20 Responses to It’s time to phase out tobacco in Canada

  1. marino December 14, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Man, that is a tough debate to have. I agree that smoking is a bad thing and would love to see it outlawed but the financial hit we would take from its loss and the illegal running of cigarettes causing a lot more crime don’t outweigh the benefits of banning the item. Constant banging away and raising taxes on it is the way to go i think.

  2. Allan Dettweiler December 14, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Would their be a net loss to governments if tobacco were made illegal? I don’t know. I would assume so since no government so far has outlawed tobacco.
    If tobacco were made illegal, there would be an obvious loss of revenue to government from the sale of tobacco. I don’t know the figures, but they would be very significant. Also, if tobacco were made illegal, there would be a cost to government in the form of increased pension payouts – a dead tobacco user doesn’t can’t collect a pension. On the other hand, if tobacco were to remain legal, taxpayers would continue to pay more in the form of increased health costs. Certainly there is a loss of productivity because of smoking which in the end hurts all of us.
    So, with all factors considered, I really don’t know how the government coffers would be affected. And while some of us might have opinions on whether there would be a loss or gain to government, most of us don’t have the ability to sort this all out.
    But lets keep in mind that this should not be a debate about whether there would be a loss or gain to governments. Rather, it should be a discussion about what is the right thing to do.
    It is simply not right to make non-smokers inhale what smokers exhale. Certainly there are other sources of pollution out there – those are not relevant to this discussion. They are another topic.
    Marino, you talk about the illegal running of tobacco. Illegal tobacco sales are already a problem. Keep in mind that I am proposing that those persons, who are of age, would continue to be permitted to smoke. What I am saying is that no new smokers should permitted to start smoking. Government would continue to collect tobacco taxes for some time, albeit less and less as times goes on and smokers die off, and yes, some from old age.
    Some have asked me what I propose should be done to those young persons who get caught smoking. Would we jail them? I don’t think that is the answer. What does the Ontario government do with young people who don’t wear a bicycle helmet? This brings up an interesting point.
    The federal and provincial governments benefit because young people are forced to wear helmets. Taxes are collected on the sale of helmets. So, the government can “pretend” they care about the welfare of young people and at the same time make money doing it. In addition, there will be a cost savings in the area of heath care if young people wear a helmet, So, for government, it is a no brainer. Getting young people to wear a helmet is a win win situation for the treasury. (by the way, I support making underage persons wear a helmet).
    Its funny how the governments concern for the health of young people disappears when it comes to tobacco. Suddenly the government is losing taxes. Seems that is a whole different matter. Oh yes, they run some ads in which they appear to be discouraging young people from taking up the habit. However, in the end, I would suggest this costs far less than what it would cost them to make tobacco illegal to young persons.
    Make no mistake. Governments don’t really care about the health of young people. At least not if it will cost them!

  3. Jimm Hillis December 14, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I’m not a smoker and i agree with ya on the second hand thing but i have wonder as well about the criminal element taking over. It could get ugly real quick in some cases. As for the government wanting to ban tobacco,,fat chance that they do.

  4. Allan Dettweiler December 14, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Jimm, I’m sure that organized crime will look at this as an opportunity. Does that mean we should have our governments peddling all kinds of drugs at the local DCBO to take away sales from crime groups?
    Maybe the Ontario government should market Crystal Meth so they can ensure that there is no arsenic or cyanide added to the mixture. I’m sure it would be better that they help kill us instead of organized crime.
    You speak about the “criminal element”. One of the primary roles of government is to protect us from those who would harm us in any way. As far as I’m concerned, if a government profits from the sales of products that hurt us, then they are part of the criminal element.

  5. Paul Willitson December 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    More high school seniors have used marijuana in the past month than have smoked a cigarette, according to a federal study released Tuesday In 2010, marijuana use ticked up slightly while tobacco use stayed steady. So by some measures, for the first time in decades, marijuana was more popular than cigarettes among young people

  6. scot December 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    I think this would be a good one to print, along with some of the comments.

  7. scot December 15, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Here’s my take on smoking, published in The Record 2 years ago.

  8. scot December 15, 2010 at 12:02 am

    I’ll smoke cheap cigarettes until the day I quit-ON

    February 04, 2008

    SCOT FERGUSON The Record

    I’m a pariah, a social outcast, a smoker. I have been sucking on the insidious things for 35 years.

