No one, I mean, no one since the invention of cool, has ever taken up smoking for any other reason other than they thought it made them look cool. So it's not a huge leap to imagine that by making packaging look boring, some people will be discouraged from starting in the first place.
And yet we smokers still exist. A few weeks ago, it was the 24th anniversary of Canada’s ban on smoking in public places. Not all provinces came aboard at the same time, but they eventually did after legislation. There has been a reduction in the number of smokers, but more than one in five adults still engage in a habit that is essentially indefensible. Canada was proud of its ban at the time. Despite the occasional grumble from fellas who came in to the bar every night to puff their way through a pack of darts while sipping their pints, they soon fell into line. As did large parts of the world.
In the days of smoke-filled bars, cigarettes were fun, exciting props: brandished with a flair, lit, Harold Wilson pipe-style, to buy time in a discussion, prodded semi-threateningly to make a point, stubbed out forcefully to declare conclusive victory. Now smoking is dull. Despite the perception about the cool kids gossiping outside, the fact is its kind of rare to get a congregation of smokers outside a bar now. We are sporadic. So instead we slope off apologetically, smoke half a cigarette on our own, get bored and walk back inside, always with a small but definite sense of defeat.
Smoking is tedious and removing branding from packaging will add to dullness. We smokers, for whatever reason, are remarkably brand-loyal. We convince ourselves that brand A is smoother than brand B, when really there's only four types of cigarettes: ultra mild, light, normal, and how-the-hell-do-French-people-smoke-these. But as I said, it's a silly, vain habit, and we like the pretty pictures on the packets. And of course, millions upon millions of dollars have been spent over the years on convincing us that we've chosen the right pretty picture: the picture that tells the world just what kind of person we are. (You're not excluded from this, roll-up smokers: think about what brand of rolling tobacco you won't use. Think why.)
There are more than 45,400 deaths in Canada attributable to smoking, and the habit cost the economy $16.2 billion in 2012, according a new study from the Conference Board of Canada.
Those costs include health care, tobacco enforcement, lost productivity and lost years of life attributable to smoking, with health care alone costing Canada $6.5 billion.
Although Canada's smoking rate is falling, the numbers of deaths and the cost to the economy continue to rise.
"The impact of smoking is a slow burn," says one doctor, director of health economics and policy at the Conference Board.
So, though the smoking rate fell by about 20 per cent from 2005 to 2015, people who began smoking 30 to 50 years ago are still dying. And the big bulge of baby boomers has reached the age when a lifetime of smoking is starting to show its effects.
That mortality is going to go down, but it takes decades to see the impact of changes in behaviour," Dinh said.
In 2015, about 18 per cent of the population smoked cigarettes, down from 22 per cent a decade earlier.
The last study of the overall costs and mortality of smoking in Canada was 10 years ago, using figures from 2002. At that time, the number of deaths attributable to smoking was 37,209, but by 2012, the year used for the current study, mortality had risen to 45,464 across Canada. That's 18 per cent of all 2012 deaths and includes 993 deaths caused by second-hand smoke.
and respiratory diseases. But by 2012, more health problems were part of the impact The most likely causes of death remained unchanged: cancers, cardiovascular diseases of smoking because experts had confirmed the link between smoking and conditions such as macular degeneration, diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, liver cancer and colorectal cancer
"We're living longer, but are we living better?" she asked.
More men than women were dying: 58.5 per cent of all smoking-related deaths were men.
The costs to the Canadian economy add up, among them:
• Hospital care, $3.8 billion.
• Prescription drugs, $1.7 billion.
• Physician care, $1 billion.
• Fire damage, $74.4 million
• Tobacco research and prevention, $10.7 million
• Tobacco control and law enforcement, $122 million
But the biggest costs were the loss to families of having a breadwinner die or become disabled because of a smoking-related illness and the productivity loss to employers of losing a worker to a smoking-related condition.
So, the question is, why is something that kills millions, costs governments millions in heal care and ruining peoples lives all over the globe? The answer my friends is money. You see Global profits for tobacco trade total $35bn as smoking deaths top 6 million