Today is the  first day of Quebec-Tobacco-Free Week.  As of now fewer Quebeckers are trying to quit smoking.  And get this:  28 Quebeckers a day die from smoking.

Now consider the world scene: six  trillion cigarettes are sold a year  – an all-time high.  Six  million people die each year from smoking – more than from AIDS, malaria and traffic accidents combined.

Professor Robert Proctor is coming out with a new book in which he advocates banning cigarettes.  Education he says is not enough.  “Tobacco control policy too often centres on educating the public, when it should be focused on fixing or eliminating the product.

Professor Proctor wants two things to ha ppen right away: the nicotine in cigarettes should be limited to a level at which they would cease to be addictive.  Smokers who want to quit would find it easier to do so.

Secondly, regulators should require that cigarette smoke be more alkaline, making it less easily inhaled and harder for it to reach the lungs.

As Professor Proctor says not guns or bombs are the deadliest artefacts in history.  If we want to save  lives and improve health nothing else readily achievable would be as effective as an international BAN on their sale.

Second  hand cigarette smoke hurts those who don’t smoke.

A ban on cigarettes would not be like Prohibition.  After all, millions would be delighted to get off the weed.

This week Quebec’s union workers are being urged every time they come across a smoker, they will do a quick intervention, just three or four minutes long.

Would you intervene with a friend or acqaintance to stop smoking?

Should cigarettes be banned?


  1. 1

    At a time when the Liberal party is talking about legalizing Marajuana, it wouldn’t make sense to ban cigarettes. It would only become another substance that would be controlled by the underworld.
    I have tried to encourage friends to stop smoking, but it’s like talking to a wall. They’ll stop when they’re ready. If $10. a package, a day x’s 2 smokers, isn’t enough of an incentive, nothing else is.

  2. 2

    All banning stuff does is enrich the black marketeers. Changing what’s in them sounds like a reasonable idea, provided they still are enough like “cigarettes” to satisfy smokers.

  3. 3
    Neil McKenty Says:

    The idea that there is a comparison between prohibiting booze and prohibiting cigarettes may be a false one. After all, millions of smokers would actually like to see cigarettes banned because, like President Obama, they really want to qit.

  4. 4

    “They” say they would like cigarettes banned, thinking that would make them quit. Nothing can make them quit except their own resolve. They’d be rolling, buying on the reserves, or buying contraband.
    I would like to see sugar banned! 🙂

  5. 5

    patti,like you , I `ve tried talking to smokers , and have nothing to show for it. They need some sort of revelation,like coughing up blood to drive it home. But even then, we`ve all seen these desperados lined up outside hospitals,with a oxygen tank trailing, getting their fix.

    Ban sugar, would you… There will be blood, my lady..

  6. 6
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    7 billion people on the planet and only 6 million die each year due to cigarettes? Not nearly enough! We need to cull the herd by encouraging MORE smoking.

    Just don’t do it near me; I can’t stand second-hand smoke.

  7. 7
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    On a more serious note: Swedish men have the lowest smoking rate in Europe because they have a smokeless tobacco alternative available in Sweden called snus which is banned in Canada. One third of Swedish men quit smoking due to snus which research suggests has a 98% reduction in cancer risk over cigarettes.

  8. 8

    I have heard of someone I know selling SNUS on the internet and making a living on it. Is that the little device that they puff on?

  9. 9
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    No, littlepatti, snus is a tiny pouch of tobacco one places between cheek and gum. Unlike chewing tobacco or snuff, it is spitless.


  10. 10
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Jan, I wonder which Canadian gvernment body banned snus and why?

  11. 11
    Barbara Says:

    I think there is a connection to mouth cancer with snus.

  12. 12
    Barbara Says:

    OOPS. I watched the 60 Minutes video and, apparently, there is little or no connection between snus and mouth cancer according to that Swedish scientist. I find it hard to believe, though, that putting a drug into your mouth like that is totally harmless. I guess less harmful is a step forward.

  13. @Jan Morgan

    I dunno. My daughter ad her partner tried to quit using those “electronic cigarettes”…but she complained the “hit” off them wasn’t enough!

  14. 14

    No. No. No. No. NO!

