Table of Contents
Smoking is at the moment causing so many deaths in the world. A Health body worldwide observed that, many people who are smoking have at one time tried to quit from the habit but out of all those who attempted to quit, it was established that, only 6% managed to drop the habit for good (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). The statistics have been supported by the fact that, although smokers are more than willing to drop the habit, they go back to it due to nicotine addiction. A separate study carried out indicate that, 1.4billion people are smokers worldwide and each passing year, over five million people loose their lives as result of smoking. In addition, in every minute, around four people die due to a smoking related epidemic. This article attempts to identify and criticize the issues of smoking in Canada, how it affects healthcare and the economy and how to improve it. It will also site references from statistics tables and graphs alongside economic diagrams in Canada.
In Canada, for instance, over five million people or 20% of the total number of citizens do smoke; statistics indicate those who are over fifteen years are the majority as shown in the graph below (Health Canada 2001). According to Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, most of these people smoking will die before the reach the age of 70. In yet another study released, around 38,000 Canadians loose their lives every year owing to smoking.
As a result of smoking, many people have had their health being put at stake because smoking comes with so many effects in the body. Out of all those causes of cancer that have been established smoking remains the only cause of lung cancer that can be put under control. In Canada, almost 90% of lung cancer is brought by smoking (Health Canada 2001). Statistics indicate that, around 13,900 Canadian smokers got lung cancer compared to 365 people who do not smoke in 2005. In fact, if anything is to go by, people should come back to their senses and stop courting death while they are so sure of what they are actually doing. This habit is sucking and should be stopped with all means possible (Health Canada 2001).
Another health risk posed by smoking is that, one can get heart problems and eventually get stroke due to congestion in blood arteries leading to clotting, increased pressure and limited levels of oxygen in blood. In the same year, 2005, 9400 smokers in Canada were caught by heart problems with only a handful 800 people who are not smokers falling victims of the same (Health Canada 2001). When one indulges in smoking habits, some of the signs which are visible include coughing, breathing problems, sneezing which can again lead to very dangerous diseases. This bad habit should stop completely as it is affecting the society so badly. The graph below indicates the death rate of men in relation to cancer emanating from smoking of cigarettes.
Statistics released last year shows that, teenagers between ages 14-18 years old, around 15% of this category already smokes. If what was found out in the previous study done is anything to go by, these are among the lowest in Canada since the inception of this study. In the category of 19-24 years, 26% of these people who fall within this category smoke (Health Canada 2001). In this category, the majority of smokers are men. In the category of 25-50 years are the most people who are dropping the habit at a very high rate. Looking at these statistics, it is clear that, the young people are doomed and headed for the rocks. They don’t seem to learn from their elders to stop smoking (Health Canada 2001). This habit should be criticized and if possible there should be a law preventing the teenagers from smoking and if caught a heavy penalty should serve as a lesson. This is because if something is not done about it, the society will be left with people who are not healthy enough to work and improve it. The healthcare is by far being put at stake given that, most of these smokers are infected with such diseases as stroke alongside lung cancer which is very expensive to treat. Instead of doctors spending time with such people who could have controlled the habit, they had better channel their energy and skills to other needy cases (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
The country has always tried to improve the situation and more so in the last one decade. Campaigns have risen on the message against smoking. In most of the provinces, there has been measure developed to warn smokers against doing so in public places (Health Canada 2001). This applies even to such places where this habit is common, that is in pubs. The health department has also taken it upon themselves to sensitive the public on heath dangers they expose themselves into anytime they smoke (Health Canada 2001). For instance, in Vancouver province, it is a crime for a smoker to light a cigarette within a radius of eight meters of any public building. These measures are very encouraging as they send a message to these categories of people that their habit of smoking is sucking and is not needed in our society (Health Canada 2001).
As much as the public is complaining about the impacts of smoking, they are to blame for the slow pace of people dropping this habit. For the authority to construct smoking parks is not a good move at all. It is like preaching water and taking wine. Why should smokers be given a place in our society? They are a disgrace to the society and there is no need to try change the perception by giving them a place to smoke. What we are telling them is that, we are behind what they are doing knowing very well they are putting our lives at stake.
The most discouraging statistics to have ever been carried out on smokers is that of their financial ability. It is discouraging because when you might think that most of those people who smoke are well loaded financially one can be forgiven for that. This is not actually the case as most of Canadians who have taken this bad habit are low lives (Health Canada 2001). They either are very poor or they do not have jobs and if they have, they are earning a meager pay. This can encourage crime in the society in order to get money for financing this bad behavior. In yet another discovery, most people who are smoking are doing so due to frustrations after they failed at some point in life. Smoking n return serves as way of consoling themselves.
