Tobacco industry in the wrong

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Re: “No Point To Tobacco Suit”
March 18, 2009

To the editor:
I had a few notes I wanted to pass on in response to The Gazette’s editorial on the potential suing of the tobacco industry by the Ontario government.

First, it is a common misconception that smokers make an adult, informed decision to smoke; the reality is that 90 per cent of tobacco users start smoking before the age of 19, the age at which people in Ontario are legally able to make informed decisions about the use of harmful and addictive substances. Also, of those who do smoke as adults, many do not want to smoke, but chose to try smoking when they were younger and simply can’t quit now that they are able to make an adult decision about it. This is no mistake on the tobacco industry’s part. They have intentionally marketed their products to young people and taken steps to make an already extremely addictive substance more addictive.

Second, you mention that the government “benefits greatly from the taxes on cigarette sales,” but the reality is that the tax revenue generated by cigarette sales doesn’t come close to covering the cost of cigarettes to the government. The Ontario Ministry of Heath Promotion states that the tobacco tax revenue for the 2007-08 fiscal year was $1.127 billion, but the cost of tobacco products to government in health care expenses and productivity losses is approximately $6 billion annually. These are costs that are being absorbed by Ontarians, the overwhelming majority of which choose not to smoke.
" Chris Walsh
Campus program co-ordinator,
Leave The Pack Behind

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