The preceding sections demonstrate that it is unlikely that a study methodology for measuring the economic costs and benefits of smoking which would satisfy both the tobacco industry and those concerned with public health could be devised.
There is no doubt that the tobacco industry contributes in some measure to the Australian economy. Even if it is assumed that figures put forward by the industry are of the correct order of magnitude, this merely begs the question as to why so great an amount of productive resource is being used to generate sickness and death. Could not these resources be used to generate wealth in non-harmful areas?
It is generally acknowledged that the Australian tobacco market is contracting (see Chapter 2, and the introductory section to Chapter 14). The process of growth and decline in industry is an inevitable part of economic reality. Thirty years ago personal desktop computers were unheard of, and thirty years from now, vinyl phonographic records and turntables will be a quaint thing of the past. Economies withstand the ebb and flow of changes in science, technology and fashion. The continuing decline in tobacco consumption in Australia poses no threat to the stability of the Australian economy. As Warner has said:(12)
The tobacco industry is an economic tyrannosaurus rex: enormous, ferocious, and destined for extinction. The world, and its economies, will survive the industry's gradual demise quite handsomely.