Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Cost to the NHS Argument

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Tony Jewell now wants a ban on smoking in homes and cars. One of the reasons is, of course, the cost to the NHS:
He said smoking costs the Welsh NHS around £386m a year, equivalent to £129 per person or 7% of total healthcare expenditure.
Now, leaving aside the fact that smokers pay taxes like everyone else towards the NHS and also pay extra tax for smoking, this argument is morally reprehensible.

If my fellow countrymen offer to pay for my medical expenses that's very generous. But if my activities make those expenses too much then by all means let them remove their offer. Isn't it sick for them to demand that they pay for my healthcare but also demand that they won't pay enough so that I have to stop doing what I want?

It's like forcing someone to have a vasectomy so they can't have more kids because you want to buy them a new car but can't afford one big enough!

UPDATE: For those interested in the question of whether or not smoking does cost the country more than is paid into it by smokers see this post from the IEA.

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