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December 1, 2008 2:07 PM   Subscribe

"For the first time on record, the rate of new cancer cases and the cancer death rate are both falling in America. There appear to be several reasons why this is happening, but perhaps the most important is also the simplest: Over the past several decades, men started smoking less." But is obesity the tobacco of the 21st century? Well, Hollywood has tobacco's back. How to lower smoking rates? Taxing cigarettes is the single-most effective way to lower smoking rates, particularly among youth. Check out the correlation on this map.
posted by cashman (33 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't care how high the taxes raise the price, I'll steal your TV to get money for my damn cigarettes.
posted by jonmc at 2:20 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Taxing cigarettes is the single-most effective way to lower smoking rates, particularly among youth.

What the smoking rate on and near reservations? You can buy a carton of 10 packs for 16 bucks from the Tuscaroras in NY, but off the res cigarettes cost 6.50 per pack.
posted by pracowity at 2:24 PM on December 1, 2008


I didn't really see any convincing data that taxing cigarettes actually caused the decline in smoking rates. Intuitively, I'm sure it does have some effect, but claiming it is the most effective way seems to be an overstatement, at least based on what is linked here (and linked from the pages linked in the post).
posted by snofoam at 2:32 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't care how high the taxes raise the price, I'll steal your TV to get money for my damn cigarettes.

I believe you may have forgotten which website you are on. We have no TVs.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 2:34 PM on December 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


And yet we will all still die.
posted by SaintCynr at 2:35 PM on December 1, 2008


And yet we will all still die.

"All you health nuts will feel real stupid sitting in the old folks home, dying from nothing." - Redd Foxx
posted by jonmc at 2:39 PM on December 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


So the AMA has gotten to you too, huh?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:41 PM on December 1, 2008


Only 10% of smokers will develop lung cancer in their lifetime . . . . - Joanne B. Weidhaas, MD, PhD, assistant professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine.
posted by theroadahead at 2:41 PM on December 1, 2008


I believe you may have forgotten which website you are on. We have no TVs.

Then we'll steal your Prius.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:47 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Then we'll steal your Prius.

We'll steal their damn iPhone. We're psychotic Nicheads, we have NicBabies....
posted by jonmc at 2:54 PM on December 1, 2008


There are many issues associated with this arguement. Example: why should I pay health costs for those too dumb to give up an addiciton that causes a number of heatlth problems (in addition to cancer)? But one thing that had caught my interest some time ago: many many films show all sorts of people smoking. there was a suggestion that for people to smoke in a film should make the film restricted so as to keep our glorious youth from identifying with cool dudes indulging in reefer madness. Or, barring that, why not make sure that in films smokers do not get laid; only vegans do.
posted by Postroad at 2:55 PM on December 1, 2008


Only 10% of smokers will develop lung cancer in their lifetime . . .

Well, golly! Only 10%, eh? That means my chances of getting lung cancer while smoking are only one in ten! That's awesome - now all I need to worry about are the high blood pressure, emphysema, angina, heart attacks and strokes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:01 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Aw, hell. Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease, eat, drink, smoke, snort, inject and fuck anything you damned well please and don't whine about the consequences.
posted by jonmc at 3:07 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


We're getting fat because we quit smoking.
Just can't win.
posted by idiotfactory at 3:12 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


why should I pay health costs for those too dumb to give up an addiction that causes a number of health problems (in addition to cancer)?

Probably because everyone does something risky, so you'd have non-drivers saying they ought to pay less than drivers, slow drivers saying they ought to pay less than speeders, light eaters saying they ought to pay less than burger-pounding fat bastards, non-drinkers saying they ought to pay less than drinkers, abstinent people saying they ought to pay less than promiscuous people, people whose relatives have not died of condition X saying they ought to pay less than people whose relatives have died of condition X, and so on. It would be a giant legal battle involving all sorts of industries flinging around all sorts of conflicting statistics. And how would you track everyone's behavior? What if it were a hundred variables per person, and you couldn't trust self-reporting, but there were something like 300 million people in your country and all of them were already paranoid about their privacy and constitutional rights?
posted by pracowity at 3:15 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


why should I pay health costs for those too dumb to give up an addiciton that causes a number of heatlth problems (in addition to cancer)?

I'm a fat, whiskey drinking, smoker - gimmee your money!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:16 PM on December 1, 2008


We're getting fat because we quit smoking.
Just can't win.


I personally recommend the Nicorette Microtab - a sublingual pill that melts under your tongue. Inhalors - oral and nasal - just never gave me a big enough boost, chewing gum gave me an upset stomach, and the patch? Ha! The microtabs are awesome. I swear by them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:18 PM on December 1, 2008


Most smokers die of smoking-related heart disease, not lung cancer. That's about 50% from what I recall. And we've not yet mentioned emphysema, COPD, other kinds of cancers, etc.

