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Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics
August 2, 2008 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Caught smuggling, tobacco firms pay $1-billion in penalties. Two of Canada's big three tobacco companies will pay more than $1-billion in criminal and civil penalties for orchestrating the wholesale shipment to the United States of cigarettes that were smuggled back into Canada and resold at bargain prices. Tax-free cigarettes poured south (from Canada to the US) by the truckload, most commonly through the porous St. Regis Mohawk Akwesasne reserve, near Cornwall, Ont., which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border. From there they were distributed to smugglers who brought them back to Canada to be resold on the street and in convenience stores (tax free).

Anti-smoking groups have mixed feelings about Big Tobacco fines in this instance. "If you or I had any intention of defrauding the government of a couple of million dollars, we'd be thrown in jail," said François Damphousse, the Non-Smokers' Rights Association's Quebec director.

"Why aren't the executives facing such charges for having defrauded the government of billions of dollars?"
(Key executives who orchestrated the smuggling operation in the early 90s have avoided jail time).

But the bigger issue is a massive C$10 billion lawsuit brought by British Columbia against the tobacco industry. The province is suing for state-sponsored health-care costs allegedly racked up because of the effects of tobacco products...the trial is to start in late 2010...(and is seen) as an attempt by politicians to destroy an industry they regard as immoral.

[The same two tobacco companies, RJN and Philip Morris, have gotten into trouble in the past for essentially smuggling cigarettes into the EU. More info here .][Also, how cigarettes funded the Balkan Wars.]
posted by KokuRyu (52 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
an attempt by politicians to destroy an industry they regard as immoral

Or, perhaps, subsidizing healthcare on behalf of the tobacco industry at the expense of the public is not a good use of tax dollars, and morality is less of a concern to the government there than being able to provide the public they serve with police, fire, education and other services that also (shockingly) cost money.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The province is suing for state-sponsored health-care costs allegedly racked up because of the effects of tobacco products...the trial is to start in late 2010...(and is seen) as an attempt by politicians to destroy an industry they regard as immoral.

And by immoral, they mean they're already on the hook for the health care costs of 4.3 million Canadians over the age of 65, a population that is going to explode like a tar-clogged lung come ... oh, around 2010. Getting every cent possible out of Big Tobacco is going to become a very popular idea amongst the provinces very, very soon.

Not that that's a bad idea, it's just that politicians talking about immorality makes me want to have a smoke.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:33 PM on August 2, 2008


Thanks for the link to the Balkans story, KokoRyu; I didn't know much about that angle.
And curse you, Blazecock Pileon, for being as cynical as I!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:36 PM on August 2, 2008


Does smoking increase or decrease lifetime health care costs? The answer isn't intuitive to me.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:53 PM on August 2, 2008


Now I smell what your cooking, KokuRyu. Great Post. This is why I joined MetaFilter.
posted by captainsohler at 11:07 PM on August 2, 2008


MP:

"Perhaps not surprisingly, the model predicted that, until age 56, yearly healthcare costs were lowest for healthy people and highest for people who were obese. At older ages, smokers incurred the highest yearly costs of healthcare. However, due to differences in life expectancy (at age 20, life expectancy was 5 years less for people who were obese and 8 years less for people who were smokers), total lifetime healthcare spending was greatest for healthy people. The cost of nursing home care was the principle factor increasing the cost of care for healthy-living people.

Thus, strictly in terms of healthcare costs, prevention of obesity and smoking does not result in a cost savings, since people who are obese or are lifetime smokers are more likely to die earlier than healthy-living people.

It’s important to stress that the study focused exclusively on healthcare costs related to obesity and smoking. The study didn’t take into account other associated economic costs, such as reduced productivity or prescription drugs. Indeed, the authors suggest that, in the case of obesity and smoking, indirect costs and could be higher than direct medical expenses." [1]

posted by yort at 11:11 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Their real mistake was trying to smuggle the cigarettes back using the Swayzie Express...
posted by hincandenza at 11:22 PM on August 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does smoking increase or decrease lifetime health care costs? The answer isn't intuitive to me.

I have asked this before, and haven't heard a definitive answer either. Doesn't someone dying of heart disease or cancer at 50 end up costing less than someone getting a hip replaced at 60, then a wheelchair and meals on wheels for 20 years, and then nursing home for 10?

It seems to me this is a moral and political issue rather than an economic one - beating up on evil tobacco is expedient easy money.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:22 PM on August 2, 2008


Does smoking increase or decrease lifetime health care costs? The answer isn't intuitive to me.

It's not an easy question to answer, and there are differing answers depending on starting and long-term assumptions.

But considering the amount of money spent by governments through public health insurance initiatives to keep cancer patients alive as long as possible, as well as fund basic research and therapies for lung cancer and related respiratory diseases, the bottom line is that money spent on health care dealing with the direct and indirect health effects of smoking is money not spent other societal needs.

Beyond public expenditures funded through tax revenue, private health insurance premiums rise for everyone because of the shared costs of smoking. This places additional pressure on rising health care costs for everyone.

Further, smokers have lower wages, on average, than non-smokers, and help bring down a country's GDP. So it seems reasonable to suggest that the cost of smoking is inversely associated with the strength of a country's economy.

Also see the broken window fallacy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:23 PM on August 2, 2008


Or to put it another way, tobacco companies do not pay for the downstream effects of their product, so a calculation of effects on health care costs is, at the very least, incomplete.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:26 PM on August 2, 2008


smokers have lower wages, on average, than non-smokers

So if nobody smoked there wouldn't be anymore shitty low paying jobs?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:31 PM on August 2, 2008


the bottom line is that money spent on health care dealing with the direct and indirect health effects of smoking is money not spent other societal needs.

Yeah, but the money not spent on health care for dead smokers is spent on other societal needs. If people didn't smoke, that money couldn't be spent on other things.

Beyond public expenditures funded through tax revenue, private health insurance premiums rise for everyone because of the shared costs of smoking. This places additional pressure on rising health care costs for everyone.

It's not clear to me why this would be the case if smokers incurred lower lifetime health care costs than nonsmokers, so I don't really see this as a separate concern.

Further, smokers have lower wages, on average, than non-smokers, and help bring down a country's GDP. So it seems reasonable to suggest that the cost of smoking is inversely associated with the strength of a country's economy.

It's difficult to see how much of this is caused by smoking, though. It's not hard to imagine that less educated people smoke more, but would earn less even if no one smoked.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 11:38 PM on August 2, 2008


Yeah, but the money not spent on health care for dead smokers is spent on other societal needs. If people didn't smoke, that money couldn't be spent on other things.

There's a significant non-zero cost to keeping sick smokers alive, through medical treatment and research. Until those dead smokers are dead, money is spent on keeping them alive as long as possible. In countries with single-payer insurance, the costs are shared by the entire society. In countries with private insurance, the costs are still shared among members, albeit indirectly.

Again, please review the broken window fallacy.

It's difficult to see how much of this is caused by smoking, though.

I have no explanation for it, but a wage penalty effect has been observed — due to smoking — by the World Bank, Health Canada and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other government and NGOs.

If you're a government that provides health care coverage to your citizens, and you lose GDP because of smoking, then that's a smaller economy from which to pay for that health care coverage. The cost of coverage may be the same, less, or more, but all else the same, you can't provide as much health care without taking funds away from somewhere else.

Again, it comes down to who pays for the broken window.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:55 PM on August 2, 2008


Again, please review the broken window fallacy.

I'm familiar with the broken window fallacy, but I don't think it applies. The basic fallacy is overlooking the fact that the money spent to repair the broken window would've presumably gone to more productive uses had the window not been broken. Basically, the fallacy ignores the alternative to breaking the window.

I would say you're ignoring the alternative to the smoker dying. You say that there's a significant, non-zero cost to treating smokers, and there is, but you also have to look at the significant, non-zero costs foregone because the smoker died. Those foregone costs are similarly shared through the insurance system.

I have no explanation for it, but a wage penalty effect has been observed — due to smoking — by the World Bank, Health Canada and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other government and NGOs.

This is a very, very different claim than the one you made in your first post. In your first post, you said that smokers have lower wages. In this post, you're saying that smokers have lower wages because they smoke--or at least that's how I'm reading "due."

Which claim is actually supported by the studies you're referring to? I don't know.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:13 AM on August 3, 2008


A similar operation, only on a much bigger scale, helped finance the wars in Yugoslavia.
posted by Skeptic at 12:31 AM on August 3, 2008


You say that there's a significant, non-zero cost to treating smokers, and there is, but you also have to look at the significant, non-zero costs foregone because the smoker died. Those foregone costs are similarly shared through the insurance system.

