hmm. This could get into a debate. I think that anyone our age who smokes has to be classed as an idiot. Since I was 5 years old, people have constantly been telling us not to smoke, teachers, government, parents etc... However, elderly people who smoked and have illnesses such as COPD, CHD SHOULD have treatment payed as they are social diseases for them, they were never warned of the dangers.
However, how far do we go... what about obesity, drinking, drugs, rollerblading and falling breaking your wrist, genetics...?
The fact is: if we all want more out of our taxes we'll have to pay more taxes. From September onwards I'll have to pay for my prescriptions, dental check-ups, eyetests etc. I'd be happy to pay more tax if I got more from them.
What really, really, really urks me (i'm gonna try and say this without being lynched) is that the Scottish and Welsh get free prescriptions and the English don't.
I'm not a smoker, but I agree that the entire smoking argument is totally irrelevant. Yes, I think that eye care should be free, but no, I don't think that it's unfair when compared to smoking because the smokers pay for themselves through tax....
Smokers simply don't get the NHS for free. If you work out the amount of tax each individual smoker pays across their lifetime as a result of purchasing overpriced cigarettes, then this surely covers the cost of their treatment on the NHS, and beyond.
Smokers don't really get the NHS for free. i smoke and i still pay for all my prescriptions for my anti depressants (and whatever else they decided to drug me with).
Taxes on cigarettes are pretty high and probably subsidise the health care of us non-smokers as well as the smokers themselves.
Also, even though there is a general link between smoking and cancer, it is impossible to prove in individual cases that one's cancer has been caused by one's smoking -- one could well have got cancer even if one hadn't smoked, there is no way of knowing.
I do believe that government should be proactive in giving health advice though, and not only our government. Not to mention the inherent amorality of capitalism, British American Tobacco is a top FTSE company and its growth largely derives from Asian and African markets where health legislation (e.g. the "smoking kills" stickers that we have in the EU) and/or advice is often inexistent: there does seem to be a moral issue there. If people understand the risks and wish to take them nonetheless, they should be allowed to so do; if people do not understand the risks, they are giving mere blindfolded consent.