Well fucksticks, it turns out that nonsmokers cost society money, too — by living longer. We constantly hear about all of the health risks and the problems that smoking causes, how terrible it is, this and that and it's all just something to bitch about.
Supporters of a bill to put more regulation on tobacco products cite Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures stating that "smokers cost the country $96 billion a year in direct health care costs, and an additional $97 billion a year in lost productivity."
A White House statement supporting the bill, which awaits action in the Senate, echoed the argument by contending that tobacco use "accounts for over a $100 billion annually in financial costs to the economy."
It turns out, according to the CDC that smokers die approximately 10 years earlier than nonsmokers and those premature deaths lead to savings to Medicare, Social Security, private pensions and other programs.
Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi studied the net costs of smoking-related spending and savings and found that for every pack of cigarettes smoked, the country reaps a net cost savings of 32 cents.
"It looks unpleasant or ghoulish to look at the cost savings as well as the cost increases and it's not a good thing that smoking kills people," Viscusi said in an interview. "But if you're going to follow this health-cost train all the way, you have to take into account all the effects, not just the ones you like in terms of getting your bill passed."
Viscusi worked as a litigation expert for the tobacco industry in lawsuits by states but said that his research, which has been published in peer-reviewed journals, has never been funded by industry.
On a similar note:
A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal said that health care costs for smokers were about $326,000 from age 20 on, compared to about $417,000 for thin and healthy people.
The reason: The thin, healthy people lived much longer.
Willard Manning, a professor of health economics and policy at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy Studies, was lead author on a paper published two decades ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that, taking into account tobacco taxes in effect at the time, smokers were not a financial burden to society.
"We were actually quite surprised by the finding because we were pretty sure that smokers were getting cross-subsidized by everybody else," said Manning, who suspects the findings would be similar today. "But it was only when we put all the pieces together that we found it was pretty much a wash."
Of course, the government backpeddles and says
The goal of the U.S. health care system is "prolonging disability-free life," states the 2004 Surgeon General's report on the health consequences of smoking. "Thus any negative economic impacts from gains in longevity with smoking reduction should not be emphasized in public health decisions."
Dr. Terry Pechacek, the CDC associate director for science in the office on smoking and health, said that data seeking to quantify economic benefits of smoking couldn't capture all the benefits associated with longevity, like a grandparent's contribution to a family. Because of such uncertainties the CDC won't put a price tag on savings from smoking.
"The natural train of logic that follows from that is that then anybody that's admitted around age 65 or older that's showing any signs of sickness should be denied treatment," Pechacek said. "That's the cheapest thing to do."
My guess is that somehow somebody in the tobacco industry failed to pay the recommended amount of bribe money and they fell out of favor. I'm not even a smoker, I can't stand cigarette smoke when I'm sober. If I've had a lot to drink I may actually smoke but normally I find it disgusting and avoid it. The thing is that I also do feel that I have the right to tell somebody they can't do it, even if I might have to walk past their cloud of smoke. I do significant amounts of Industrial Hygiene work (air quality) as part of my job.
From experience, walking through that cloud even 25 times a day isn't going to hurt me if I do it daily. Lock the non smoker in a small room with a person who smokes 3 packs a day in an 8 hour period every day and you have a different story. My point is that I don't care if you don't like it, I don't care if you are repulsed by it, it's not your body, it's not your choice, so shut the fuck up. If you don't want to smoke don't smoke. If you don't want to breathe the smoke of others walk away from it.
If you don't want to see it turn your head. There is no way the government should be telling citizens what they can and cannot do with their own body. Smoking is just one example of something that they want to ban for whatever reason and with every reason that is proven invalid they just make up something else that sounds good. Reasons to ban guns is another one. It's ridiculous so just let it the fuck go you assholes. If I want to smoke it should be my choice and if I want to hurl myself off a bridge that should be my choice too. Fuck it...
Seriously? What else has this woman got if she can't slowly commit suicide through cigarettes? That's probably the only thing keeping her from going on a rampage.