Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Today is World No Tobacco Day

That’s right boys and girls, today (May 31) is “World No Tobacco Day” as decreed by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

Through the ratified 1993 treaty Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the UN has tried to impose various regulations such as

  • Price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco
  • Non-price measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, namely:
    • Protection from exposure to tobacco smoke;
    • Regulation of the contents of tobacco products;
    • Regulation of tobacco product disclosures;
    • Packaging and labeling of tobacco products;
    • Education, communication, training and public awareness;
    • Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and,
    • Demand reduction measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation.
  • The core supply reduction provisions in the WHO FCTC are contained in articles 15-17:
    • Illicit trade in tobacco products;
    • Sales to and by minors; and,
    • Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities.

While I am sure we can all agree that selling/marketing to minors is bad, is it really up to the UN to enforce this?  Do we need a commission within the UN (and funded in part by the US) to regulate this?  Do we need the UN mandating higher taxes on something?  Remember, this tax is on top of our Federal and State taxes on tobacco. 

Given the corruption within the WHO (HERE and HERE for starters), I’m not sure I believe their statistics.  In fact, here is a Reuters Article that “Claims”-

  • Smoking could kill 8 million a year by 2030
  • Tobacco could cause up to a billion deaths in the 21st century, a dramatic rise from the 100 million deaths it caused in the previous century
  • Tobacco kills up to half its users
  • "Countries that mandate large graphic pack warnings are not only fulfilling their legal obligations, they are taking a big step forward toward better informing smokers of the deadly harms of tobacco,"
  • Smokers see images on tobacco packs 15 times a day

Really, HALF of the users?  This strikes me as similar fantasy stats as used by MADD.  I’m sorry, but you can make stats say whatever you want, especially when you pull them from your ass.

Case in point – their comment on large graphic pack warnings.  The US has been labeling cigarette packs since 1964.    While the amount of tobacco use has gone down, there is no evidence that it is due to package labeling.  I would call it instead, just overall education….in fact, I would estimate that at least once a year (if not more) we had a week dedicated to it in health class in school.  I can only imagine how much we focus on this today with the kids….to bad we don’t concentrate on other things (reading and math) and allow them to make their own choices (under the advice of parents) as they grow up.

In the end, instead of concentrating almost exclusively in the fight against malaria, which kills one child per minute, as well as AIDS and tuberculosis – diseases that are communicable and can turn into a pandemic, the WHO is focusing on something that is preventable and should be addressed by the individual countries.  If they truly want to prevent this….then they should ban it. 

We know how well that worked with alcohol.

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