What costs are foregone above and beyond what we're discussing?

This is a very, very different claim than the one you made in your first post. In your first post, you said that smokers have lower wages. In this post, you're saying that smokers have lower wages because they smoke--or at least that's how I'm reading "due."

I really don't care to get into an argument about how you chose to interprete what I wrote, which I think was reasonably clear, but here are a few cites:

Aggregating the individual wage losses from smoking at the regional level, we can conclude that Tomsk region loses a considerable share of its revenue just from the reduction in productivity due to smoking...
--
OLS estimates seem to indicate that men's wages are more affected by smoking than are women's... This analysis has shown that smoking has a deleterious effect on smokers' wages... We find that workers who smoked earned 4-8% less than non-smokers (as summarized in Table 7, row 1) after we control for differences between the groups.
--
[S]moking reduces the wages of workers by approximately 10%... Smokers may have lower wages because they are discriminated against or they may be less productive because they are more frequently ill and absent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:36 AM on August 3, 2008


I have no explanation for it, but a wage penalty effect has been observed — due to smoking — by the World Bank, Health Canada and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other government and NGOs.

My guess is that it's the 'fuck you' effect.

There's a significant non-zero cost to keeping sick smokers alive, through medical treatment and research. Until those dead smokers are dead, money is spent on keeping them alive as long as possible. In countries with single-payer insurance, the costs are shared by the entire society. In countries with private insurance, the costs are still shared among members, albeit indirectly.

I agree completely. I eagerly await similar restrictions and tax liabilities on mountain climbers, motorcyclists, gun owners, etc. etc. etc,
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:38 AM on August 3, 2008


I agree completely. I eagerly await similar restrictions and tax liabilities on mountain climbers, motorcyclists, gun owners, etc. etc. etc,

As do I. While mountain climbers pay for their rescue operations, and motorcyclists pay with their lives (literally, if sadly), I await the day that gun manufacturers and arms dealers have to bear the true costs of their product. Let's throw corporate polluters in there. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world, when the rich and powerful have to pay their fair share?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Much better link about the Big Tobacco-Mob-War Criminals link in the Balkans.
posted by Skeptic at 12:46 AM on August 3, 2008


What costs are foregone above and beyond what we're discussing?

I can't tell if you're discussing them or not. I'm talking about health care costs foregone because a person smoked. Costs that would've been spent had the person not smoked, but actually weren't spent, because they did.

You've said several times that smokers cause insurance premiums to rise, but your confidence seems to be based on ignoring these foregone costs.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:48 AM on August 3, 2008


Costs that would've been spent had the person not smoked, but actually weren't spent, because they did.

What foregone costs are you referring to, exactly? Can you outline them? What diseases are you talking about?

There are known outcomes from smoking: various grades of heart and lung diseases, at least.

Specifically, on the whole, what diseases are non-smokers catching that smokers do not, which are costing everyone so much money?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:55 AM on August 3, 2008


Specifically, on the whole, what diseases are non-smokers catching that smokers do not, which are costing everyone so much money?

Non-smokers live longer than smokers, so they have a more protracted old age. Old age is associated with many health care and living costs.

yort's comment above touched on this.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:05 AM on August 3, 2008


Old age is associated with many health care and living costs.

That's a very, very different statement from the one you made over here, and you still did not answer the question. What burden is caused by non-smokers, specifically, that smokers do not cause? As far as it goes, a smoker may be lucky enough to die of old age, albeit more likely to suffer a variety of costly ills along the way.

I think you'll find more grant money going to cancer researchers than wheelchair researchers, in any case, and I find productivity a difficult notion upon which to base an argument, when dealing for the most part with a population of retirees.

Prescription drug cost effect might be the start of a compelling argument, but then everyone knows that pharmaceutical companies overcharge certain customers, so again there is the question of what constitutes a true cost.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:17 AM on August 3, 2008


I'm looking forward to imprisonment and the death penalty being applied to corporations-- so, say, RJ Reynolds gets caught smuggling cigarettes? They do 'time' and can't do business for X number of years. Someone like Blackwater shoots up civilians? The company is dissolved and its assets are destroyed.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:19 AM on August 3, 2008


...Or I could just wish for a pony.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:20 AM on August 3, 2008


That's a very, very different statement from the one you made over here, and you still did not answer the question. What burden is caused by non-smokers, specifically, that smokers do not cause?

