Food as the new tobacco

philip morris.jpg

Do you think that when Phillip Morris bought Kraft in 1988, they had any idea it would come to this?

In some circles, it was assumed Philip Morris bought Kraft as a chance to associate itself with something more wholesome, more family oriented, more life giving than tobacco.

So what happens? Food becomes the tobacco of the 21st century.

According to a recent report, the increasing number of overweight and obese Canadians poses a threat to public health.

“The prevalence of this serious health risk is almost exactly what we faced with tobacco use 30 years ago – when half of Canadians smoked,” says Dr. Anthony Graham. Since that time, smoking rates have dropped by half – but during those same three decades, we’ve been losing ground in the area of overweight and obesity.

Rates among Canadian adults: Early 1970s 2000/01 % Change
Smoking (Aged 15+) 47% 22% 53% decrease
Overweight (BMI > 25; Aged 20-64) 40% 47% 18% increase
Obese (BMI > 30; Aged 20-64) 10% 15% 50% increase

“We continue to face the impact that tobacco use has on our society,” says Dr. Graham. “At the same time, we are confronted by the reality that almost half (47%) of Canadians are overweight or obese.”

Geez. Poor Philip Morris. Out of the frying pan into the fire. No, wait…


Burros, Marian. 2005. U.S. Diet Guide Puts Emphasis on Weight Loss. New York Times, January 13, 2005.

Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation report here

2 thoughts on “Food as the new tobacco

  1. dave

    Sometimes, out of the fire and into the pan is the best we can do. Great line tho…

    How much life expectancy can a person your age expect from quitting the weed? And loss from the resulting weight gain?

    Are you finding that food tastes better? How much better? What specifically?

    I find that when I am not tree trimming (possibly our most dangerous profession this side of arctic fishing) life is less spicy in general. Any of that with smoking?

  2. Ennis

    Actually, they’re related in a different way as well. That is, some scientists think that the moderate recent increase in obesity was directly caused by the decrease in smoking. They say this is better for people but they do find it ironic. I wish I had the cite on hand.

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