Effects on economy
In almost every year, Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) carries out survey on just how many people in Canada are smoking (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). The kind of figures that are reached upon clearly shows that the effect on the economy is not something to smile about and something needs to be done (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). The young and vibrant who can help the economy grow have taken smoking with a lot of seriousness more than anything else. Although this habit is dropping, it is still very common in Canada, and this makes those who do not smoke feel sick. For example, studies carried out in 2008, indicated that, in the last 13years, the percentage of smoking had reduced with almost 50%. All in all, the habit should stop once and for all. Although these are encouraging figures, it should be noted that it is life of people which is being put at stake here, as well as the economy which is being held hostage.
According to statistics carried out in 2000 the effects of smoking on the economy cannot be taken for granted. The Canada economy is losing billions of shillings due to this sickening habit (Health Canada 2001). The study looked at the level of cigarette consumption, expenses on medication and how productive people were in their working places. It was found out that, $1.9billion is used every year to finance medication for effects emanating from smoking. Another $1.5 billion is lost due to the number of people who are forced by circumstances to retire before their time is ripe and have to be paid their benefits (Health Canada 2001). About $90 million is spent on siblings who are born by mother smokers and they have been found to be below average weight. The study went ahead to reveal that, although the taxpayer is charged that much, most of these babies don’t survive and if they do, they are faced with health problems (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). In the same study, it was noted that, almost $12 million is lost due to smokers who sneak from work to go smoke or miss to report to work altogether. In addition, another $12 million goes to the drain due to fire caused by smokers who are reckless. This is estimated in terms of property lost lives not withstanding. These figures totals to about 2% of the countries revenue. This put into consideration for the next ten years; it is enough to cater for a budget of one if not several provinces. This habit should be stopped without thinking twice about it (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
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Another effect of smoking on the economy was noted following the bans of smoking in literary all places in Canada including pub. Immediately this was announced, it was followed by a lot of public cries from bar owners. The complained that, since the introduction of those bans sales drastically reduced putting some business into disarray (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). The situation was even being made worse by the commotions between those who don’t smoke and bar owners who said they were unfairly targeted and suffered more than the smokers themselves (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). Although this is not meant to encourage smoking, it is depicted that when the smoke bans were issued Ottawa province recorded 22.2% instead of the usual 22.5% immediately the ban came into effect. This clearly indicated that the government had to allow smoking in pubs where literally everybody smokes. I don’t seem to support this idea given that; the government is seen applying double standards on this. It should otherwise have stuck to its gun and not apply any form of leniency in ensuring the ban is followed to the latter (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
In yet another study carried out to find out whether the cigarette bans would affect the economy negatively, it was found out the case was not as earlier thought. In most provinces in Canada, experts noted that, the sales would have dropped with or without the ban being brought into effect. In an annual report, it was realized that, in fact the economy would benefit from these bans (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). The report pinned down the fashion firms for influencing the youths to smoke. The report went ahead to indicate that, if emphasis was laid in sensitizing how dangerous smoking was more youths would leave the habit. The analysis of economy in the report depicted that the Canadian economy could reap up to $2.7 billion if that kind of campaign was launched. This would mean that almost $680 million would be saved as a result of acquiring employees who are productive enough to trigger more goods being produced thus raising the economy. In the same breath, around $140 million would be saved given that not many workers are failing to report at work due to smoke related diseases. Another $430milion would be saved given that production of cigarette would definitely go down (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
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In yet another way, that smoking affects the economy of Canada is through the government taking care of families left behind after the death of parents who are smokers. Although impacts that come with this behavior are well put in records, almost 30% of the Canadians insist on getting pleasure from this threatening and costly trend (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). Smoking is causing many deaths which otherwise would have been avoided in Canada. Due to this, some families are left at the mercies of well wishers and the government. This is costing the government a fortune to cater for such families. This as a result is having an impact on the economy because if the parents would have taken caution they would not have died to begin with (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
The economy is also being strained in order to construct smoking joints or commonly known smoking parks. In Canada, a lot of money has been previously set aside to construct these parks which would otherwise have been avoided. The money used in such areas could have been channeled in some useful development that would have benefited the community (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
In the above graph fig 1.2, the taxes on cigarettes were raised following the rule of economics that says when a price of a product goes up; the quantity demanded by the consumer goes up. The above graph indicates what happened in Canada in a span of ten years between 1982 and 1992 and it clearly indicates how the usage of cigarette drastically went down following hiking of their prices. This helped in preventing the economy of the country.
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The economy is hit badly when the productive people die due to smoking. This death of productive people has a very big effect on competition worldwide. The competitiveness of Canada at the international level is put at stake (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). In 2009, a study carried out indicated that, personal income suffered a very big loss of almost $38 billion due to untimely deaths of smokers. Going by inflation rates that the world suffered, this amount went up. Some of this money that was lost would have helped to cater for such things like, paying some of the civil servants and buying drugs thus save the taxpayer (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
Some arguments have been raised that, when a smoker dies he or she saves the economy given that his pension and other retirement benefits would not be surrendered. That kind of argument is actually killing of the economy and not improving it. If all the smokers were to die at once, people will realize just how important these people are to the economy. Although these people are a burden to the economy in terms of how much is spent on them to support their health, it is important to recognize their contribution towards economy growth (Grossman & Price 1992).
