Economic costs of smoking effect us all

RE: War on tobacco undermining its cause, Jan 6
People are free to make choices for themselves so long as those choices do not infringe on the basic rights of others.

“It is estimated that smoking-related diseases cost Canada $3 billion per year in direct health care expenses. This does not include the cost of lost productivity, increased insurance premiums and other indirect expenses, which increase the cost of tobacco use in society to $11 billion annually.” And they don’t pay for themselves. An earlier study suggests smokers cost $15 tax billion while contributing only $7.8 billion. Leaving the rest of us to make up the shortfall.
As a person who contributes to that tax base and certainly you will to at some point Mr. Merkley.

High taxation and education are at the forefront of good policy on fighting activities that have a high cost. Smoking contributes to more than 37,000 deaths a year in Canada, of which almost 11,000 are heart disease and stroke-related. Almost 6,300 non-smokers die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoking is responsible for 14.54 per cent of all heart disease and stroke deaths.

If current rates of tobacco use continue, approximately 1 million Canadians will die over the next 20 years as a direct result of smoking and second-hand smoke.
While I think your point on watching the careful line of price and black market is good, your last paragraph on individual choice has serious flaws and reads like a throw- away paragraph.
—Matt Symes