Leaders June 2012

A Smoker’s Last Stand

With healthcare taking centre stage in this issue, I chose the occasion to stop smoking. But comparing the money a packet a day has cost over 18 years with the unbridled pleasure smoking has given me, I felt torn between two loves.

Any readers in the same boat have an ex-smoker’s sympathy.

Naturally, what tipped the balance were health concerns and the availability of tablets to ease the effort by leaving a nasty taste when one lights up. My doctor told me that demand for this US-made drug exceeded supply in Japan for many months, an indication of the faith the public has in important new drugs—especially those made abroad, where approval tends to come sooner than it does here.

According to our cover story on page 16, consumers today demand more choice. Japan has eased the infamous drug-lag and put more emphasis on preventive medicine, although much remains to be done to widen the available options for drugs and medical devices.

The pills I have been prescribed are taken for a week until you “enjoy” your last smoke, a day that falls between handing off this issue to the printer and delivering it to readers.
By going public, I had two goals in mind: ensuring your understanding, should I snap at you in the near future; and generating the motivation not to capitulate, to avoid the shame of failure.

Benefits of ACUMEN
It’s not unusual to receive readers’ requests for page reprints or extra copies of BCCJ ACUMEN for reasons such as publicity, education or even vanity. Recently, however, a musician featured in a piece last year anxiously begged me to send him that all-important issue—post-haste. Why the urgency? He needed proof of employment to renew his soon-to-expire work visa. I was happy to oblige.