    I know I shouldn’t smoke and I want to quit. I’m not alone. Health Canada reported that in 2006, 18 per cent, or 4.5 million Canadians over age 15 were smokers. They also say that 85 per cent of smokers want to quit. Of those, five per cent will succeed.

    I hope to be among those lucky ones.


    It’s not enough that it is illegal for me to smoke anywhere but a self-enclosed bubble that’s vented into outer space (or at a government-run casino, where outdoor smoking rooms are still legal). Along with 37 per cent of my nicotine addicted brethren, I’m also a criminal.

    Tobacco taxes were hiked years ago “in an effort to dissuade people from smoking,” and it has opened a Pandora’s box that the government cannot control. In raising tobacco taxes, the government has created the biggest bootleg industry since the American Prohibition where the Kennedy clan and Al Capone both made their fortunes.

    It’s a well-known secret that anyone can purchase a freezer bag of 200 cigarettes from the native reserves for as little as $6 to $8, as opposed to $60 to $80 at a retail store for premium brands.

    Of course these bagged cigarettes are missing many of the 4,000 chemicals that the big companies put in, and the charming warning labels. My favourite is the label telling me that my cigarettes could suffer from erectile dysfunction if I continue to smoke. Limp cigarettes are hard to light.

    According to a study released last October, conducted between January 2005 and June 2006 for the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 37 per cent of Ontario smokers avoided paying tobacco taxes by buying cigarettes from reserves, while 26 per cent had done so in the last six months The practice cost the province $72.3 million and Ottawa nearly $50 million in lost taxes over the 18-month period.

    I am one of them. I’m a starving artist who makes little more than minimum wage. Eight dollars or $80 for a week? No decision.

    Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about depriving you of my tax dollars. To put it into perspective for non-smokers, if you could get tax-free gas for 10 cents per litre, would you buy it?

    Like Prohibition times, there is little the government can do to stop the people from getting what they want. Booze then, cheap smokes now.

    Letters to the finance department written by tobacco companies accuse Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the issue in order to avoid a confrontation with natives.

    “Given the tensions that exist between native communities and various levels of government — and native insistence that all activities taking place on-reserve represent their right to self-determination, there is little political appetite for sending enforcement officials onto reserves for any purpose,” states a paper from Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, released by the finance department.

    Native people are not going to give up their newfound affluence easily. Any attempts to dethrone the newly crowned tobacco kings are sure to be met with actions that would make the Oka and Caledonia standoffs look like Santa Claus parades. Cheap smokes aren’t going anywhere soon.

    As I light up another one, I promise myself again that I’ll quit. Someday.

    In the meantime I’ll smoke cheap cigarettes. John F. Kennedy became president due, in part, to the fortune his family made in bootlegging.

    Who knows, my habit could be financing our next prime minister.

    Scot Ferguson is a freelance writer living in Cambridge.


  9. Gary Ward December 15, 2010 at 12:50 am

    There are a lot of things I dont like about smoking and smokers. And never mind the fact that cigarettes which kill countless millions of people are perfectly legal while marijuana (which admittedly has its own problems) is a Schedule I narcotic.

    This weekend however, I discovered a brand new thing that I hate about cigarettes and the people who smoke them – The leftovers. We were cleaning up trash and I would feel safe estimating that at least 80% of the trash we picked up was cigarette butts. I really can’t think of any other habit which introduces that much waste and garbage into the world. And again, marijuana users come out smelling like a skunky rose on that one in comparison. You don’t see bongs and one-hitters lying around parks, forcing good-natured people to clean them up. You don’t see little sand pits on the tops of trash bins, with piles of snuffed out roaches in them. Potheads may have their shortcomings, but at least they keep their mess contained to their apartments and/or their parent’s basements. So please, if you want to kill yourself with an expensive, stupid habit – Stick with coke or something.

    At least then I won’t have to clean up after you.

  10. Allan Dettweiler December 15, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I’m always amazed at how some smokers throw cigarette butts out the windows of their vehicles. Like it’s their damn right. They don’t look around to see if anyone is looking. Just toss these still burning butts out in front of anyone. Bastards! I’d love to ram the ass-end of their vehicle just to show my disgust.
    If I were the “king of the world, tell you what I’d do”. I’d sign me up hundreds of “deputies” who would take down the licence numbers of the vehicles which were driven by these morons. And then, perhaps I’d issue them some huge fine. Perhaps an option to spend one of their weekends picking up thousands of these cigarette butts which litter the landscape.

