Today, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. It leads to around six million deaths per year, and trends show that will rise to more than eight million by 2030.
Australians are ditching cigarettes at record levels, and it is down to the fact that they have some of the world’s toughest anti-smoking laws. Each year they clamp down further on smoking in public places. They now target the tiny corners that other nations might overlook – from playgrounds to railway platforms to taxi ranks. They also have some of the world’s most expensive cigarette prices, strict laws on plain packaging and a heavily curated, million dollar media campaign. Most recently, the government have invested in a digital mobile phone app that acts as a personal support buddy on a smoker’s journey to quitting.
However, these laws are under fire from critics who question the right of governments to control behaviours. They are seen as infringements on rights to freedom and privacy – and lead smokers to feel marginalised from society. This criticism reached a climax when recent attempts to ban smoking in prisons led to some of the worst riots in recent history.
Drawing evidence from experts and the smokers across Sydney who are affected by these policies, Martha Lane Fox and Henrietta Moore – together with Sara Hitchman of the International Tobacco Control Project – debate whether Australia have cracked the solution to curb smoking.
The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”Read More
On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.Read More
In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.Read More