It's really frustrating that, in the first two visualizations, whose only difference is that one shows data for women, and the other shows data for men, they chose to use two different color scales. It makes it difficult to compare between the two.
For example, if you weren't paying close attention to the scales, you might easily get the impression that a greater proportion of women than men smoke in France and Chile.
For instance: Secondhand smoke deaths by age 
They show absolute numbers. You can see that for 70+ year olds, the quantity is increasing at 2016 compared to 2010 and 2005. But, how do we know that it is because the rate is increasing, or just because there are more 70+ year olds? If they had shown each age range divided by the total amount of people in the age range, it would have prevented this.
Every time I see absolute numbers in any kind of data visualization, immediately an alarm goes off I start to analyze whether that makes sense or they needed percentages, and many many times they messed up.
I used to smoke a pack a day and I'm glad I don't anymore.
I wonder (and if someone on HN knows how, please share) if you were to track use and abuse of pills, stimulants (including things like 5 hour energy), cannabis and other forms of what’s becoming not-so-recreational drug usage — what would we find?
My takeaway is American drug usage has been shaped by a lot of socio economic factors that do not have human or societal health ramifications. There needs to be a total, science-backed overhaul of drug policy for this reason.
I don’t know who “we” is, but don’t count me in that group.
And that’s by frequency.
That’s by potency.
Sure. Don’t get me wrong. Nicotine is bad for you, so is Alcohol, but it doesn’t make you do this: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_cannibal_attack
Your article supports my premise.
If you need me to post people doing horrible things while drunk or tobacco related death statistics I'm happy to do so as a counterargument.
Also, 5 hour energy is just caffeine and I highly doubt that caffeine usage in the US has changed significantly (from ubiquitous) over the past few decades.
The problem is that obesity is a complex problem. Not everyone who is overweight is a lazy person who eats Doritos on the couch wile watching daytime tv and wondering why they’re so overweight.
Smoking was easy: with extremely rare exception, smokers get lung cancer. Period. Smoking is one of the very few personal behaviors that basically guarantees you will get cancer. It also has the side benefit of annoying the living daylights out of people who don’t smoke which creates social pressure against it. It was pretty much a slam dunk.
Possibly...I see it more as a matter of education and at the end of the day personal choice. I suspect that for the price of a basic McDonald's meal you could get enough potatoes/pasta, cheese and frozen peas to feed an entire family.
I concur with your thoughts on the addictive nature of some of the foods. But that is slightly misleading. Generally speaking our bodies enjoy fat, sugar, etc no need to fight it. Again I'd rather focus on empowering (or at least trying to) people to make informed decisions regardless of what's being peddled at them ;-)
Let's stop treating people who eat what they want as children who don't have the willpower to decide for themselves (or like heroin addicts).
You want a simple solution? Tax food based on sugar content, and tunnel those extra billions into some meaningful part of healthcare system. Make obvious junk food more expensive. Of course this won't happen so easily, but even marginal steps can save hundreds/thousands of lives.
That's a really negative spin. Think of single parents who work two jobs, and barely have time to sleep. Shopping, planning meals, and cooking all take time. Stopping at MacDs and buying 99cent meals on the way home from work is way easier. Food that's bad for you, especially sugary soft drinks, should be taxed to cost a premium to encourage businesses to make their food healthier.
None of those are bad things (except salt if you have existing health conditions, and even then it may be a lack of potassium rather than an excess of salt). The single worst part of fast food is probably the sugar content. Mostly soda, but it's also added to nearly everything (a fast food bun I had the other day was ridiculously sweet).
Before WWII, the US was primarily an agricultural economy. People worked hard, without much automation, and food was comparatively expensive. IMO lack of physical exertion is a huge part of the problem, if only because of the discipline it builds and the reduced opportunities to snack.
Interestingly, the anti-smoking crowd won by convincing the public that absolutely any amount of smoking is so harmful to yourself and (crucially!) everyone around you that consuming even the smallest amounts is unconscionable. That's obviously untrue, but it's a very successful narrative (so successful that I suspect most of you will bristle at the suggestion that it's not true).