    Oh, just woke up. Had a really good dream!

  11. Margaret Barr December 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    A personal message to ALLAN! I am soooo sorry about not getting back to you (after my son called with car issues). I did leave you a VERY apologetic voice-mail this morning, but haven’t heard back from you. Hope you don’t think I’m blowing cigarette smoke out my a–. I really do want to discuss the issues………

  12. Ken Dunn December 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Welcome to communism. You want to get rid of tobacco, be prepared to pay higher taxes on the things you want like beer and sweets and chips. You want to pick on the smokers then beware of the consequences.

  13. Allan Dettweiler December 23, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Ken, did you even read what I posted? You can’t have.
    Relax! I’m not “picking” on any existing smokers provided they are of legal age. My proposal would let anyone who presently smokes to continue smoking.
    It seems to me that are in what I have found to be a minority of smokers who give a damn only about themselves. Most smokers wish they had never started. They wish they could quit. They don’t want their children to start smoking.
    So, what I am saying is let us not let any young children begin smoking – ever.
    Communism? Yeah, a few just like you like to come up with crap like that. Since when does anyone in a civilized society have the right to do something that harms others?
    I’m not permitted to kill someone in Canada except perhaps by blowing smoke in their face. If I have AIDs and have unprotected sex with someone and they don’t know I have AIDS, I can be charged with murder. So, why in the hell would you think you have a right to kill someone very slowly by polluting the air? NOW, I can just hear your reply as you try to justify this. You might reply “What about the smoke from factories etc.? That is another issue that should be tackled. But, that is another issue. If you take up that issue, I will support you.
    One difference between smoke from a factory is that in most cases their is a benefit to society from what is being produced in that factory (not always, but most of the time).
    In the case of tobacco smoke, there is no good for anyone except big tobacco – and perhaps the wages paid to worker. Tobacco is far more of a detriment to society.
    It’s interesting that you are afraid of higher taxes on beer, sweets and chips. These are also not good for you, but unlike tobacco, for the most part, you hurt only yourself when you consume those products. And, consumed in moderation they are OK.
    I am most willing to face the “consequences” of being able to live in a society where, eventually, when all the smokers are dead and gone, no one no longer smokes.
    Ken, I really don’t care all that much if you keep smoking – but I hope you are civilized enough to not wish that for your grandchildren.

  14. Facetious Lee December 23, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Merry Christmas everyone.
    I wish you a happy new year where you are always upwind from any second hand smoke!

  15. Steve currier December 23, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    I’m a non smoker but smoking doesn’t bother me. My Dad worked in a forge plant all his life and died of cancer from that as he never smoked either. so smoking to me is a risk that should be left up to the individual to do when they hit the legal age. Alcohol can be just as harmful to you.

  16. Allan Dettweiler December 24, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Steve, you’re missing my point. If smoking were only about what you do to yourself, go ahead and smoke yourself dead. BUT, no one has any right to harm others while indulging in a bad habit.
    When a person smokes, they harm others and the environment of others. And that’s what I am P.O.’ed at.
    So, I’ll not object if you chew tobacco – won’t bother me any.
    I’m certainly not happy about the fact that people die as a result of workplace hazzards such as your father placed. I worked in a chemical factory for a relatively short time. We would keep records on a piece of paper – by the end of the shift the paper had turned yellow. It was the toluene levels in the air. Supposively, the levels were within acceptable levels. Maybe it was as a lot of guys worked in that factory for years, as far as I know with no adverse effects.
    I didn’t like working in that chemical factory. No one was forcing me to stay. I made fairly good money, but decided I didn’t like what I perceived as a possible risk to my health. So, I left. It could be argued your father had a choice to leave as well. But, maybe jobs were hard to find, and there wasn’t a lot of choice of where to work while making an acceptable wage to support a family. So, maybe your father was “forced” to work in a forge plant.
    But, thats another issue – one where perhaps governments should establish acceptable working conditions and procedures.
    Yes, alcohol can be just as harmful. And a host of other things. But, that’s not the issue here.
    It seems to me you’re saying that you should be allowed to drive with bald tires on your vehicle because speeding can kill you as well.

