The Acts of the Democracies
|Type of Drug||
in UK in 1999
Deaths from alcohol include violence and vehicle accidents.
The biggest drug killer is tobacco. 20% of all deaths in the UK are from tobacco related diseases. Indeed, more people die by breathing other peoples' tobacco smoke (passive smoking) than die from all illegal drugs.
In 1998 the UK tobacco industry generated over $16,000 million in tax revenue.
The UK tobacco company, British American Tobacco (BAT), sells cheap, highly addictive cigarettes to Africa with higher levels of tar and nicotine than those permitted in the West. In a letter to its offices in Uganda, BAT declares that it "does not believe that cigarette smoking is harmful to health" and that the company "should not wish to endanger our potential to export to those countries which do not have a health warning on the packs".
A documentary on the UK television station BBC states: "We cannot police the world. We cannot stop [heroin] supplies. We can only limit the demand for it by producing a decent society that people want to live in, not escape from."
In the USA, over 300,000 people are killed by tobacco every year; worldwide the figure is 4 million (5% of all deaths). Tobacco is a carcinogen (causes cancer) and is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths.
The annual USA death rate for alcohol is 200,000.
In 1985, 3562 deaths were recorded from all illegal drugs combined. 99% of deaths from substance abuse are due to alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol is a factor in 40% of the 50,000 annual traffic deaths.
In 1989 the tobacco industry in the USA asked their government to impose sanctions on Thailand unless the country removed restrictions on import of USA grown tobacco. They declared that the restrictions were a bar on free trade. Thailand had seen a decline in tobacco smoking after a fifteen year campaign. During the hearing, the USA declared that their tobacco was the best in the world. Thailand responded that "in the Golden Triangle we have some of the best products, but we never ask the principle of free trade to govern such products. In fact we supressed them".
Japan, South Korea and Taiwan had already been coerced in a similar way. Taiwan had managed to cut smoking until the threat of sanctions. The smoking rate went up by 10% after American tobacco was imported.
In the USA, exports of tobacco go up by 20% (making the country $ 5,000 million every year) while smoking goes down by 5%.
The Singapore newspaper, The Straits Times notes that it finds it "hard to reconcile the fact that the Americans are threatening trade sanctions against countries that try to keep out [USA] tobacco products" with their efforts to reduce smoking at home.
According to Peter Bourne (director of the Office of Drug Abuse Policy in the USA): "...the number of Colombians dying each year from subsidised North American tobacco products is significantly larger than the number of North Americans felled by Colombian cocaine".
Everett Koop, the USA Surgeon General states: "When we are pleading with foreign governments to stop the flow of cocaine, it is the height of hypocrisy for the United States to export tobacco".