Published on June 18th, 2012 | by Todd Smekens0
Bath Salts Versus Smoking
While I don’t want to minimize the great police work and incredible coordination within our prosecutors office and public safety officials, I find it ironic that in the same week we shut down six local gas stations due to them selling bath salts to the public, a new study from Ball State University was released finding that 21.2 percent of Hoosiers admit to regularly lighting up a cigarette, a habit costing the state nearly $2.6 billion in productivity losses and $2.2 billion in health care costs each year.
How much are bath salts costing Delaware County? What are the costs to Indiana?
The local newspaper editorial staff made this statement about bath salts, “This junk is poison, and those involved in the distribution and sale of it will face severe consequences.”
In BSU’s Global Health Institutes Report, “We have known for decades that smoking is counterproductive for our health and plays a major role for the spiraling health care costs facing both employees and their employers,” said Kerry Anne McGeary, GHI director and Phyllis A. Miller professor of health economics. “When combined with our reports on obesity and asthma, on average Hoosiers have health issues and engage in health behaviors that put them at risk for future health conditions.”
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) ranks Indiana 42nd out of 50 states for its poor smoking statistics.
An associate said this week that bath salts got the national spotlight because of the “naked face eating zombie” that was shot in Miami several weeks ago.
We’ve been showing pictures of black lungs, cancerous tumors that have eaten away the face, throat, neck, and lungs for decades. Hoosiers continue to line up at the very same gas stations to buy these cancer causing sticks despite the risks, and the cost to our community.
In Dr. McGeary’s report, she pointed out that on average, about 9,700 deaths per year in Indiana are attributable to smoking while the habit is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, accounting for one in five deaths or about 443,000 each year.
One in five deaths are attributed to smoking and yet we turn the other way since it is considered a legal substance. Any attempts at banning smoking in public spaces brings lawsuits and tobacco lobbyists out with suitcases full of money to thwart any government attempts at prohibiting such a deadly and costly product. Big Tobacco spends millions to make sure smokers continue to have access to their products.
Congressmen smile on the cigarette industry in return for the right to keep their hands in the deep pockets of the tobacco lobby; magazines and newspapers look the other way rather than lose their major advertisers; and of course smokers themselves keep the whole enterprise going by continuing to waste their money and their health.
Tobacco kills half of its users. Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco (WHO, 2011).
What’s worse is our own writers at Muncie Voice from the Tobacco Free Coalition of Delaware County have reported that tobacco companies aim their advertising at our young people. Indeed, 75 percent of all smokers are hooked before the age of 21.
And, these very same media companies like Gannett who come forth and praise the riddance of bath salts from our community, look the other way regarding tobacco. It’s so bad, that most publications that depend on cigarette advertising bend over backward to favor the tobacco industry. Even though they know their product is aiming their advertisement at young kids with the hopes of causing them to become addicted to the drug they peddle – nicotine.
So, while we applaud our community for waging war on bath salts, let’s not lose sight of the most dangerous drug killing Hoosiers – smoking nicotine laden cigarettes peddled by Big Tobacco and pushed on the public by Big Media.