Disclaimer is that I am a smoker. And I enjoy smoking. So, if it is perceived that I am defending my habit of Smoking, it is okay for me. I do regular check ups and by the grace of The Almighty, I am in perfect health.
I understand that the statistics proves that smoking causes serious diseases like cancer. However, it is also a fact that for time eternal, people have suffered from diseases like cancer having smoked or not having smoked. We have a member in our family; my cousin, Dr. Ms. Mausimi Majumdar, who has never smoked in her life. Her whole adult life was spent doing research on cancer as she had lost her mother to cancer. Yet, she lost her fight against cancer at the tender age of 36. We have yet another member in our family; the mother-in-law of my brother-in-law, who is at the stage 4 of her cancer treatment. She has also never smoked in her life.
There are many reasons for people to fall sick. I have heard of people who have died having fallen off their bed. So, you cannot make a law that everyone must sleep on the floor. The makers of beds would run out of business and their families would perish.
People must have the basic right to make their own choices. Everyone must be educated sufficiently and correctly so that he/she is able to make the best decisions for himself/herself keeping the interest of the society in mind. Everyone must be treated like an adult who knows what is good and what is bad for himself or herself. I find it very difficult to tell my daughters; now that they have grown up; what is the best choice in life for them. I merely present the ideas and options that I can conceive and that I know and they are free to make their own decision about what they want to do. As a parent, I try to tell them the pros and the cons from my perspective. And I emphasise that it is only my perception based on my experiences in life and this cannot be treated as the final truth or the normal as my experiences will be a fraction percentage of the total truth in this universe.
I believe that the Governments have found an easy technique by imposing laws like excess taxation on Tobacco products for earning more money from the public. It is no secret that every time the Government (I only know about India sufficiently) wants to cut their budget deficit, they first turn to imposing higher taxes on Tobacco products. I am not sure at all whether health of the human lives in the country is any consideration at all. If human lives was the primary consideration, the Government would have spent more on education and health care as against spending on Armed Forces.
If the Government is serious about the human capital, they should invest in finding solutions to curing people who suffer due to their smoking habit. The good Engineers always find a solution keeping the constraints as it is. Anybody could design a solution, if he/she could take away all the negative impacts of the problem. In my job, I cannot tell business to slow down just because only then I could deliver a quality product. I need Engineering so that I create quality products while maintaining the need for speed of the business. Can I ever guarantee that the business would thrive if they slowed down and I created the best products?
We cannot take away the fact that not all smokers die of cancer. Also, the fact cannot be ignored that not all people dying of cancer are smokers. Yes, it is important to expose people to awareness that there are strong possibilities for smoker to be diagnosed with cancer at a later part of their lives. But then the Government should stop there. It should be left to the person to decide for himself or herself.