The mind boggles when it processes “news” about research that shows “Tripling cigarette taxes would prevent tens of millions of smoking-related deaths worldwide over the next few decades, and about 200 million premature deaths over the remainder of the century,” as reported by Postmedia News on The Gazette site.

According to the report, “If current smoking trends hold, tobacco will kill about one billion people this century, Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto writes in this week’s edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.” And . . . more than 40,000 people in Canada die every year from smoking-related diseases.

In other words, about one-third of the world’s more than one billion smokers would pack it in because they couldn’t afford to buy cigarettes anymore (unless they bought them on the black market, but I digress).

Hmm . . . I suppose there is some merit to the idea, though I suspect that determined smokers — and I used to smoke — would still find a way to buy tobacco, even if they had to cut down on the amount they smoked. But the research’s conclusions seem to be somewhat obvious, yes? I mean, did we really need a study to come up with this information?

Here’s another plan to reduce the numbers of smoking-related illness and deaths — and we don’t need to pay for an expensive study: ban tobacco! Eradicate the cursed plant from the face of the Earth. The fact that governments have not moved to do so is the biggest hypocrisy of all time. Yes, I know it is about economics, and that governments make a lot of money — now about $300 billion annually, according to the article — off tobacco taxes. And that makes it all even more of an abomination, if not criminal . . .

Indeed, the production — and taxation — of tobacco is the biggest crime of all time, if not in strict legal terms, then morally. It could be seen as mass murder  . . . for profit.

Or, if one is inclined to believe in conspiracy theories, it could also be seen as a scheme to keep the world’s population in check . . . and profit from it at the same time.

Hmm . . . What would the lords and gods of the world’s myriad churches say about it all? And why aren’t clergypeople speaking out against it?