb “stupid”, Present company excepted.

  9. 9

    They should spend five minutes every month-it doesn`t matter when,as long as they tell me-five minutes when they mind their own business

  10. 10

    Now there’s a plan! But, “if you give them an inch they’ll take a mile.”

  11. 11
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    Neil, I agree with you. I never give money to a panhandler that smokes.
    Some people say that addiction is an illness but I am not sure about that. My ex husband stopped cold turkey. I am afraid I nagged him about it. I am sure his lungs are very thankful for that. And he does not smoke to this day.
    We spend lots of money on health care for problems with smokers.
    Just recently I saw for the first time how a pack of cigarettes looks today. It looks scary and I cannot understand that it would not scare any smoker. And I also recently found out how much they cost these days.
    Longshoutman
    you are a very thoughtful young man and I hope that your friends respect you for your decision not to smoke


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