This was crucial because it convinced people that: 1) no, moderation isn't acceptable; and 2) every bit of intake is harming somebody else.
A truthful campaign couldn't have made these two arguments and so wouldn't have been as successful.
However, it really isn’t anyone’s business if I’m fat. You could argue health insurance is a shared risk pool, but under that logic, we’d be giving the government the right to dictate every aspect of your life and I am not willing up to give that freedom. Because why stop there — why not have the government mandate hours of sleep or require morning group exercises or require that you get married (since studies have shown that married people have lower heart disease risks.) It could get absurd, but the moment you let the government control even something small, it just keeps growing until we are quite literally Nazi germany where only “ideal” people are allowed to breed or receive permission to open businesses or get desirable jobs.
I’d rather a fat, free society where you can smoke if you want or drink whisky every night than a “healthy” society where the government literally monitors your every breath.
We talk about digital privacy with almost religious conviction, yet when it comes to things like public health, many are willing to let the government sit down with you at the dinner table.
“Get the government out of the bedroom..” I agree. I also want them out of every other room of my house as well. Government’s role is to provide shared infrastructure that is impractical for private individuals to provide for themselves. Government’s role is to have a legal system where contracts can be enforced. It’s role is also to provide for a common defense: protecting property, protecting us from crime. In short, a government’s job is to protect liberty. It isn’t government’s job to tell people what to consume. We saw Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and now Venenzuela, why the hell would we ever want a government so ubiquitous and powerful that it could descend into such totalitarianism?
I have no problem with government providing for the destitute or providing public goods, but I have a huge problem with the government attempting to regulate the freedom of the individual under the guise that it’s “good” for society. Because “good for society” in Nazi Germany evolved into killing millions of people. It’s all incremental, the march towards a complete Orwellian nightmare. Russians never imagined that Bolshevism would lead to the horrors of the KGB and NKVD. Purges were never expected. Cubans never expected that supporting the revolution would mean millions of them would end up in prison or executed for thought crimes.
As far as “good for the economy” — the US economy got so powerful because of freedom; start messing with that and you could disrupt the very foundation upon which the largest economy in the world was built.
Sure, let’s fat shame — but let’s leave the government far out of it.
For instance, Australian adults are free to smoke cigarettes. But companies operating in Australia are not allowed to sell cigarettes without conforming to various restrictions and regulations. Those aren't the same thing.
So the analogy here would be that Coca-Cola is freely allowed to sell their goods, but (a) they're not allowed to advertise them and (b) when they sell them, they should say something like "sugary beverages cause diabetes" (if that's the valid and analogous claim) and show a picture of person with a foot that needs amputating.
If you still want to buy a coke when the bottle looks like a scene from a horror show, you'd be allowed to. But they'd have to give you a reasonable assessment of the consequences of drinking this beverage (which are generally not becoming a hot fit 20 year old on the beach). (Assuming that there is a valid link between regular consumption of sugary beverages and obesity-related health problems - it's not a topic I've specifically investigated but it seems to be the general assumption.)
You are making a non-sensical slippery slope argument. Heroin has been prohibited for a long time in the US, yet it hasn't turned into Nazi Germany.
Every government controls more than something small. Very few of them ever turn into Nazi Germany. So, no, I don't think that slippery slope is a useful guideline for evaluating real world questions.
Looking at the consumption/events chart (https://ourworldindata.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Annual...) it doesn't look like any of those efforts was particularly causal. Some like nicotine medication being available seem to have even slowed the decline.
Well, also there's been a lot of news events around the issue since 2015, which led to the elimination of the exemption, so its quite possible there have been signficant movements in attitudes in the last three years.
I would love to see hotspots of places where people have no religion - not even atheist... just none.
I sit not just corrected, but fairly shocked.
What I have not seen, but would like to, is data for other states.