No, it's exactly what I was saying earlier. Your confusion is absolutely mystifying to me. Non-smokers burden the health care system with non-smoking-related illnesses for longer, on average, than smokers do. Why are you having so much trouble with this?

I find productivity a difficult notion upon which to base an argument, when dealing for the most part with a population of retirees.

Now that's just funny. Forgetting social security, pensions, etc., are we?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:23 AM on August 3, 2008


Blazecock, it is not as if smokers who didn't smoke would be cost-free to the health care system. (these numbers are just for illustrative purposes, pulled from somewhere)

1. Smoker, never visits doctor, dies of massive stroke at 40. DOA, total cost = $500 ambulance / morgue.
2. Smoker, expensive cancer treatments and dies in a couple years = $100,000
3. Non-smoker, long healthy life, last 2 years in assisted living facility = $100,000
4. Non-smoker, long life with all sorts of health issues - hip replacement, assisted living, and then complicated treatments for all kinds of old-age diseases = $250,000

The point is, it isn't as if when you don't smoke, you never use health care.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:40 AM on August 3, 2008


Non-smokers burden the health care system with non-smoking-related illnesses for longer, on average, than smokers do.

That is not at all what you said, but even leaving that change aside, you're now asserting the cost of those illnesses is the same or greater than smoking-related illnesses, which is a fairly major claim given where basic research, private R+D and care dollars are currently focused.

Now that's just funny. Forgetting social security, pensions, etc., are we?

I'm genuinely surprised you do not know what the word "productivity" means.

I get the general feeling from the non-response to my comment here that we're just not going to make any headway on this, so I'm going to call it a night.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:40 AM on August 3, 2008


"Does smoking increase or decrease lifetime health care costs? The answer isn't intuitive to me."

I believe that here in New Zealand smokers save the state money by a small margin, partly because of their early deaths placing less load on the pension system, and partly because every year the excise they pay on tobacco goes up slightly faster than impecunious smokers quitting. Recently, we seem to have hit a point where the cost of tobacco really is forcing people to quit. For reference, minimum wage here is NZ$9.60 per hour, while a packet of 20 cigarettes is over NZ$10.)

However, here is a study from Denmark that draws quite strong conclusions:

The total lifetime health cost savings of smoking cessation are highest at the younger ages. Although the economic savings vary with age at quitting, gender and quantity of daily tobacco consumption, all ex-smoking men and women who quit smoking at the age of 35 to 55 years generate sizeable total lifetime cost savings. At older ages, the total lifetime health cost savings of smoking cessation are of little economic consequence to the society. The total, direct and productivity lifetime cost savings of smoking cessation in moderate smokers who quit smoking at the age of 35 years are 24 800 {euro}, 7600 {euro}, and 17 200 {euro} in men, and 34 100 {euro}, 12 200 {euro}, and 21 800 {euro} in women, respectively. Conclusions: Lifetime health cost savings of smoking cessation to society are substantial at younger ages, in terms of both direct and productivity costs.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:56 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


aw, man. that really sucks for canadians. the only decent cigarettes i could get in toronto were the marlboros (real ones, mind you) smuggled in from the US and sold on the down-low in chinatown convenience stores. sorry to say this, friends to the north, but canadian cigarettes fucking suck.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:00 AM on August 3, 2008


Another study from Hong Kong:

Methods: Using local data, we estimated active and passive smoking-attributable mortality, hospital admissions, outpatient, emergency and general practitioner visits for adults and children, use of nursing homes and domestic help, time lost from work due to illness and premature mortality in the productive years. Morbidity risk data were used where possible but otherwise estimates based on mortality risks were used. Utilisation was valued at unit costs or from survey data. Work time lost was valued at the median wage and an additional costing included a value of US$1.3 million for a life lost.

Results: In the Hong Kong population of 6.5 million in 1998, the annual value of direct medical costs, long term care and productivity loss was US$532 million for active smoking and US$156 million for passive smoking; passive smoking accounted for 23% of the total costs. Adding the value of attributable lives lost brought the annual cost to US$9.4 billion.

