More Insights Into The Cost of Smoking + bonus rant
Also, see "Some Insights Into The Costs of Smoking."
Besides the fact that smoking causes more deaths per year than AIDS, homicide, suicide, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, auto accidents, and fire deaths combined, this video shows the amount of tar inhaled into your lungs smoking a pack a day for 20 days 7.2 grams, the volume of about 2 charcoal briquettes.
Imagine the tar/dust from 2-3 briquettes coating your lungs every month for years. Imagine that every pack causes irreversible hardening of all of the arteries of your body, promoting the formation of fibrinous plaques that rupture, sending cascades of clot-activating protein into the small arteries of your heart and brain, causing early heart attacks and stroke. Imagine the inflammation from your immune system trying desperately to remove the tar and inactivate cancer-causing free radicals. Oxygen-exchanging alveoli are broken down, intima is thickened, and smooth muscles spasm, causing COPD and emphysema, which becomes progressively irreversible. While you are breaking down your own lungs, causing your cancer, and contributing to your future stroke and heart attack, the second-hand smoke does the same thing to your friends, your family, and your children.
The average healthcare costs of a smoker are 40% higher than the average person and an additional 40,000-60,000 cardiac deaths per year are due to exposure to environmental tobacco. According to the CDC, smoking accounts for about 87% percent of lung cancer deaths and 30% of all cancer deaths. How is this legal? How do we allow the tobacco corporations to cater and market to the poorest subsection of our population, those who work the hardest and utilize the most tax-funded healthcare dollars? By not holding the companies accountable, we are actually subsidizing the profits of tobacco companies. By not holding the smoker responsible for their lifestyle choices, we allow them to draw far more than their share of healthcare funding, thereby subsidising their tobacco habits as well.
Here's my proposal, and I realize that this is just rough math leaving out many variables. If there are 44.5 million smokers in America with healthcare costs directly attributable to smoking topping 50 billion heathcare dollars per year, estimating a 1 pack per day habit, that comes to a health system cost of about $3.08 per pack of cigarettes. We simply add this $3.08 as a tax to each pack of cigarettes that will go directly to pay for the projected heathcare costs that smoking that individual pack will incur. Of course, for our healthcare and public assistance programs to work, many more things need to be done, like making healthcare as an industry not-for-profit (single-payer could work as well, but this is easier), initiating tort reform with penalties for frivolous lawsuits (both of the aforementioned mean campaign reform and eliminating lobbyist favors/contributions/bribery), and instituting personal accountability for lifestyle choices. Let's get some people in Washington that have the integrity and moral fortitude to question and challenge the status quo. Let's start doing the right things for the right reasons and hold both corporations and individuals accountable for the true costs of their actions, socially and environmentally.
Anyone up for it? Dennis Kucinich? Barack? Stewart and Colbert?via Gizmodo