    Banning does not work. You would only create an underground, and make it a criminal act. If you want to create yet another category of criminal,. go ahead. But don’t say you haven’t been warned.

    On the other hand, reducing the amount of nicotine is a good idea. Making it more alkaline is not.

    And anyone who tries an intervention on a smoker deserves the pounding he’s likely to get. And even though I do not smoke, I would side with the smoker. For your own safety, please mind your own business…

    And I don’t believe that second-hand-smoke is any more unhealthy than second-hand car exhaust or factory effluvia.

  15. 15

    Lady Janus: You may be right about second-hand smoke not being any worse than car exhaust. However, that doesn’t mean that being in the presense of second-hand smoke isn’t an altogether unpleasant experience.

    As a society, we’ve done a few things in our “culture” over the past few decades that has really improved our quality of life.

    One is the ban on smoking in restaurants, public places, airplanes, and offices. What a relief it is to be in smoke-free environments virtually all the time now. I remember how back even in the late ’80s one couldn’t go to a restaurant — even in the non-smoking areas! — and not have to worry about having your $25.00 meal ruined from creeping cigarette smoke.

    The other is dog poop and the laws requiring picking up after your dog. Do you remember how horrible it was to walk down any sidewalk in any municipal area and having to navigate your way around dog shit? Montreal was bad enough but New York City was the worst! You literally had to walk with head bowed to make sure you didn’t “step in it”. And no matter how hard you tried, you’d always step in it a few times a year and have to go through the ugly experience of having to clean off the soles of your shoes.

    Well, no more! And isn’t it wonderful?

    Personal note to Lady Janus: bad news. Remember that sushi bar we had lunch at? The place with the great prices? Well, they closed down. I was told by them it was for renovation — which I hope is the case — but I suspect they are closed down for good. I hope I am proven wrong and that they reopen in a few months with the same wonderful $5.95 special for 18 pieces of sushi maki, miso soup, and endless green tea!

  16. 16

    Tony, I’m one of those folks that doesn’t mind the smell of cigarette smoke. Or reefer, either, for that matter. Dog shit, on the other hand, definitely does NOT belong on the bottom of my shoe! 😉

    Really sorry to hear that the sushi place is closed, even temporarily — and I do hope it’s just temporary; I haven’t had a chance to get back there, yet! On the other hand, I kept wondering how they managed to stay in business with such low prices…

  17. 17

    Lady Janus:

    In the meantime, I have discovered other wonderful sushi places. I have also discovered an Ethiopean restaurant that I love. Next to sushi, Ethiopean cuisine is my favourite! Although they offer meat dishes, their vegetarian dishes are so tasty and complete that one doesn’t have to order meat to enjoy.

    We should try it some time!

  18. 18

    My current favorite Ethipian restaurant in Vancouver is Axum, on East Hastings at Clark. The owner/cook used to manage/cook at Harambe, which is my second favorite place, now that she has moved on to her own kitchen…I do love the saturated spices in Ethiopian food! And the coffee…oh! my! the COFFEE!

    In other words, name a time… 😆

  19. 19
    Jim Says:

    Tony – I warned you about going to dinner with a certain person. You can get her all decked out and take her to your favourite suchi joint, but only once. After that they will close the place down. It seems that she was shouting at the customers “No. No. No. No. NO! The owner, “One Hung Low”, apprised me of the situation.

  20. 20

    Neil says: 28 people die DAILY in Quebec from smoke related causes! 28!!! Daily!!! That number finally sank in. That is just horrendous.
    I don’t think we’ll solve this dillema in this generation.
    I have found that it is such a questionable social behaviour, but it will take time to be done with it.
    I watch those old movies like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Everyone is smoking & drinking! That’s what we grew up with… thinking that was cool.
    I’m an ex-smoker-15 years, and I sneeze when I smell smoke on peoples clothes as they walk by. I am certainly convinced that all exhaust is carcinogenic. Including cigarette smoke.

  21. 21

    Reblogged this on Exchange and commented:

    A blog posting which got a big response!

  22. 22

    I would not support banning cigarette sales, but I would support regulating nicotine levels and alkaline levels as a means of making them less addictive and harmful. Smokers should be given every support they need to quit. Banning cigarettes, on the other hand, is likely to be about as effective as banning pot.

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