Doctor suggests tabloids publish daily smoking death toll

While smoking remains legal, the number of smokers is never going to fall significantly, argues public health doctor in a letter to this week's BMJ.

Dr Paul Jepson suggests the publish a list of the names of the more than 250 people killed by smoking related disease each day, as part of a "fundamental re-think" on smoking. "Any other drug causing a fraction of the morbidity and mortality of tobacco would have been outlawed long ago," he says.

He explains that in 2010, mephedrone became a class B drug following widespread media coverage and reports of some deaths in the preceding months, although the evidence surrounding the dangers of mephedrone does not exist. This is in stark contrast to tobacco, he argues, which is responsible for around 100,000 deaths each year in the UK. Why should smoking get special treatment?

"People's attitude towards drugs should be evidence based, and not informed by politics or popular opinion. How must smokers feel when they are encouraged to quit their habit by the same government that welcomes so gladly?"

He concludes: "While smoking remains legal, the number of smokers is never going to fall significantly - no matter how much taxes rise, how plain become, or how many millions of pounds is spent on cessation."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Retail tobacco displays make it tougher to quit

Feb 07, 2008

Tobacco advertising displays may be undermining smokers' attempts to give up and tempting former smokers to resume smoking, research by Professor of Marketing Janet Hoek has found.

Britain considering plain cigarette packs

Nov 21, 2010

Tobacco companies could be forced to sell cigarettes in plain grey or brown packaging in Britain in an attempt to deter youngsters from taking up smoking, the health secretary suggested Sunday.

Recommended for you

We drink more alcohol on gym days

3 hours ago

A new Northwestern Medicine study finds that on days when people exercise more—typically Thursdays to Sundays—they drink more alcohol, too.

Obesity and stress pack a double hit for health

8 hours ago

If you're overweight, you may be at greater risk for stress-related diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a new study by Brandeis University.

User comments