  17. Ruth-Anne White December 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Firstly, yes smokers have rights too, as long as they are not breaking the law. In most cases they are doing just that, breaking the law. Litering by throwing buts out the window, smoking on a haze filled day in public traffic, adding to the emissions. Driving with a child in the car that has no say and filling their lungs with toxic chemicals. However, even the police are not following the laws. As I witnessed an officer in traffic look over at a mother smoking in her car as her children were buckeled in the back. It was bumper to bumper, and nope no response from the officer. My own nieces told me they witnessed a similar event in Toronto, and called 911, there were two adults smoking, windows rolled up with infants in the car. They were told if they ever called 911 again for something so stupid they would be charged. Instead of being advised to get the license number so the police could take the call and handle it a different way. So how can we expect the problem to go away if our own enforcers are not taking their laws seriously?

    Second hand smoke has always been my stupid choice, as a non smoker. Out of respect for my parents, my friends, mere aqaintances, I have damaged my own lungs permanently. Asthma that was, as a result of my own parents chain smoking in the car, in the winter, with the windows rolled up, has now become severe due to the second hand smoke I have consumed without protest. As a matter of fact I can’t tell you the amount of times smokers have said “do ya mind”, and I amicably respond, “no go ahead”. Far be it from me to deprive another from a pleasure that relaxes them in todays stress riddled society of responsibility. I have assimilated, after years of not having a say to just endure it as part of my world. To which now, in my older years, I am paying the price. Yet now even walking through the front doorway as smokers line the outside front, my breathe is taken away from the cemicals and smoke. I am not a smoker. Never have been, never will be. Life is to short and too precious to deny the pleasure to someone else. I just wish they could do it without taking my own breath away.

    My husbands smokes, however, he reserves it for his ‘man cave’ or the garage, or sitting on the carport, cudos to those who have their area away from the kids and spouse so not to impose it on others. Wood stoves just as toxic and bad for you if not vented correctly. In the old days before it was even a consideration of legal or not, it was always a gentlemen’s leisure that was done in a seperate room away from others, or out on the porch.

    Well that’s my opinion. So banning it, never going to happen, there will always be away, just like MJ. It is good for some, actually good for their health, where nothing else works. So you can ban it, make it illegal and cry about it. Try taking out all the chemicals from the preservitives and teatment of it. Make it less toxic, keep up with not allowing it near main entrances, and have seperate smoke areas. If you’re cold, well you chose it as a habit not me. I feel for you, but do you feel for me when I have to pay $368 for a special inhaler, or take prednizone that puts on the lbs when you are making comments on my weight?

    There are far more smokers, than non smokers. Statistically. It shows just how narcistic we are as a society. Knowing what we do, having the resources to make it better, and not doing it. People are just as addicted to the chemicals in the tobacco, as the tobacco. Ask anyone you see smoking the new ‘electic’ cigarette with the nicotine drops, and ‘fake’ smoke.

    Now who opened up this can a worms?

  18. Allan Dettweiler December 25, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Ruth-Anne, you bring up some good things. However, I don’t understand why you have this feeling you need to sacrifice your health so other inconsiderate persons can have some “pleasure”.
    In this day when we understand the dangers of second hand smoke, its time to do all we can to make some changes.
    The bottom line? Non-smokers should have rights that come before any perceived right smokers have.
    Governments know better, but they are corrupted by the tax dollars it would seem. It’s time to demand more out of government.

  19. Gregory hamilton January 10, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Once I told my brother that not all titles posted on the internet are educating but this post is an exceptin to therule.

  20. jack reese April 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I think people need to wake the he’ll up and start focusing on the govt scams and start discussing some real problems that effects and hurts every family. Banking industry. Ask yourself why you haven’t learned about the monetary system during your highschool years. Stop having these stupid forums about tobacco and alcohol and try talking about important financial issues and our system and how the govt is spraying chemicals on us once a week for the past 15 years. Wake up and stop watching tv. Stop letting the govt and stupid forums like this to corrupt your mind. Wake up. There are more important topics to discuss than tobacco give me a break. Its truly pathetic. No disrespect to Steve but you are a puppet just like most people. No intention to offend anyone but the truth always hurts.

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