for my blog blagostanje.com (wellness.com in serbian) i did like a 5 min research and it was enough to figure out how messed up the whole tobacco industry is and what kind of effects it has on the economy of an entire country.
the problem is hardly the health. individuals should be allowed to do anything they want to do anyway. it is up to them (us) to choose whats is good or bad for us.
the problem is in the money.
first government subsidizes the tobacco producers so they can keep the prices low and the quality high. this is done so the biggest tobacco companies would be happy and would not fire some 3000 people working for them in serbia.
second problem is that even though all major tobacco companies like philip morris, british american tobacco and japan tobacco international (first japanese investment in serbia) are present in serbia, the serbian market still requires importing of tobacco products. this creates a deficit of some 75 million euros which is not much but once you add this to another hundred things a nation could do without than it starts to be a problem. any deficit is a problem.
and third, most annoying and hardly ever openly discussed cost are the medical costs of a nation whose immune system is so down that they have to go to a state subsidized doctor every few months and take state subsidized medicines almost constantnly. smoking lowers the immunity drastically. people who smoke are sick like ten times more than non-smokers. not to mention the whole collection of illnesses awaiting for them at the later stage, say after 35 or so. lung cancer and heart attack are the most common killers.
i can not even imagine how a poor and messed up country like serbia is able to sustain this level of costs for much longer. smoking is obviously a huge burden on the budget in every sence. the only people who do get any profit from this are the big international tobacco companies and the society pays. even the non-smokers have to to support the smokers through taxes. i can bitch as much as i want against smoking but once i pay taxes a substantial amount goes to support the whole tobacco addiction. crazy frustrating!
the hammering the tobacco companies have been getting in places like usa is probably just an itch for them. ever since they expanded in countries like russia, china and smaller countries like serbia they dont even have to bother with the usa market. in countries like serbia the government is more than willing to support the tobacco industry as much as they can.
just as the mafia guys on arrival in cuba in godfather part 2 say: finally we are in a place where we have the government support.
and it took me like 5 mins to find docs about all this and no one else talks about it.