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The Best Example of How Money and Health Don’t Always go Together, Tobacco: How Money can Drive Us to our Graves

By Dr. Arthur Lavin

We all know tobacco is not good for you, no reason to state the obvious.

But this week a World Health Organization report came out that really put the whole issue into very clear focus.

The WHO just let us know that in the next 12 years, the costs of smoking will go up to $1 Trillion.

Worse, the use of tobacco kills about 6 million people a year and that will be going up to 8 million.

Here in the US, the good news is that the number of new people starting to smoke is really dropping, for the first time.

Still, about 500,000 Americans die from smoking every year, about 1/3 of all human cancer comes from smoking, and tobacco deaths account for nearly half of all the preventable deaths in the United States every year.

When I heard that use of tobacco kills 6 million people a year worldwide now, I immediately associated that number with the most horrifying example of 6 million deaths, the number of the deaths in the Holocaust of World War II.

The part that has always mystified me is not that people smoke, life is difficult, relief is valuable, people get relief, no real mystery there.

The mystery is why the tobacco plant is grown.  Again, I would understand this if most of it was grown by individuals, but that is not the case.  Tobacco is a very big business, and so the ability to grow enough to kill 6 million people a year must be made in formal organizations, large companies.

Sadly, we see this sort of event all too often.  A product’s sales are lucrative.  Large companies make the product and thrive.  The fact that the product can be truly harmful, even to a devastating, catastrophic scale, does not seem to matter when it comes to the large company deciding whether to continue making the product.

This issue will likely present itself in more and more dramatic fashion as we learn more about how various chemicals manufactured by various industries actually will turn out to play a major role in the cognitive troubles our children are experiencing with such frequency.  Problems such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and learning disorders.

These cognitive issues are complex to sort out what caused what, but not tobacco.

Tobacco is pretty simple, if companies stopped growing it, about 6 million people would stop dying every year, about 1/3 of all cancer would vanish, a large proportion of heart attacks and strokes would go away.  And we would save about $ 1 Trillion, enough to create jobs for the tobacco company employees.

The only question then is, why don’t we stop growing tobacco?

BOTTOM LINES

  1. Tobacco is by far the single largest cause of death in the United States every year.
  2. The World Health Organization announced that it kills about 6 million people a year and that number is going up to 8 million in a dozen years.
  3. Tobacco costs the world now about $1 Trillion.
  4. Thankfully tobacco use is finally dropping in the US, nice job young Americans!
  5. We have to ask ourselves, why do we grow this crop, why do we sell this product?  How will we as a national community ever really come to grips with stopping the manufacture of products that cost so many lives?

To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin

 

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