The inability or unwillingness for a government to act on perceived and acknowledged problems frequently exacerbates suffering and increases the extent of damage done by the problems.
A 1991 report found that western European governments were ignoring evidence from Canada and New Zealand that there is a direct relationship between the prevalence of tobacco advertisements and national smoking habits. The 1989 introduction of a smoking advertisement ban in Canada led to a 6 percent drop in smoking among women aged 16-24 in one year. A similar ban in New Zealand led to a fall in tobacco sales of nearly 10 percent within 6 months in 1991. According to a 1991 British Medical Association review, for every £1 spent on health education against tobacco use, the tobacco industry spends £25 to attract new customers.
In some political systems inaction is made safe and attractive because the potential costs of action are much higher than penalties for inaction.