Friday, January 29, 2010

Andrei Another self apponted spokesman for what New Zealanders want

I hate single issue fanatics, especially when papers like the Herald give them column space.

Todays Herald has one Dr George Thomson, from Otago University, Wellington, calling on the Government to take action over smoking - based upon an article he has published in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
"There's now a need for politicians to embrace and act on the idea of a foreseeable and planned end to tobacco sales through a predicable timetable by 2020. The public wants more defined action to reduce smoking, and not a series of incremental steps."
In other words more bans. Well I'm "the public" and I don't want more bans.

The rationale behind all of this is based upon statistics the good Dr Thompson is bandying about.

According to him
About 21 per cent of New Zealanders smoked, causing more than 4000 deaths a year and $1.5 billion in health costs.
.Well apart from the fact I doubt these numbers are well founded the sad reality is about twenty-eight thousand New Zealanders die per annum - so 14% of all deaths are caused by smoking - yeah right.

Smoking does lead to premature death in some individuals of that there is no doubt whatsoever but this does not place an additional burdon on the health system, on the contrary it helps reduce that burden since a smoker who dies at sixty-five say will not require hip replacements at seventy-five and years of intensive care from eighty-five until death from Alzheimer's disease. And everyone dies and the vast majority consume some health resources as they do.

In any case politicians wont go for this - tobacco taxes generate over a Billion dollars in revenue each year.

How we reduce the incidence of smoking in the community is a good question but Government bans are not the answer.

5 comment(s):

Lucia Maria said...

I agree.

And, my Dad died of smoking related lung cancer when he was aged 65/66 (he never really knew how old he was exactly).

KG said...

I'm always amused when the purse-lipped zealots carry on about how much my habit "costs the taxpayer".
Funny, they never use the same argument about some obese beneficiary getting a stomach-stapling operation..

leftrightout said...

"so 14% of all deaths are caused by smoking "

What's the % of deaths caused by marijuana? Are you goung to join the campaign to legalise it? Or are you just pissed because tobacco is your drug of choice?

KG, can you please quantify how many obese beneficiaries are getting taxpayer funded stomach staples?

Andrei said...

Leftrightout my friend, Tobacco has a history of five hundred years use in the Western World.

Clearly if it had just been discovered we would not allow its sale but given its long role in our culture it will require a cultural shift to remove it and doing this by legislation will just introduce a lot more problems than it will solve.

The exact same arguments apply to alcohol which has an even longer pedigree going back to the stone age perhaps.

Marijuana on the other hand does not have the same cultural pedigree and therefore keeping it illicit will not allow it to gain that history.

In any case there is no way tobacco accounts for 14% of the deaths in New Zealand - that is just hyperbole and intellectually dishonest which is an anathema to me.

My father a heavy smoker also died at sixty-five - of bone cancer nothing to do with smoking as far as anyone can tell and it is highly unlikely that there is any correlation.

If we want to eliminate tobacco use from our society lying about it and making laws based on faulty premises is exactly the wrong way to go about it.

We all lose if legislation is made this way.

KG said...

"KG, can you please quantify how many obese beneficiaries are getting taxpayer funded stomach staples?"

I don't need to leftrightout--I was talking about an attitude, not a quantity.

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