Category: Island Talk Created on Monday, 06 August 2012 08:17
P.O. Box 340
July 31, 2012
Hon Easton Taylor Farrell
Minister of Lands, Housing,
Agriculture & Ecclesiastical Affairs
RE: Cigarette smoking kills over 15,000 daily
Hon Easton Taylor
Since writing my two previous letters of appeal to you and our government to retract its decision to bring a tobacco factory to Montserrat, I have taken the time to research and discuss the matter further. As a result my conviction, like that of many Montserratians has grown stronger that the decision is a bad one and needs to be reversed as soon as possible. Apart from the need for due diligence and an environmental impact assessment, the most overwhelming discovery is the huge number of people killed by tobacco smoking each year and the way young children are targeted to get them smoking and hooked at an early age.
To see just how deadly cigarettes are, we can see how the US Environmental Protection Agency claims that cigarettes contribute to 20% of all US deaths: "Cigarettes kill more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and ILLEGAL DRUGS combined." No wonder money gained from the manufacture and sale of cigarettes by far deserves the name "blood money." The US Centers for Disease Control is more specific: Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to second- hand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking."
Our own Montserrat Reporter comments on a global basis, in its July 20th editorial:
Fifteen jobs to aid in causing the deaths of 15,000 people daily, three times the population of Montserrat, and no recognized revenue to Montserrat, deviating from upholding Conventions the island has signed on to and uphold . . .
Are you aware of the UK government's commitment to eradicating tobacco harms and creating a smoke-free future, so that we can support people to live healthier and longer lives as part of a plan to maintain England's position as a world leader in tobacco control? Our good name is at stake and is worth more than 30 pieces of silver and 15 jobs. So will the GoM act as partners by supporting the UK's tobacco control strategy or will we be a loose gateway for cigarette and tobacco products into England and other EU territories.
If undermining the UK government's anti-smoking stand, or contributing to the death of over 15,000 people a day do not move you to review your position, you may wish to consider a quotation from Habakkuk 2:12, drawn to my attention by a constituent. It says: "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed".
Surely, there are many alternatives that we can pursue in partnership with HMG to create revenue-generating employment such as the production of sand and cement- based products for export, geothermal development and related manufactures. These are among the many possibilities that do not rely on blood money.
The decision to partner with a cigarette manufacturer is, without question, a major moral and public health error that must be corrected. I consider this essentially moral issue a key test for all of our elected Members of parliament and people, as well as the relevant representatives of Her Majesty's government, to reveal the genuineness (or not) of our concern for the welfare of Montserratians as well as our neighbour near and far.
None of us can hide behind the cloak of collective responsibility on this matter. This matter demonstrates our commitment to God, to our people and not to our party or political alliances. We are all "called for such a time" and purpose as this. The entire Opposition, for its part, stands ready to support you and your colleagues in doing the right thing.
Opposition Leader, MLA
Premier & Cabinet
Attached: Targeting the Nation's Leading Killer
Targeting the Nation's Leading Killer At A Glance 2011
The Burden of Tobacco Use
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 46.6 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, cigars, and pipes also have deadly consequences, including lung, larynx, esophageal, and oral cancers.
The harmful effects of smoking do not end with the smoker. An estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans, including 54% of children aged 3–11 years, are exposed to secondhand smoke. Even brief exposure can be dangerous because nonsmokers inhale many of the same poisons in cigarette smoke as smokers.
Secondhand smoke exposure causes serious disease and death, including heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children. Each year, primarily because of exposure to secondhand smoke, an estimated 3,000 nonsmoking Americans die of lung cancer, more than 46,000 die of heart disease, and about 150,000–300,000 children younger than 18 months have lower respiratory tract infections.
Coupled with this enormous health toll is the significant economic burden of tobacco use—more than $96 billion a year in medical costs and another $97 billion a year from lost productivity.
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