The Great Nicotine Debate

The Great Nicotine Debate

I couldn't resist getting into the big Canadian tobacco debate. I tried, but the absurdity of it all has been too much.

Our government is, of course, taking the high moral road with a tobacco control strategy that will "reduce youth access to tobacco products" in the interests of health. The health minister says the new legislation will limit youth access to tobacco products: "We want to emphasize prevention."

The finance minister endorsed the strategy with a deterring federal excise tax increase on tobacco by as much as 70 per cent in some provinces. And the justice minister says the government has been careful to tailor the legislation to conform to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so that no one's rights are violated.

The government of Canada news release distributed nation-wide by Health Canada states, "The use of tobacco products directly contributes to suffering and premature death and to the escalating of health care costs of treating chronic disease. Tobacco also places the lives of millions of Canadians at risk."

Let me say that I hate the use of tobacco. It's an insidious, health-destroying addiction. I hate to see young people smoking. I hate it that, despite all the problems associated with tobacco use, the government still takes tax revenue from its sale. But I also hate the incongruity of the self-righteous stance the government has taken against "the tragic consequences of tobacco addiction."

In a radio interview Mr Dingwall said, "I'm the health minister. When I must make a choice between politics and health. I'm on the side of health."

Mr Health Minister, I'm glad to hear you say so. But I'm confused. Health is more than abstaining from smoking the evil weed. People don't die just from inhaling cigarette smoke, either first or second hand. The problem is lifestyle. If you want to educate young people about the dangers of smoking, include all the other ingredients in the recipe that makes for disease and premature death; chief among them are chemical food additives and denatured food products that cause malnutrition.

What about the misleading advertising from multi-national makers of hydrogenated fat: margarine and shortening? Don't you know that they contribute to heart disease, the primary cause of death in this country?

Where are you, Mr Minister, on the issues of natural, non-invasive medical practice, like EDTA chelation, ozone therapy, antioxidant therapy to prevent free-radical damage? Do you support alternative medical practice? Why have you never taken a strong stand for nutritional therapy to prevent degenerative disease?

Why don't you investigate the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons' persecution of Dr Jozef Krop for his practice of environmental medicine? Is it politically incorrect for you to intervene?

Mr Minister, have you investigated the long-term health implications of the genetic engineering of our food? Are you listening to the lobby group that is protesting food biotechnology? Perhaps you have to keep your political mouth shut on that issue, also.

I should tell you that one of the world's healthiest and longest-lived people group -- the residents of Georgia in Russia -- all smoke into old age. And that's because they live in an unpolluted environment. Exercise is part of their daily lifestyle and they eat nutrient-dense, whole food grown on uncontaminated soil. But you must have read about them.

Mr Minister, I'm afraid I can't believe either in what you're saying or doing. It's politicking. Blowin' in the wind. Pre-election blather. Yours is not an easy job, I know. But you wanted it -- and you've got it! Maybe you're initiating this tobacco strategy in good faith, but I'm afraid you also may be woefully ignorant of the real health issues. It's hard for us consumers to know, but it could be appropriate for you to educate yourself before you embark on a program to educate youth.

Since you have been quick to satisfy the concerns of the anti-smoking lobby in Canada, then give an ear to some of the other letters that come across your desk. I know you receive them because our readers send me copies of what they write you. Like the protest against Codex Alimentarius. I'm told you don't even answer many of these letters. We've never heard anything from you on the human safety of injecting bovine growth hormone into dairy cows and Canadians are still afraid that your government will slip it into legislation while our attention is distracted by something else. Like the tobacco control strategy.

Minister Dingwall, our young people need to be protected from more than multi-national tobacco advertising. They need to be protected from multi-national pharmaceutical companies that push easy-access over-the-counter drugs: companies that control the medical profession and the agricultural industry; multi-national companies that deceive the people with advertising that is actually more insidious than the advertising of tobacco companies because it's government-approved and socially accepted.

Everyone knows that tobacco is not a health benefit. But pharmaceutical drugs are part of our Canadian lifestyle. Young people aren't aware that the drugs they buy over-the-counter at the supermarket or that are prescribed by their physicians can be detrimental to health and life -- just like tobacco.

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Rhody Lake

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