In recent months, much has been written about the potentially harmful health effects of seemingly harmless household products such as Vegemite, Listerine and chocolate.
Chocolate, it appears, is very high in saturated fats, Vegemite; too high in salt, and Listerine, wait for it, can give you throat cancer.
The extensive media coverage of these ‘issues’ compelled the manufacturers of Listerine to take out full-page advertisments in the national press re-asserting the product’s health benefits, and more recently Coca-Cola has been compelled by the Food watchdog to take the same action by way of apologising for mis-leading the public regarding their product’s sugar content.
Now it might just be me, but I really don’t need a Government watchdog to insist that Coca-Cola spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to tell me that their product contains sugar.
Consider the following scenario.
Imagine, if tomorrow I decide to launch a product which has no health benefits whatsoever, contains a multitude of toxic chemicals, is designed to be inhaled by the consumer, contains a highly addictive substance and is more than likely to kill the consumer after regular usage.
Wouldn’t someone along the way insist that the product be removed from the shelves until such time as these adverse claims could be categorically disproven?
It seems that in the case of cigarettes, the opposite is allowed to continue. Why do we allow a product that continues to kill hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to be made readily available on the streets – legally – purely to profit the manufacturers..??
In 2003 there were 15,511 smoking-related deaths in Australia.
That’s four people that die every day as a direct result of smoking. If my new product killed four people every day, I would be charged with murder.
Why do we continue to allow the tobacco industry to get away with the murder of thousands of Australians each year without anyone being held to account?
Sure there are many arguments about freedom of choice, however we refuse to allow people to legally end their lives via euthanasia, why should we allow people to kill themselves (and affect the health of inncocent others through passive smoking) to continue?
Isn’t there a compelling argument to call for the complete banning of this product that does absolutely nothing other than ultimately kill the consumer?
I once read a strategy that made perfect sense to me. Simply make it illegal to sell cigarettes to anyone born on or after a certain date. Under this scenario – anyone buying cigarettes would be required to show ID to purchase them.
This would lead to a gradual phasing out of the prevalence of smoking – allowing those who currently smoke to do so – while making way for a future generation of non-smokers.
It may not be a perfect solution – there are bound to be kids who can obtain cigarettes from older friends or family members. But coupled with a strategy that makes it illegal to supply children born on, or after the “no smoking” birthdate would go along way to ridding this “product that kills” from future generations.
Choke on this:
– Tobacco use accounted for 7.8% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003.
– There were approximately 6,507 smoking -attributable deaths in NSW alone in 2004 , accounting for 18% of deaths from all causes among men and 10% of deaths from all causes among women.
– In NSW alone, there were 55,591 smoking-related hospital admissions in 2004 -2005.
– In 1998 – 99, the social costs of tobacco use in Australia were an estimated to be $21.1 billion, about 2.3% of the gross domestic product.
What say you?