Going by the above statistics, it is clear that smoking should not be encouraged at any given time. To encourage this habit is like signing a death warrant being very sure of what awaits you. Money that would have been put into useful development is otherwise channeled towards treating smokers (Slama 1995). What is even discouraging is the fact that, this entire burden is carried by the tax payer. Another discouraging thing is that, many are losing their lives while being born and others in infernos which could otherwise have been prevented if caution from experts was heeded. To think that more money is spent on campaigns against this harmful habit is sickening the more. This not withstanding, companies that deal with cigarettes are equally spending money on adverts making the condition badly (Slama 1995).
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Effects on healthcare
Given that the effects on healthcare are by far many in terms of finances used, the Canadian government has resulted to hiking the prices of cigarettes to meet the cost of their treatment instead of putting this burden on the shoulders of the consumer. This is because the funds donated to the health sector are spent a big chunk of it on treating smokers (Slama 1995).
Questions of how smoking can be controlled to arrest the effects it has on the healthcare and economy have often been brought in the limelight. A Canadian health expert advises that, a smoker cannot just wake up one day and decide he is going to stop smoking (Slama 1995). This is a process that calls for a lot of effort and practice. In other words, one cannot just leave smoking at once. Many people, according to statistics admitted to have struggled before deciding to bring the habit to an end (Slama 1995).
Canadian health masterminds observes that, the process towards kicking this habit of smoking can be broken into three stages. The first stage is preparation followed by the levels of leaving the habit ad finally ensuring that you don’t go back to the habit (Slama 1995). For one to enter preparation stage, one must firs of all know the destruction that comes with this habit. If the need to, one can even seek that information. This should be thorough in order to make you strong enough to be able to make decisions that follow after this first stage (Slama 1995). One of the well known ways is for one to write down the reasons for wanting to quit this bad habit. It is advisable that, while in the process of writing them down, you write even other impacts apart from health reasons, such as impact on your finances, mental, emotional and so on. One is also encouraged to tell the people close so that they can give you a back up which is very important at this first but critical stage (Slama 1995).
The experts continue to observe that, in the second stage, it is time to stop the habit. This does not just happen abruptly. If done like that, one will end up getting hurt and will hate the whole idea of stopping smoking. The mind should be in a way that the habit is going to be stopped in a slow pace (Slama 1995). The best method is to reduce the number of sticks taken everyday. In most cases it is advisable to set a system which is systematic to follow. The victim can decide to change his or her usual type that he or she smokes in order to fill the taste is changed. This option should be carried out slowly in order to choose the one with less nicotine. While doing this one should breathe deeply and even swear in presence of your friend and family so as to commit one to quitting completely (Grossman & Price 1992).
Another way to rectify this habit in order to improve ones health is to reduce the number of cigarettes taken in a given day or hourly. This slowly reduces the addiction level in a systematic way. For example, if one takes a packet in a day which contains forty cigarettes, one can start by deducting one stick per day and eventually the body will get used to and adopt after one month (Grossman & Price 1992). This definitely calls for a lot of self discipline as it is not as simple as it sounds. Experts also advise that during this stage one can decide to keep the cigar butts so that, after they have accumulated, one can be in a position to see just how much dirt one has been accommodating in his or her body. When lighting a cigar, it is advisable to delay for one or two hours in order to reduce the urge in you (Grossman & Price 1992).
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While still in the second stage, one is advised to do away with anything to do with smoking. This helps to develop cravings to have nicotine. There is a possibility of even one experiencing feelings of irritation. This should be taken as a normal way of the body undergoing stages of healing and going back to its normal state (Grossman & Price 1992).
Finally the experts observe that, in the last stage, one has to forget smoking for good. One of the surest ways to enable one to do this is by allowing to be distracted, taking exercises, celebrate because it is an achievement, take a lot of water and perish a thought of taking anything alcoholic or any fluid that contains caffeine like tea leaves (Grossman & Price 1992). In order to forget completely go to places where they are no people smoking such as spending time with your family and brush your teeth regularly to remove the bad smell of cigarettes. If one manages to stop the habit completely, it serves as the beginning of new life (Grossman & Price 1992).
In order to reduce chances of people smoking, the Canadian government should tax heavily on cigarettes per packet. So that, if the smoker carries the burden, definitely it will put them in their place and the habit will decline with about 13%. When adults make the first step to stop this nasty behavior, the youths will follow suit and for those who are yet to start, they will not even think about it (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998). Some people might argue that, if cigarettes are taxed highly, other things that put health at stake should also fall in that category but it is worthy noting that, cigarette issue is special and unique. It is also vital to note that, smoking is claiming so many lives and it is not just a matter of some people being targeted unfairly (Stephens & Ontario Tobacco Research Unit 1998).
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With the above effects being put into consideration, this bad habit should not be subject to debate in any way. The authority in Canada should use all possible means to put the habit under control whatever the cost. The public should be exposed to dangers of smoking and this should be repeated everyday everywhere.