I am normally the last person you will ever find defending any policy put forward by the brutal, repressive regime that is Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Of course, there is something I detest even more than a corrupt, brutal dictatorship posing as a Socialist Paradise. That something includes tobacco products, the stench the pollution caused by burning tobacco products, the risks of second-hand smoke, and the public health risks posed by tobacco products. In this case, it would appear that Cuba is getting it right.
Like any Third World country, Cuba is spectacularly ill-equipped to deal with the burgeoning public health crisis posed by exposure to tobacco products. From a purely financial standpoint, the Cuban government has a clear stake in promoting the well-being of it’s populace and working to wean its subjects off of tobacco.
Though Cuba has a fairly well-advanced health care system for a faltering economic basket case, a lack of hard currency reserves will hinder its ability to treat the growing number of smokers who fall ill. Since health care is considered to be a basic right in any socialist economy, Cuba faces a situation in which an increasing percentage of it’s annual budget will be eaten up by caring for those with preventable diseases and cancers.
HAVANA √≥ Cuba banned smoking in public places day, as the government of the country known for its famous cigars acknowledged the health risk of tobacco.
Smoking will be banned in restaurants, except in designated smoking areas, and cigarette machines also will be removed. The law will also suspend sales of cigarettes to children under age 16 and at stores less than 100 yards from schools.
According to government statistics, four of every 10 Cubans smoke, and 30 percent of the 15,000 deaths from preventable cancers each year can be linked to smoking….
The resolution said the move was “taking into account the damage to human health caused by the consumption of cigarettes and cigars, with the objective of contributing to a change in the attitudes of our population.”
Any government needs to take stock of the resources at their disposal and then determine how best to allocate them. In Cuba’s case, that choice is well on the way to being taken out of the government’s hands. In a worst case scenario, diseases and cancers caused by tobacco products may ultimately contribute to the demise of Cuban Communism. As more and more money is diverted to treating smokers and those impacted by second-hand smoke, less money will be available for defense, foreign policy, and indoctrinating Cubans.
It’s rather ironic to think about, really…the thing that could ultimately bring down Castro’s corrupt and brutal regime could be the same thing that kills off so many Cubans. Of course, even if this worst-case scenario doesn’t come to pass, there is the likelihood that eventually Castro won’t even have that many Cubans left to repress. Talk about a diminishing empire….