Wednesday, January 28, 2009

World Health Organization Warns that Financial Crisis, Unemployment Threaten to Increase Smoking; At the Same Time, WHO Refuses to Hire Smokers

Making an early bid to challenge the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for the 2009 Anti-Smoking Hypocrisy Award, the World Health Organization (WHO) last week warned that the financial crisis and unemployment brought on by the crisis threaten the public's health and in particular, will increase rates of smoking as people turn to substance use to help get through the crisis. At the same time, the WHO is willing to contribute toward this crisis -- as far as smokers are concerned -- by refusing to hire smokers to work in international public health.

According to the AFP article: "The World Health Organisation warned Monday the global financial crisis may spark a rise in mental illness and health problems as people turn to alcohol, tobacco and drugs to get through the downturn. 'This has happened in the past,' said the UN agency's Director-General Margaret Chan at the launch of a conference on the financial crisis' effects on health. 'In times of economic crisis, people tend to forego private care and make more use of publicly financed services,' she said, adding that many country's public health systems are already 'overstretched and underfunded.' Chan also warned that periods of economic instability 'increases the risk that people will neglect health care, with prevention falling by the wayside.'"

The Rest of the Story

The World Health Organization may be attempting to make a serious run at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for the 2009 Anti-Smoking Hypocrisy Award. It's only January and the WHO has come up with this doozy of a hypocritical position. The WHO bemoans that unemployment is a threat to people's health and causes them to increase tobacco use; however, at the same time it refuses to hire smokers and would apparently prefer that smokers remain unemployed than that qualified job applicants find gainful employment in the public health field, even if smoking has nothing to do with their job.

The pressure is now on the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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