Butt Out: May 31st is World No Tobacco Day

Wednesday, May 31st is World No Tobacco Day.  The World Health Organization, the US’s Centre for Disease Control, the American Cancer Society and many other groups interested in public health are promoting the day.

Cigarettes and tobacco are a public health issue.

It goes without saying that cigarette companies know and have always known that their product is toxic and unethical to sell.  It is only through the cowardice and malleability of politicians for tax dollars and bribes that cigarettes have not been banned worldwide.

Tobacco is directly related to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clotting, emphysema, high blood pressure and many other conditions.  If the republicans in the US were so concerned about health care, why didn’t they just label smoking a “pre-existing condition” and not any of the other things they named?  It would have deprived many of the same people of healthy care that they targeted with all their other exemptions.

“E-cigarettes” are no safer than boxed cancer sticks, just as likely to cause cancer.  The fluid in “e-cigarettes” is toxic and has killed at least one young child.  The product is marketed with “flavours” which young children recognize without comprehending the risks of touching nicotine with their skin.

The CDC, the National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society and many other reputable agencies and organizations all agree on the facts: second hand smoke causes harm to non-smokers forced to breath the pollution.  Smoking in the presence of children is and should be classified as a form of child abuse.

In 2015 during the holi festival celebrations in Taiwan, a fire broke out, killing one young woman and injuring nearly 500 people.  The public and the media have blamed the organizers of the event for using flammable powder, but the fire, the injuries and death would likely not have happened if a smoker had not selfishly lit a cigarette.

Cigarettes and tobacco are a social issue.

Children are the primary targets of tobacco advertising.  It has always been that way, is even moreso with “e-cigarettes” being directly targeted at teens.  The drug peddlars know that if someone isn’t addicted by age twenty, chances are they will likely never start.

The poor have always been targets of tobacco companies, lured into use with lies of “social acceptance”, as if something which steals money from you will make you richer.  That’s on par with the “prosperity gospel” in its inanity.

Cigarettes and tobacco are an political issue.

As industrialized countries ban smoking , tobacco companies are seeking out new markets to peddle their filth.  India large population and Africa’s burgeoning economy are being targeted with the burden of tobacco addiction, just at the point where they are trying to end poverty.   This is going on despite a worldwide treaty banning it, likely because of “political donations” (read: bribes) and the lack of concern by G20 countries for the poorest people. Even Russia and China, which have long been heavy consumers of tobacco, are taking an enlightened stance on this issue.

Cigarettes and tobacco are an environmental issue.

It is estimated that 30% of litter in the US is cigarette butts, making it the single largest form of litter in the country.  Combine that with an estimated 30% of human-made garbage in US waterways(I read unconfirmed claims of 20% of ocean garbage including cigarette butts.  It’s unproven, but very likely.)  It is estimated that 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts are discarded worldwide each year.

The filters in cigarettes are not cotton, as many mistakenly believe.  95% of a cigarette filter is cellulose acetate (plastic), combined with paper and rayon.    It does not degrade and, discarded butts will remain in the environment as long as a styrofoam cup.

Smoking is not a right, it is a drug addiction.  It is a major source of environmental pollution, a health hazard, and another trap aimed at the poorest in society.  It is contradictory to claim one stands for social justice and environmentalism while excusing the use of tobacco.