Portly Professor John Banzhaf is singing a new song on obesity. "…… the federal government has officially classified obesity as a "health status" which is a protected category under certain health care statutes, and as a "disease" under others. On the other hand, the government has ruled that being a smoker is only a "behavior" entitled to no such protection.
However he also states that "……..although there is evidence that for many people smoking involves addiction, that addiction is to the drug nicotine, not to the act of smoking itself, which is a behavior. Because those who desire to quit smoking (e.g., for a medical procedure) can ingest nicotine from nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine spray, nicotine inhalers, and e-cigarettes, their decision to ingest it by smoking rather than by using nicotine replacement products is a choice. Since it is a choice rather than an addiction, disease, or health status, it seems more legally justified to restrict access to medical care to smokers than to the obese." It either is an addiction or a behavior but it can’t be both.
What he neglected to say is that 31 states have enacted legislation that prohibits discrimination against smokers in the workplace. He also neglected to say that nicotine is not labeled as a "drug" because if it was smoking cessation devices could no longer be sold over the counter, one would need a prescription from a doctor. Nicotine is also a natural product in many green vegetables.