Amongst Brazilian tobacco farmers, suicide rates are seven times higher then the average suicide rate reported for the rest of the country. These deaths coincide with the seeding and harvesting of tobacco plants. Many of the suicides were suffering from acute neurological imbalances. Organophosphate pesticides can result in psychological depression. Tobacco farmers use this pestercide. Any connection?
The Brazilian Ministry of Health made changes to the pesticide labelling. The new labels for highly dangerous chemicals now resemble those of less toxic products. These changes took place after the agrochemical industry applied pressure on the government. However, most farmers are illiterate and protective clothing and storage facilities are expensive. Chemicals are often stored in a house or dwelling exposing children, pregnant women and the elderly to pesticide poisoning.
The tobacco industry have investigated and patented many technologies that reduce substances in cigarette smoke that cause cancer, heart disease and emphysema. These include ‘Eclipse’, ‘Premier’ – FDA regulated devise could be used to smoke crack, and ‘Accord’ – a specially constructed cigarette and lighter. Most of these devices have been withdrawn or never implemented.
Using advanced biotechnology, tobacco crops have now been engineered and grown to contain higher levels of nicotine. These crops fit the legal definition of a drug. In 1968 Dr David Owen tried to introduce nicotine to the Medicines Act (Pharmaceutical regulations) and proposed that tobacco as such a substance the act should control cigarettes. However the plans were dropped after ministerial reshuffles within the UK government.
This consequently sees cigarettes being exempt from regulations that apply to pharmaceutical nicotine products. There by, tobacco products have a nicotine maintenance monopoly for nicotine addiction.
The death rate to cigarette related diseases in the UK is 120,000 p.a. That is a town the size of Norwich or Chester. In the past 40 years over 5 million people have died from smoking related diseases. That is 12 times more than in World War II.
Smoking related deaths are 6 times higher in the UK than road accidents, murder/manslaughter, poisoning, suicide, overdoses and HIV put together.
To put it into context, cocaine is an illegal class ‘A’ drug and is attributed to 140 deaths in the UK per year. Meanwhile the use of mobile telephones while driving was made illegal in the UK in 2004, 20 deaths in the last 5 years are linked to this practise. You have to ask yourself why can anyone from sixteen year old legally buy cigarettes?
China now has the largest death rate from smoking of any country overtaking the USA. A third of all men will die if current habits persist.
1 million smoking related deaths in China in 2000
2 million smoking related deaths in China forecast by 2025
3 million smoking related deaths in China forecast by 2050 (8000 per day)
Cigarette consumption in China has risen from 100 billion cigarettes in the early 50’s to over 1,800 billion today.
Find more information about smoking in China here.
Worldwide deaths from smoking –
4 million in 2000 – 50/50 between developed and developing countries.
10 million by 2030 – 70% in developing countries.
As litigation and laws surrounding the tobacco industry tighten up in USA and the EU the tobacco industry are shifting production and sales to the new markets of Russia, Poland, Cuba, Mexico, Egypt, India, South America and South Africa. There are little or no laws governing the sale of tobacco in these countries. Pressure on these governments to legislate against tobacco consumption now could save millions of deaths in the future.
If worldwide consumption of cigarettes decreased by half by 2020 25 million premature deaths in the first quarter of the century and 150 million in the second quarter of the century would be avoided.
People who stop smoking live longer, contribute to society for longer, experience improved health, lower the demand on the NHS, reduce the cost to employers in days lost to smoking related illnesses, have more money to spend and create more jobs.
Cigarettes are exempt from most forms of consumer protection because products were already in the market before consumer laws were developed. The extent of harm to consumers by cigarettes cannot reach safety standard requirements as imposed on other products.
Image if you will if you just invented a cigarette and took it onto the popular television show ‘Dragon Den’ How would you present it to the Dragons and what sort of reaction would you think you would get? Watch Dragons Den – Duncan Bannatyne in this Quit video.
Although there have been moves to restrict advertising cigarette brands, introducing health warnings and lowering tar rates in cigarettes, nicotine regulations serve the tobacco industry over public health. Tobacco companies make voluntary concessions rather than legislate. This gives an air of perceived respectability to the industry, although agreements are difficult to monitor, controls are easily evaded and there are no penalties for violations. Health warnings also work in favor of manufacturers in litigation defense cases.
Tobacco companies make a big noise of how most of their litigation cases are overthrown at appeal. The tobacco companies are at a distinct advantage over individuals, companies or evens States, because of their huge cash reserves they can tie the courts up for decades.
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