I was shocked to learn that 100,000 people in Britain still die from smoking-related causes each year, and that one of every two life-long smokers will be killed by their habit.
Is there a way to deal with this, other than adopting the school-teacher approach, and just banning tobacco sales altogether, or do we accept that in a democratic society there will be people who are addicted to certain substances, and the rest of us must bear the financial burden of their health care?
Smokers might argue that the amount of duty they pay on their tobacco more than compensates for the cost of any NHS treatment they might need, but of course that isn't the full extent of the cost to society.
I think we should force the tobacco companies to remove the nicotine (and any other addictive concoctions they introduce) from the cigarettes.
Perhaps then those that want to give up will find it easier and those that just want to smoke, well they can.
PS, I'm an ex-smoker
It's the nicotine in tobacco that makes it addictive - remove that and there would be no point in smoking.
Tobacco companies don't introduce other 'addictive concoctions' into cigarettes - why would they need to, when nicotine does a very effective job?
No, I do not - never have. In younger days used to be pretty fit and smoking was a non issue. If others want to smoke or drink too much it is up to them but I object to paying extra if their choice costs more to the NHS than their contributions through taxes. Also I do not want to be subjected to passive smoking nor be put off visiting town centres due to drunken behaviour, nor to have A&E departments treat drunks ahead of non self - inflicted problems.
Thank you for a very frank post. You really put the situation in a nutshell - tobacco addicts would get their fix, no matter what action might be taken to deter them.
I think the real thrust of any deterrent policies has to be directed at young people who haven't started smoking. Get them to resist, and within a generation there wouldn't be a problem.
My Father in law, who died some 10 years ago had one lung removed about 20 years ago … he worked in a power station, on navy ships at the end of the 2nd world war, sprayed cars without a mask and, until his operation, a 60+ a day smoker. He told me that after his op he was watching a man who had recently had a similar op standing on the hospital ward balcony chuffing away on a cigarette !
Ban tobacco ? Never happen in my lifetime. Too much money, tax and jobs involved in the industry. I know of some surgeons who have refused to operate unless the patient gives up smoking but most smokers have little or no willpower. My brother in law and sister in law both still smoke even after they saw what happened to their Dad plus two out of three of my sister in laws children also smoke.
If tobacco had been 'invented' in the past 20 years it would have become a banned substance.
My idea would be to put a hefty HNS tax on the tobacco companies in the hope they would diversify into something else.
The difficulty with a policy of not treating people with self-inflicted problems ahead of others is that some people might say a car driver who had a serious speed-related accident had a self-inflicted problem.
Then what about someone who fell from a tree - maybe he shouldn't have been climbing, so he may have a self-inflicted problem. So might someone with a sexually-transmitted disease, so he would have to wait. Then there's that fat woman with a dodgy heart - her problem is self-inflicted.
Where do you stop?
There must still be a lot of smokers about, you only need to look outside pubs and clubs, or even the entrances of hospitals, with some of the staff having a smokers rest break. Then there's the person sitting near you in a bus, or in a confined place whose clothes are wreaking in cigarette fumes.
When you get a person smelling of cigarette fumes with a child or children around them, I tend to think more of the child's health than that of the person's.
But then again, I cannot see the government doing much about it, except perhaps as a public relations exercise. Bit like telling people that they should not drive a motor vehicle or drink spirits and beer, and then you only need to think of all the revenue being lost?.
Fortunately I have a circle of friends who neither smoke or drink, and possibly others might think what a very miserable life we lead?.
But I must say that I always liked the smell of a nice cigar and the very occasional puff many many years ago.
First caught smoking Dad's fags at the tender age of 8. He was a merchant seaman, so there was always a stack of duty-frees in the house. Trouble was, he smoked Capstan Full Strength, so that was what I started on. As a 20 year old soldier, I was on 40 a day (Soldiering = 90% boredom-10% panic). By the time I completed my 22 years, I was on 60 a day. Promised the Long Haired One that when cigarettes reached £1 per packet, I would give up. Eventually, told everyone who would listen that I would give up in 6 weeks time, (Easter Monday 1985). Effortless, (couldn't afford to lose face), and have never missed them since!!
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