Every 11.5 minutes in Canada a bell tolls. It’s not ringing in celebration. It tolls to announce another Canadian has died. Over 45000 a year, at an estimated 6.5 billion dollars a year in direct health costs.
More than the Opioid Crisis. More than auto accidents. In fact, more Canadians die from smoking-related causes every year than the number of Canadian Military deaths in World War 2 (1939-1947). About 1000 more.
Since the Royal College of Physicians in the UK published their landmark report “Smoking and Health” in 1962 (a document that would form a cornerstone for modern anti-smoking organisations and government tobacco control), the message has been simple; “Quit or Die”.
That’s it. Either stop smoking, or get emphysema, or cancer, or cardiovascular disease and die. For 50 years that has been the message, and the justification for increasing levels of taxation, educational pressure tactics, social pressure tactics, societal pressure tactics, and scare tactics, and it worked well for a while. In 1965 roughly 50% of the Canadian population smoked, and by 2015 we were down to just below 15%.
Every time the law of diminishing returns would kick in, taxes would go up, new graphic images and warnings would go on cigarette packages, smokers would be pushed not only outside, but at increasing distances from doors and air intakes, the warnings and statements of harm to self and others got stronger, more dire, more militant.
We forgot that in any addicted population there is a scale of entrapment that spans from those who can quit with seemingly relative ease, through those who require effort of varying degrees, to those who can’t or won’t quit with existing intervention measures.
We forgot that smokers react to pressure, stress, shame, and fear, by smoking.
We forgot that the war is on the harm caused by smoking and started waging war on smokers. For their own good of course.
What if you were told that it doesn’t have to be that way?
Thomas Kirsop – Morinville News – March 18, 2019.