I attended a meeting at which a physician from England said smokers’ medical costs in the United Kingdom had been studied for 10 years. The results showed that smokers lived, on average, to age 72 and nonsmokers to age 84. Because of the decreased life expectancy, smokers cost the system less overall. Furthermore, he pointed out that smokers generally die of lung cancer, which is basically untreatable, and patients usually live six months or less, saving on current and long-term care medical expenses.
At the close of his talk, a person asked, “Why don’t we give free cigarettes to people in state and federal penitentiaries?” At a cost of $40,000 to $60,000 a year for housing each prisoner in state and federal facilities, we could save millions for our bankrupt penal system.
He closed by asking, “Who is the oldest living smoker you know?” I pass that question on.
We should not charge smokers more for health insurance.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader