If Smoking is a Personal Freedom the Smoker Must bear the Responsibility for Consequences.


By: Jayne D. Frank

Before each of you that smokes closes this blog in disgust, please take a minute to hear why I believe smoking, although  a personal choice, must also be accompanied by personal responsibility for the inevitable consequences resulting from the habit. Our economy is a mess, our health care system costs are out of control, and over the past year, I have heard little about one of the chief contributors to increased costs,  that of smoking related health problems. It has been documented medically that smoking causes constricted blood vessels, deteriorated air sacs of the lung, porous bones,  a propensity for stroke, and various cancers, especially lung cancer.  As a result, if you smoke, from age 40 and beyond you may start to burden the health care system because of your life style choice to smoke.   Smoking results in the bulk of our hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices being crammed with people with heart attacks, strokes, breathing problems, pneumonia, bronchitis, falls and other ailments which are the direct result of smoking. Costs associated with treatment of these conditions are in large part being absorbed by the majority of taxpaying Americans that choose to pursue a healthy life style and take personal responsibility for their health.

I took care of parents who smoked for 70 years and was personally involved with their many years of treatments for COPD, pneumonia and cancer, and I personally saw the bills for their later care which were submitted to Medicare and Blue Cross.  They ranged anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 per hospital stay of which there were many. Granted, much of this cost might be viewed as  fraud and abuse, which I reported, such as charging several hundred dollars for a breathing treatment apparatus that costs $.40 to manufacture, but the focus of this particular article is how this one life style choice will continue to devastate our health care system.   The majority of ailments for smokers can be substantially reduced if not totally prevented by stopping.

I wintered in FL this year and see every day people going into the convenience stores to purchase a couple of $7 packs of cigarettes. Many appear to look unhealthy, many are young but appear prematurely aged because of their habit, and they get into old cars that have pieces falling off and obviously live near or under the poverty level. The majority of these people are either low-income or welfare recipients and the people most likely to flood the emergency rooms since they have  no insurance.  I simply say that if they can afford to buy $14 worth of cigarettes a day, they can buy insurance, but have chosen not to do so.

The current health care plan in Congress will subsidize these people and will tax others even further  to pay for their care.  This is wrong! Person liberty is very important to this writer, but smoking  cannot be considered a personal liberty because of its disasterous effects on the rest of us.  I currently purchase group insurance for $260.00 a month which equates to a little more than the cost of one pack of cigarettes per day. My premiums have increased about 20% each year primarily because of having to pay for those sicker than me; can I not assume that many of those just refuse to quit smoking?

Big Government intrusion into our lifestyle choices is not the answer and as a Conservative, I don’t want government in my life, but punishment and reward seem to be only things that many people understand.   Today state and federal governments combined receive about 85% of the cost of every package of cigarettes purchased in the form of taxes. Why are these taxes not being used to fund the costs for care of uninsured smokers? Hospitals and insurance companies should not have to bear these costs in the form of premium increases paid for by those  responsible enough to purchase coverage but who should have these costs funded by the taxes on smokers.   The cost to a smoker that consumes two packs per day has them spending $420.00 each month, money that could buy a very adequate health care policy should they choose to buy one. But in lieu of continuing to treat people  who flood  clinics and emergency rooms with smoking related problems, should we not be spending that money giving smokers the tools and medication they need to discourage and stop this deadly practice?

Smoking is an addiction and like breaking a drug habit it is extremely difficult. Smokers overwhelmingly oppose increased taxes on tobacco, however; due to the consequences that are inevitable from their habit, they must bear the responsibility in the form of high taxes should they continue to smoke. The choice is theirs;  pay for your unhealthy habit in taxes or use the money to buy health insurance. You still have the right to choose to smoke and the rest of us have the right not to pay for your choice.

9 Responses

  1. LOOK I KNOW ITS A HEALTH THING: BUT I HAVE A RIGHT TO SMOKE, PICK ON THE POT SMOKERS? LIKE THATS OK TO SMOKE POT, IS THAT THE NEW HEALTH THING?

    • Apparently you didn’t get the message, I agree with you POT smokers should also bear the responsibility for their choices in life. The choice to smoke or not belongs to every American. However, those who choose not to do so should not have to pay for the consequences that will eventually come to those who do. I respect your rights and you should respect my rights as well. Should POT smoking ever become legal, as are cigarettes, the government should tax the hell out of it as well, Thanks for your views. Libertyssong.

  2. Then again, the opposite could be true. – If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. – Woody Allen Born 1935

    • As I read this comment this morning, it left me breathless, because if you have no faith at all, then you cannot at all understand any of the articles we put forth in Libertys Song. God did give every person free will and the evil that has been perpetrated in the world, for the most part, is a direct result of mankind not using his free will to do good for others. I for one wake up each day thankful for my Blessings in Life and don’t spend my days bitter about the things that have gone wrong. Peace be with you my friend.

  3. You may call yourself a conservative, but you’re socialistic on this issue.

    You have no proof that your premiums went up because of smokers. You’re simply ASSUMING that they did in part.

    If you want to blame anyone, why don’t you blame the Democrat Party and the state governments

    The Democrats will not allow tort reform to be part of “health care reform” because the trial lawyers are the single biggest group that contributes to the Democrat Party.

    The government – whether national or state, or both – is to blame because they won’t allow for competition across state lines for health insurance. If you know anything about our capitalistic economic system, it works best when there is increased competition.

    Also, state governments place mandates on the insurance companies, forcing them to cover certain illnesses or conditions. This drives up the cost of healthy insurance.

    While smoking is bad for the human body – and, therefore, I believe it to be a sin habit – don’t blame everything on the smokers.

    Get your facts straight before you make faulty assumptions.

    • My facts ARE right and I don’t blame smokers for the bulk of our excessive health care costs in this country. I have clearly stated, but you did not care to LISTEN, that smoking IS a personal choice and liberty but the smoker needs to bear responsibility for that choice. It is my lifelong experience and belief, which is backed up by credible medical evidence, that the bulk of devastating illnesses stem from smoking.

  4. Oh, yeah. I forgot to say that I’m 44. I have low blood pressure, low bad cholesterol. Normal weight. I am in great health. For now, anyway. I pay extra premiums for being a smoker, but I have not run up medical bills. I’m actually bending the curve to lower costs.

    • You just said it. You are 44. By the time you are 55, if you are smoking over a pack a day, you will have the full blow effects of smoking in your body, and you will be sick and will continue to get so. Did you ever see the interior photographs of a smoker’s lung. Case made.

  5. woot, thankyou! I finally came to a site where the webmaster knows what they’re talking about. Do you know how many results are in Google when I search.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with thousands of people just copying eachother’s articles… bah. Anyway, thankyou very much for the info anyway, much appreciated.

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