But what I find interesting is that with all the hysteria about "chemicals" causing cancer and the horrors of our modern diet, etc. etc., the rates are going down.

Also, by dying young, smokers and fat people actually save the system money according to this study.

You might be expensive while you're dying, but you're cheaper than paying health costs for someone else for an additional 20-30 years, especially if they get something expensive like Alzheimer's.

That's not to say you shouldn't quit-- and you know who I mean!
posted by Maias at 3:22 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smoking's bad, m'kay? Didn't we just do this for the latest time less than two weeks ago?
posted by longsleeves at 3:24 PM on December 1, 2008


*blows smoke in longsleeves face*
posted by jonmc at 3:46 PM on December 1, 2008


*consults actuarial tables*
posted by longsleeves at 4:21 PM on December 1, 2008


As a smoker, I just wish they'd ban the suckers.
posted by Jimbob at 4:22 PM on December 1, 2008


I don't have any references to the paper (and I think it is different than the one linked)....but when I took health economics a few years ago: smoking rates in youth were reduced by increasing cigarette prices. It was a lag function and you saw the effects over many years. Youth are most susceptible to small price changes. Increasing taxes didn't change the adult rate of smoking because they had disposable income to cover it.

I know that is basically what the linked article states, but increasing taxes is the key to get people (read youth or future people who will be a lung cancer statistics) to stop smoking.
posted by sety at 4:55 PM on December 1, 2008


It's worth noting that while lung cancer in men is trending downward, it's trending up among women. Lung cancer incidence and/or death rates among women increased in 18 states, 16 of them in the South or Midwest, where, on average, the prevalence of smoking was higher and the annual percentage decrease in current smoking among adult women was lower than in the West and Northeast. California was the only state with decreasing lung cancer incidence and death rates in women. I've heard some theories that the Virginia Slims ads of the 60's - 80's that targeted women are showing up now in cancers in elderly women (age and smoking increasing their risks).

That wsj article is a little misleading, I think - not mentioning that while they link to that exact same study.
posted by dog food sugar at 5:29 PM on December 1, 2008


When I die, I am requiring that, when my will is read, there shall be included a list of every non-smoker I personally knew, who died before me.
posted by Dark Messiah at 5:30 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Only 10% of smokers will develop lung cancer in their lifetime . . . .

Pick a number from one to ten. Oh, and if you guess the number I'm thinking of I'm going to rip your throat out with my teeth and then spit it in your face. Only $5 a chance. I mean, come on, odds are you'll be fine.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:43 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure everyone saying "you'll die someday anyway" would be more than happy to eat a gun right now. I mean, you'll die someday anyway, right?
posted by DU at 6:02 PM on December 1, 2008


Pick a number from one to ten. Oh, and if you guess the number I'm thinking of I'm going to rip your throat out with my teeth and then spit it in your face. Only $5 a chance. I mean, come on, odds are you'll be fine.

But if I don't guess your number, will I get to inhabit a delightful world of feathery grey aromas that gently envelop me like a warm embrace on a frosty day?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:54 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


The worst thing about smoking isn't that it shortens your life, it's that the end of your life is generally really shitty. Dying of things like emphysema, lung cancer, throat cancer are really awful ways to go. My dad finally quit smoking at the age of 63 after spending three weeks in the cardiac care unit of the local hospital and ended up spending the last ten years of his life with about 25% heart function carrying around an oxygen bottle and being rushed to the emergency room every couple of months when his lungs filled with liquid because his damaged heart couldn't pump it out. My mom has survived lung cancer, although she now only has 1 and a third lungs, but the smoking contributed heavily to the vascular dementia that she now suffers from. At the not very old age of 75 my mom, a former medical administrator with an IQ of 140 is now living in a managed care home and doesn't know her grandchildren's names or what day it is.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 PM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]



Only 10% of smokers will develop lung cancer in their lifetime . . . . - Joanne B. Weidhaas, MD, PhD, assistant professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine.


As was explained to me, no, not all smokers get lung cancer. But mostly, people get lung cancer because of smoking, and lung cancer has a very, very high mortality rate.
posted by Comrade_robot at 8:04 PM on December 1, 2008


Yeah, I got my cool out of it. Definitely done with smoking. Definitely not going out like that.

It's ceased to be enjoyable, and as my own mortality has recently become apparent to me, so I'll be treating it more like mortality from now on.
posted by saysthis at 12:58 AM on December 2, 2008


Pick a number from one to ten. Oh, and if you guess the number I'm thinking of I'm going to rip your throat out with my teeth and then spit it in your face. Only $5 a chance. I mean, come on, odds are you'll be fine.

I'm an excellent liar. What do I get to do to you if you guess wrong?
posted by The Light Fantastic at 1:12 AM on December 2, 2008


Wow, octothorpe. What a powerful comment. My heart goes out to you and your family.
posted by dog food sugar at 8:53 PM on December 2, 2008


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