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Legal tobacco has lessons for cannabis law reform

28 January 2004

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Legal tobacco has lessons for cannabis law reformers

The extraordinarily long time it takes to get international agreements to roll back the disastrous public health effects of tobacco serves as a timely reminder as to why cannabis mustn't be decriminalized, Progressive MP Matt Robson says.

"The coalition government's ratification of the World Health Organization-sponsored Framework Convention on Tobacco Control today, which will see the size of health warnings on tobacco products increase, is another progressive step in the war against drugs.

"Nearly five million people die each year from smoking-related illnesses, but the truth is that health professionals and politicians have known for decades about the catastrophic effects of tobacco on people," Matt Robson said.

"The truth is that the tobacco industry, because it is legal and institutionalised, has significant muscle to delay some overseas governments from coming to the party on needed steps to reverse the effects of tobacco abuse.

"Too many overseas governments and politicians are afraid to stand up to the tobacco pushers because the tobacco companies have clout. We'd see the same sort of nonsense from cannabis pushers if that drug was legal. They would be major lobbyists and funders of political party campaigns" Matt Robson said.

"If society had known the dangers of tobacco when tobacco was first discovered, I reckon most sensible people would have demanded it be banned.

"Unfortunately, societies didn't know the dangers of tobacco in the 1700s and 1800s so it is up to current generations to deal with the consequences of the menace of this dangerous, legal drug by progressively reducing the legal options available to producers and consumers of tobacco," the Progressive MP said.

Unlike alcohol, every single puff of tobacco or cannabis is bad for your health. Studies suggest moderate alcohol intake is good for your health: No study has ever suggested moderate intake of cannabis or tobacco are good for your health.


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