One in 10 Australian parents believe that vaccines can cause autism, and a another 30 per cent are unsure
To anyone reading this as a smoker. Quit the fucking thing. You won't miss it and there are ways to quit that aren't as harsh as cold turkey. Just seek medical advice and move on.
After a short recovery, it was like he was 10 years younger. Previously he would get winded just from tying his shoelaces, a combined effect of the smoking and constricted blood flow.
After recovering, it was like he got a new lease on life, he started getting into cooking healthier food, he started exercising and he even started playing the drums again. He's never been particularly open about his feelings, but I think it was a real eye opener for him, to face his own mortality and realizing that he'd been working way too much and not taking proper care of himself. His own dad died around the same age, also from a heart attack, which also made me realize that I have to watch my cholesterol and exercise more.
My dad turns 61 this October, and he's doing better than ever, fit as a fiddle, goes running and swimming every week. I'm glad he got a relatively mild warning and heeded it, otherwise he probably wouldn't be here today. And I'm glad medical technology had advanced to a point where they could save him, unlike his dad.
I quit smoking for love, but I miss it every time I think of it. Nonsmokers have no idea what they're missing. It's sheer bliss. The sooner we can figure out how to have noncarcinogenic smoke, the better.
Personally I would still never smoke, if nothing else because I've had to clean out the tar and gunk from old televisions and stuff. That shit is nasty.
They hardly drank(liquor) and it was their ownly vice, knowing it's still bad for them but could be doing worse.
How is that different from failing to quit?
New Zealand and Australia have made massive efforts to reduce their rates of smokers. They both have plain packaging, tobacco products aren't allowed to be visibly on sale (in New Zealand, they won't even tell you what they have, you have to guess and hope they have it in stock). They also have the most expensive tobacco in the world. A 25 pack of Marlboros will set you back AU$32 (US$23).
That doesn't seem right that the USA, which has in general put a lot less restrictions on tobacco and has much cheaper tobacco, has a lower incidence of smokers than Australia or New Zealand.
Anecdotally, most daily smokers I know aren't smoking 20 a day either.
This was based on WHO data published in 2016.
According to the same article, the rate had dropped to under 13% in Australia in 2016. The CDC put the US 2016 rate at 15.5% .
I don't smoke, but a pack in CA is, according to DDG, US$8. For comparison, 25 x US$8 = US$200.
In Australia, it's US$23 for a pack of 25 cigarettes. Not a carton of 25 packs of cigarettes.
It only being men also suggests it isn't a suddent economic change like lifting tobacco taxes. Some cultural change suddenly made it cool for only men to smoke (again).
Is Mad Men running on every channel?
Every man I know smokes. That's not an exaggeration. It's ridiculously cheap, and with incredibly low income for most of the population, its the only vice that's allowed for most people.
A couple of guys on an island in the middle of nowhere once said it helps with the mosquito's (they also keep large fires lit for the same reason) but not sure if anyone else thinks that.
Do they all smoke kretek cigarettes?
Smoking is a big and growing business over there.
My state in Brazil banned cigarettes inside buildings when I was very young so going out and coming back smelling like a chimney was like going back in time.
Contrast that with the UK where tobacco is hidden behind shutters and only available from a separate kiosk area.
I wonder if having it openly displayed at checkouts removes the mystery (and hence its appeal) or just serves to make it an impulse purchase?
Needs to be severely reduced or banned altogether.
Seeing 15 year olds smoke is a huge societal failure.
In most EU countries, anti-smoking campaigns are frequent, packs must show huge labels with death warnings, advertising is illegal, as well as smoking in public enclosed spaces.
Still, the trend is downward in all countries.
I'm more worried about the non smoker countries which the tobacco companies are seeing as new territories to conquer.
John Oliver did a good segment about that two years ago https://youtu.be/6UsHHOCH4q8?t=239
> Seeing 15 year olds smoke is a huge societal failure.
