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

Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

5 hours ago

Young adults with Down syndrome experience a range of physical and mental health conditions over and above those commonly reported in children with the condition—and these health problems may significantly ...

Time out for exercise

5 hours ago

University of Queensland researcher has found that restructuring our daily routine to include exercise can have unexpected effects on health.

Possible risk of folic acid overexposure

7 hours ago

A new study has shown that synthetic folic acid, the form taken in folic acid supplements we can buy over the counter, is not processed by the body in the same way as natural folates, the form found in green vegetables.

User comments