The thesis is that the addicted smoker has to be helped even against his will. The story of the dangers of passive smoking has the function to reduce the tolerance of smokers. From the same reason it is claimed that the smoker damages society financially. Again and again the message is broadcast that the smoker costs a lot of money for the society, through high health insurance costs and through absences from work.
“We’re all in the same boat” and that we are all linked in civilized societies is taken for granted. People in high income groups help people with low incomes move up, the young honor the old and the healthy care for the sick. Only the smokers are excluded, without any reason, from the family of man. This is morally repugnant, particularly with a health system where people below a certain income don’t the means to choose between private and tax-funded health insurance.
The calculations showing smokers as costing public health inordinately have obvious weaknesses that cast the results in doubt: If one employs a cost comparison between the “normal population” and the smokers, considering only the costs and excluding the savings, the result is meaningless. Smokers provide year by year, with tobacco taxes, a significant contribution. Beyond that smokers die earlier than nonsmokers, so says the anti-tobacco mob, which should save on retirement money. Accepting smokers’ early deaths, which we don’t but will posit for sake of argument, is neither cynical nor inhuman, it’s simply a cost calculation. Beyond the “tobacco related illness” mantra, statistically earlier dying of smokers cannot be always linked with their cigarette consumption. Thus for example a study from the United States Army reached the conclusion that smokers have 50% more accidents as nonsmokers. Other investigations showed that smoking women have a increased risk to get infected with AIDS. Smokers nourish themselves differently than nonsmokers; they come more frequently from the lower social layers and have from there usually worse health care. All of this cannot be attributed to cigarette consumption, even though it has an influence on the statistically generated life expectancy rates. If one considers all these further aspects, it is not so clear whether smokers put any costs to the society. The German Cancer Society comes to the conclusion that smoking is good business for the society.



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