The United Nations kicked off a two-day event on Monday with the goal of learning the best ways to help curb noncommunicable diseases; which have become the leading causes of death in developing nations.
Statistics show that in 2006, 36 million people worldwide died from a range of diseases that include; heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These diseases are growing in numbers in developing nations who have had life altering changes to their economies like China and India. With urbanization and a new fast paced world, this has created a society like much of the western world that looks for the quick and easy way out. This is especially a problem when it comes to dietary trends in eating processed foods. People who once grew up on and ate all natural foods are moving their diets in the opposite direction which is leading an obesity epidemic.
Along with the dietary tends and a better standard of living comes access to other items that aren’t necessarily healthy either; like tobacco and alcohol. The abuse of these items has been one of the causes that has led to the increase in noncommunicable diseases, and the United Nations feels that something need to be done about it according to CNN :
Death and illness from noncommunicable diseases are greater threats than transmissible diseases like malaria and HIV in every region except Africa, where they are on the rise, according to a U.N. report.
Ban on Monday called for a more comprehensive intervention plan to help reduce the threat, asking for “tobacco-control measures, including raising taxes and bans on advertising and smoking in public places; raising taxes on alcohol and enforcing bans on alcohol advertising; reducing salt intake,” as well as replacing trans fats in foods with polyunsaturated fats.
The United Nation’s answer to the problem is the same answer that every government entity has; tax it and ban it in certain ways. Government’s often feel that they can tax something out of existence or just ban it in areas that people might enjoy using certain products. They fail to look at the bigger picture when it comes to the use of legal drugs, which is that education is the most important tool that government can use. Unfortunately government is not in the business of educating people properly. We see the results of that each and every day in our public school system.
Governments all over the world have no real problem with you going into the privacy of your own home and killing yourself with alcohol and cigarettes. Actually they prefer you do it that way where they don’t have to see you do it. If they can’t see you do it, then obviously you aren’t doing it, so it must not really be a problem at all. Government’s spend so much time raising taxes and banning it in public areas that they forget the most vulnerable people to getting sick from these drugs do it all in the privacy of their own home. No tax can stop them from doing that. As a matter of fact many who are alcoholics and poor will pay the tax and let their kids suffer in their nutrition. Government doesn’t step back to think about this however.
The United Nations and Government rally on the health effects of smoking and alcohol, yet they refuse to address the actual health concern. Their regulations never match up with what they are fighting against. No one seems willing to call them out on this. If the government spent just half the effort in educating people on what these drugs can do as they do taxing them, then we might just be better off as a global society. The truth is though, they secretly want you to keep buying, they want you to keep getting sick because it ultimately keeps them in business. After all, what would big tobacco be without the government there to feed it. What would the pharmaceutical industry be without the government there to feed it.
It’s no coincidence that recent FDA regulations banning flavored tobacco were backed by Phillip Morris. It was a sure fire way for them to knock out all the smaller competition. Did anyone pay attention to how menthol was magically not banned though? It would be a real shame if the African-American community were to stop smoking overnight. We’d surely hate for that to happen. We’re going to ban all flavors , except the ones that are killing a vulnerable class of people. The government sure does care, doesn’t it? The same can be said in the fight for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and how congress made sure that big pharma in the United States was protected from competing drug companies in Canada and abroad. If the government really cared, wouldn’t they want Americans to have access to affordable prescription drugs?
We have a problem here in the United States as well as around the world with our governments. They are all beholden to the idea that they can help people by taxing them and regulating them, because obviously societies are too stupid to take care of themselves. This logic is dangerous and one that will do nothing to rectify the global problem of noncommunicable diseases. If the U.N. countries really wanted to get something done, they would create a global education pact that would teach everyone what can happen to them if they continue down a certain path in life. They might be surprised about how many people really don’t want to end up obese, have blackened lungs, liver transplants, etc.
There will always be those in this world who will do as they please and kill themselves in foolish ways. The job of the government is to not stop these people from doing it. Their job is to educate those who are caught in limbo and unsure of what’s the right path to take in their life, where they don’t end up becoming another statistic.