Conclusion: The health costs of tobacco use are high and represent a net loss to society. Passive smoking increases these costs by at least a quarter. This quantification of the costs of tobacco provides strong motivation for legislative action on smoke-free areas in the Asia Pacific Region and elsewhere.


This stuff seems pretty easy to google up.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:01 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


My last word on this: reading some of these studies, it seems that the effect of smokers not claiming as much in pension costs is more than balanced by them not paying income tax when they are too sick to work, or in the cases where they die before they ever get to retirement.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:07 AM on August 3, 2008


Even if nobody had any health costs at all until the final Day That Did Them In, it would still behoove the healthcare payer to keep people alive as long as possible. This is for the same reason that companies kite checks--why pay today what you can put off paying until tomorrow?
posted by DU at 3:35 AM on August 3, 2008


Recent AskMe on smuggled cigarettes.
posted by TedW at 4:21 AM on August 3, 2008


...through the porous St. Regis Mohawk Akwesasne reserve...

Gotta love those porous borders.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:41 AM on August 3, 2008


Why not deny health care to anyone without very big health insurance plans so that they will die off early rather than later in life, thus saving bundles of money? Why offer virtually free help in ER for the indigeent? Let the fit--those able to afford care--survive and make for a better society.
posted by Postroad at 4:42 AM on August 3, 2008


While mountain climbers pay for their rescue operations, and motorcyclists pay with their lives (literally, if sadly),

Well, the ones that die do. Those that are maimed and disabled surely lose work and incur massive health care costs while alive as well. It doesn't seem unreasonable that those people should also pay higher taxes in exactly the same way that we smokers do to offset those costs.

I await the day that gun manufacturers and arms dealers have to bear the true costs of their product.

Costs that, quite rightly, will inevitably be passed on to the gun owners.

I reckon at the moment, I'm paying approximately $17 a day for the right to continue to smoke my two packs a day. That's on top of what I pay for health care in income tax and national insurance. So far, I've never lost any work time, or made any charges on the health care system from smoking related illness -- or any illness at all, so I don't think it's inconceivable that by the time I do incur consequences, the compound interest that would have accrued on those taxes will foot the bill.

So now it's time all you hurf durf butter eaters, motorcyclists, gun owners, joggers, people who fuck without condoms, people who risk going postal because you don't get laid often enough, and people who run the risk of RSI from posting too much to Metafilter started to pay your share of the bill instead of leeching off of my tobacco taxes.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:46 AM on August 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


to put this in perspective, one might consider the fines and penalties that ronald reagan incurred over that whole iran-contra thing.
posted by kitchenrat at 6:00 AM on August 3, 2008


That's on top of what I pay for health care in income tax and national insurance. So far, I've never lost any work time, or made any charges on the health care system from smoking related illness -- or any illness at all, so I don't think it's inconceivable that by the time I do incur consequences, the compound interest that would have accrued on those taxes will foot the bill.

Are you factoring in the health costs of any people around you who are exposed to your secondhand smoke?
posted by orange swan at 7:02 AM on August 3, 2008


with regards to Mr. President's query:

It seems pretty obvious that, overall, smoking increases the entire population's healthcare costs by adding a whole slew of shitty health conditions that wouldn't normally occur. So why haggle over the value of a single life?
posted by sunshinesky at 7:08 AM on August 3, 2008


PeterMcDermott writes "My guess is that it's the 'fuck you' effect. "

Most everyone I'd think has had experience with the smoker co-worker who is slipping out for a smoke every 30-60 minutes throughout the day. Resulting in both annoying gaps in coverage, lower productivity, and an effectively reduced work day.

sergeant sandwich writes "canadian cigarettes fucking suck."

If the cigs are sucking you're doing it wrong.

Postroad writes "Why not deny health care to anyone without very big health insurance plans so that they will die off early rather than later in life, thus saving bundles of money? Why offer virtually free help in ER for the indigeent? Let the fit--those able to afford care--survive and make for a better society."

Because in Canada we don't believe, with few exceptions, that personal wealth should not control access to basic medical care. IE: your proposal would not be considered a better society by most in Canada. We consider the situation that prompted this AskMe to be fucking appalling.
posted by Mitheral at 7:21 AM on August 3, 2008


your proposal would not be considered a better society by most in Canada.

