Australia’s declining smoking rate

Joseph Jaworski, in his April 21 letter, “Consequences of health planning,” claims that the Australian public health campaign to reduce smoking and drinking has “resulted in an Australian public that is perhaps less heathy (or at least, no healthier) than it was before the campaign.” He links the increased appetite and irritability that comes with quitting smoking to the increases in weight and anxiety that Aussies are feeling.

I’m sure tobacco companies will smile at this claim, as it gives smokers an excuse to avoid quitting smoking.

The truth is that fewer Australians are smoking not because they are quitting and getting fat and anxious, but because they are dying out. At the same time, a packet of smokes in plain olive-green packaging costs $16. Smoking is banned in indoor venues including restaurants, pubs and clubs — all factors making smoking generally uncool. The result is fewer kids are replacing the dying smokers.

Obesity is a problem, anxiety too. But fewer smokers can only be good for a nation’s health, and this is by no means a failure of health policy. However, it is not good for tobacco companies, or for those towns in Japan that produce tobacco.

chris flynn
fukuoka

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.