One thing North America has done right is to reduce smoking.
I hate visiting Europe for this one reason.
According to the World Health Organization, 21.9 percent of Americans smoked tobacco in 2018. In comparison, the average smoking rate for Europe was 28.7 percent.
When you look at the approximate number of cigarettes smoked per person per year, the picture is even more striking. Out of the 20 countries that smoke the most cigarettes, 15 of them are entirely or partially in Europe. The United States is 68th on the list. …
From U.S. surgeon general warnings to campaigns by groups like the American Cancer Society, the messaging has been clear since the 1960s: smoking cigarettes is bad for you. And it’s worked. About 96 percent of Americans believe smoking cigarettes is at least somewhat harmful to your health. …
I spent a few weeks this year near the Berri-UQAM Metro station on Rue Sainte-Catherine, heart of downtown Montreal. There are a LOT of homeless people. It reminds me of a major American city in that way.
One survey (Douglas Mental Health University / 800+ volunteers) counted 3,016 homeless in the city. 10% aboriginal. 10% immigrants. Veterans 6%.
Other guesstimates have been 10 times as high.
I was there during warmer months. During winter these folks need to find someplace heated.
A harsh and boring life, seems to me. They all seem to have cigarettes. Somehow.
Not sure what can be done to reduce the numbers. A guaranteed minimum income experiment — or new kinds of free housing — could be tried.