I'd like to think that his proposal would not be considered a better society by most anywhere. And I hold a US passport, FWIW. But, I guess I'm some sort of hopeless idealist. I still can't believe anyone could actually say something like Postroad did and not be ashamed of it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 AM on August 3, 2008


Dang it, got a double negative in there. That should be: "Because in Canada we don't believe, with few exceptions, that personal wealth should not control access to basic medical care."
posted by Mitheral at 7:29 AM on August 3, 2008


as a former smoker I can surely see
what the costs might be

so tax the narcotraffickers
chew on Snickers instead
cancer stick pushers are better off dead

complex society simple pressure
raise the price of a smoke for good measure

not so hard but fraught with heart attacks
dilate your pupils and make you relax

but here comes the lung cancer
bring the emphysema
it seems like a dream 'a 'til you look like a fiend for a-
-nother fix but not just for kicks
your better half tells you to quit but gets nixed

oh no here comes the surgeon
health care costs start to burgeon
as you wish you took up another habit - like sturgeon

at least you wouldn't pretend
so near to the end
the second-hand effects of breathing
the Marlboro Man legend
posted by attackthetaxi at 9:03 AM on August 3, 2008


It's also not clear whether "old age" for a smoker starts sooner. That is, if (on the average) the last fifteen years of a person's life is the time of greatest health costs, and a smoker lives to 65 and a non-smoker to 75, does this mean the smoker was "old" (in the sense of incurring greater health costs) from 50 to 65, and the non-smoker from 60 to 75?

Another potential muddying of the waters: smokers are making themselves ill in particular ways, which is providing a large population of ill people, on whom the medical and pharmaceutical industry can experiment in order to help those individuals live longer, healthier, and less painful lives. This in turn benefits non-smokers. Lung cancer treatments tested on smokers can benefit lung cancer sufferers who were exposed to asbestos, to pollution, or just randomly got lung cancer for no reason apparent to medical science. Also, tested and tried treatments for smoking-related illnesses may benefit the sufferers of bronchitis, asthma, vocal chord polyps, etc etc.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:43 AM on August 3, 2008


(On the subject of smokers and work attitudes: Person A is complaining to Person B about Person C, a smoker, getting extra breaks in order to smoke. Person B replies: "Don't worry about it. Just think of it as flex-time that he takes from the end of his life.")
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:46 AM on August 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I reckon at the moment, I'm paying approximately $17 a day for the right to continue to smoke my two packs a day.

That's an interesting figure. You pay the equivalent of $17 in taxes every day, on top of the cost of your cigarettes?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on August 3, 2008


Are you factoring in the health costs of any people around you who are exposed to your secondhand smoke?
posted by orange swan

Are you kidding me? Are these same people in the car with you when you fill up?
You are probably exposed to more carcinogens sitting in a vehicle while it's being filled than passing by someone on the street who is smoking.
posted by Balisong at 12:00 PM on August 3, 2008


You pay the equivalent of $17 in taxes every day, on top of the cost of your cigarettes?

yeah, i think he does pay that much
posted by pyramid termite at 1:26 PM on August 3, 2008


That's the cost of a pack of cigarettes, that's not the taxation.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:09 PM on August 3, 2008


2 x 5.23 = 10.46 = $20.66
posted by pyramid termite at 3:50 PM on August 3, 2008


an attempt by politicians to destroy an industry they regard as immoral

B.C. has been at the forefront of anti-smoking for a long time. It's not a morality thing.. it's not some purists telling us all what's good for us. It's a strategic move by public healthcare interests to genuinely get people to stop smoking.

- banned cigarette advertising
- banned tobacoo company sponsorships of events (no more Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire)
- steadily increased taxes (to make tobacco less accessible to kids, which is where it all starts), and put this money towards public healthcare.
- Banned smoking in public/quasi-public spaces (which greatly contributed to dropping the rate of smokers).


Morality police, they would simply taket he straight path - make smoking illegal, go to war.

From a public health point of view, you just need to drop the rate of smokers low enough that the health issues drop into the statistical background noise.
So.. make smoking uncool, and make the tobacco companies pay for the cost of their product on our society.

You are still, as always, free to buy all the cigarettes you want and smoke as much as you want.

It seems like a fair balance to me, and I'm one who generally dislikes government interference in my life.
posted by TravellingDen at 3:00 PM on August 4, 2008


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