A long anti-smoking war ahead. One battle was won this week in the war against smoking but in the world-wide scheme of things it was a little one.

An article published in The Lancet estimates that although 1·1 billion people have been covered since 2008 by the adoption of the WHO’s most effective tobacco-control policies (on smoke-free air, cessation, warning labels, mass media, marketing bans, and taxation), 83% of the world’s population are not covered by two or more of these policies.

The medical journal’s statistical study of smoking behaviour finds that tobacco use has long been a leading contributor to premature death, and causes about 9% of deaths worldwide. Presently, the burden of tobacco use is greatest in high-income countries (18% of deaths are attributable to tobacco use), intermediate in middle-income countries (11%), and lowest in low-income countries (4%). However, because rates of smoking are increasing in many low-income and middle-income countries (and decreasing in most high-income countries), the proportion of deaths from tobacco use could increase in low-income and middle-income countries as the number of tobacco-attributable deaths increases.

According to WHO, nearly 6 million people die from tobacco-related causes every year. If present patterns of use persist, tobacco use could cause as many as 1 billion premature deaths globally during the 21st century.

Mining royalties dispute to come. A further problem is looming for the federal government’s mining tax. Queensland will soon become the next state to increase mining royalties and thus lower Canberra’s potential tax take.

No bump in this vice president. The selection of a vice presidential candidate normally gives the challenger for the US presidency a bump up in the opinion polls. But not so this time. Republican Mitt Romney’s choice of Wisconsin Paul Ryan as his running mate has hardly moved the daily Gallup poll at all.

A lesson for Tony Abbott to learn. From the way Tony Abbott acts and speaks you get the impression he thinks the only reason people believe that Julia Gillard is loose with the truth is because he keeps saying so. Some how I just don’t think that’s true. The broken promise on a carbon tax does not need repetition by the Opposition Leader; it registered strongly enough to severely damage her chances of re-election without any help from anyone else.

If anything to have Tony Abbott ranting on about surely provokes the same reaction in many voters as the independent MHR Tony Windsor displayed when he rose to tell him he had had enough of the would-be prime minister’s cant and delivered the reminder that Tony Abbott was every bit as prepared to abandon principle as his opponent was.

It’s another speech worth listening to.

Some news and views noted along the way.