Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A ciggie laugh

I was only half paying attention but I think she was calling from the US. She called into Jon Faine's radio program to complain about increasing taxes in Australia for smokers.

I need to think about this an awful lot more but she would not concede that smoking was bad for your health yet she seemed to recognise that smokes die younger. I need to think about what follows because there could be some logic in it. I immediately thought of the movie, Thank You for Smoking. One argument in the movie by the spinner was that it was not in the tobacco company's interest for smokers to die prematurely. The company does not poison them. They want them alive and continue to consume their product.

But what the US lady was arguing was about the cost to to health care systems by smokers. She argued that smokers cost society less. They die prematurely, and therefore the cost to society is less for health care and less for pensions and other care.

There could be some logic to this. I am not sure. Dame M, a heavy smoker, died at the age of 82. Had she not smoked, perhaps she could have lived to be 100. If she had to choose, I expect she would have chosen the path she took. While she was delighted at her minions being always there, she was not really someone who would want to 'be cared for'.

Clearing decks, wait for some more brief and poor posts.


  1. Couple of years ago I looked at it. My conclusion at the time:

    Taxes (quite rightly) raise about $5 billion per year from smokers, and account for over 60% of the retail price. But those taxes don’t even come close to covering the $31 billion in tobacco-related costs to society.


    With the new tax changes, I guess the equation will change a bit, depending on how many quit as a result.

  2. This seems to be about the line that spewed forth from Minchin a coupla weeks ago, too.

    Smoker, drinking and over-eating have a massive impost on our medical costs. Maybe we should start from both ends: tax the product more and have an impost on the cost of care for product related illnesses. Think of the number of bureaucrats to administer that!

  3. $5 billion plus Daniel, and it doesn't cover the cost? Wow.

    Julie, at least I suppose smokers and drinkers do contribute significantly, unlike over eaters.

  4. There were figures released with the last excise increase that said pretty much the opposite of Daniel's research. Sadly it was a radio interview overheard at work, so I couldn't tell you the source, let alone the station or date. Rather useless info really, and I'm not at all trying to indicate that Daniel is wrong.

    I always ascertained that if smoking cost the government more then it raised they wouldn't allow it. I wonder how true that is?

    In the interests of full disclosure, I smoked for 13 years, but have stopped for a month now. Yay for me I'm no longer a burden on the public health system... Honest.

  5. Interesting Mutant. Figures, statistics and lies. Who would really know. I don't nag my mother to five up smoking. I think the cure would be worse than the disease.

  6. I was lucky - it just never appealed to me after a drag on the school bus stop in 1968 - didn't like the taste - lucky I guess as my lungs are my achilles heel - but it always should be a matter of free will. Comes the time when laws are all made "for the common good" denying freedom of choice then I think I'll be ready for the big lift off