Yes and no. General trends suggest they are smoking less and drinking less alcohol compared to previous generations. It probably just stands out more relative to the general population. Alas, youth is lost on the young :-)
society is burdened in the 50% chance scenario that they develop lung cancer, alongside other medical problems which smoking exacerbates as well as being a contributory factor to others.
To be more succinct, there's a large difference between a person requiring lengthy treatment for lung cancer(hospital + morgue) before ultimately dying compared to somebody dying due to old age(morgue).
No risk or unknown risks? Last I looked into it there was no research on the health effects of smoking < 5 cigarettes a day either.
Also the “number of daily smokers” plot makes no sense in absolute terms, and really seems like it ought to be per capita.
Lots of questionable data viz here, plus some graphs clearly copied and pasted from elsewhere.
COPD: "Long-term exposure to lung irritants that damage the lungs and the airways usually is the cause of COPD." - nhlbi.nih.gov
I worry about the vaping trend I think there is going to be a massive amount of people diagnosed with COPD in 30 or 40 years.
It's always good to quit but as with genetics people are different. A few rare cases where a person smokes until their 90s and never seems to be affected. But I'd say most people who smoke are not so lucky. Sure maybe in the short term and yes it's great for the ex-smoker and the people around them but late in life illnesses pile up and COPD is a big risk.
My dad smoked but quit around age 30 now he has two lung diseases: COPD and IPF. It's possible one or both are related to his work as an oiler on a ship. He was always around fumes, dust, paint, exhaust but his smoking probably had a lasting effect too.
but I did not see the same think in Japan (I am not sure about other countries)
It would be instructive to do an image search for "Australian cigarette packaging" if you want to see exactly what they look like. I gather a lot of smokers like to use boxes to put their cigarette boxes in so they don't have to see them, but I don't know any smokers so that's just hearsay.
Also people buy smokes they like the taste of, the packaging/brand had/has no effect on what people buy.
As far as I understood, the point was to make the packaging less enticing to potential new customers?
And advertising that merely told you they have a product rather than showing unlikely circumstances - or at least had to depict the likely uses of the product. Car ads that sit in traffic rather than zooming through the city. Coke drinkers that struggle to stay awake in the office rather than take a ride in Santa's sleigh in a winter wonderland.
Fake news move over. You've already been outdone.
An interesting side effect of plain packaging is that it's made the prevalence of illegally imported cigarettes much more noticeable. There's a fair amount tobacco smuggled in from Indonesia and SE Asia, and you can notice it now because the smuggled packs of smokes still have branding on them.
A single pack can cost 11$ CAD to 15.50$ CAD, with cartons costing ~100$ or higher.
Where as in the US you can find 5-8$ pack, and cartons as low as $30$ USD.
The chart shows Canada and USA in the same price/color category.
Canada has been taxing more, and price keeps going up to curb smoking.
Currently trying to implement basic plain packaging.
I would say alot of teens are skipping cigs and straight to vaping.
Where as many adults are quiting cigs or switching to vaping.
I also know of people who increased cannabis use to cut down/stop smoking cigs.
Someone else noted the effectiveness of nicotine... Which is misunderstood.
I am someone who use to smoke a pack a day, to vaping for oral fixation.
My nicotine intake increased with vaping, but the satisfaction was not the same.
The satisfaction in cigs comes from mix in nicotine and increase in carbon monoxide in blood stream mainly.
If anyone is trying to quit, suggest reading: Alan Carr - easy way to quit smoking.
Has helped many people including myself in understanding the sensations and what little control it has over you really.
Maybe smoking in public is more common in China/Asia?
There was also a lot of questions regarding nicotine being used to cope with other issues since nicotine is pretty effective.
The tobacco companies just charging more and blaming the tax... Turkey, France, Chile, Finland have tax contribution of over 80% !!
Shame because I otherwise loved my time there.
Portugal, ten years ago.
"Relativism" doesn't excuse their behavior. Smoking inside is disgusting and known to be mildly dangerous for fifty years.
Is this skewed data or do a lot of people die there for other reasons?