Do smokers cost the taxpayer money?

Discussion in 'The great financial debates' started by Firefly, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Firefly

    Firefly Frequent Poster

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    We have heard again and again about the increased healthcare costs associated with treating smoking related illnesses. However we also know that smokers die 10 years before non-smokers thus saving the taxpayer 10 years of the old-age pension plus any other public sector pension payments if these exists. On top of that the vat/excise on cigarettes is very high....so over the lifetime of an average 20-a-day smoker do they in effect pay their way? Any figures / reports on this would be great as I can't seem to find one and would love to know the costs (or benefits :eek:) of smoking.
     
  2. DrMoriarty

    DrMoriarty Moderator

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    A somewhat, eh, partisan take from the US, with loads of charts, links and a healthy dose of fruitcake conspiracy theory.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. rgfuller

    rgfuller Frequent Poster

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  4. Latrade

    Latrade Frequent Poster

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    NY Times article on recent Dutch government report:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/05iht-obese.1.9748884.html?_r=2

    The immediate answer is that it is in the state's interest that people die younger at the moment. The basic numbers show it costs more to live longer than those who smoke and die young. However, as clearly stated, this isn't a complete study and doesn't take into account other factors like time off work etc.

    However, there is a major problem just around the corner with people living 20+ years beyond retirement and who is going to pay for all these pensioners. The 65 retirement age was brought in at a time when the average person only lived for a few more years, 5-10 years past it.

    There have been more complete studies in the US, ut I hesitate to link to them as they were effectively sponsored by the Tabacco Industry, so huge dose of scepticism (even though it was a number crunching exercise).
     
  5. bullworth

    bullworth Frequent Poster

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    No they save the taxpayer money unlike us non smokers who will probably live well into our 90s receiving 24 hour care in nursing homes costing a couple of grand a week excluding the cost of very very expensive pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures.
     
  6. Gulliver

    Gulliver Frequent Poster

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    Is cost the only criterion for the state? Then the state probably gains a lot from smoking - Smokers die young - One of the most expensive options for the state is old people - Lets ensure that everybody dies as soon as their working life is over!! Then we'd have a great economy
     
  7. bullworth

    bullworth Frequent Poster

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    The state should act to enable the greatest happiness of the citizens in my view.
     
  8. bacchus

    bacchus Frequent Poster

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    Budget 2013 Headline: Ireland introduces free cigarettes in schools.

    May be state can gain an other 10 years by giving free boose as well?
     
  9. horusd

    horusd Frequent Poster

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    That could either mean less Nanny state or more if you think the state defines happiness itself. ;)

    On the smoking issue I imagine the state has its costs well-met with the high level of taxes, tho with all the smuggling which state is the question!
     
  10. bullworth

    bullworth Frequent Poster

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    The state should stop it's obsession with nannying civilized behaviours in my opinion and start nannying the chavs who roam the streets intimidating people.



    They won't do as well in sports but they might have better memories. I've heard about studies showing that nicotine helps in concentration
     
  11. villafan

    villafan Guest

    lolz. I've just quit after twenty years, my experience would lead me to disagree with the above statement. While I'm against the nanny state concept, I do think that fags will be illegal within 50-100 years. Either that or they'll just be taxed out of the reach of the working class.
     
  12. bullworth

    bullworth Frequent Poster

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    excessive taxation won't work . The black market is making a lot of profits as it is.
     
  13. csirl

    csirl Frequent Poster

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    The smokers save money because they die younger argument is a fallacy for the following reasons:

    Advocates say that they dont use up as many resources i.e. pensions, medical care as they dont live as long. This mistaken assumption would only be true smokers are fully active for as long as non-smokers. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the natural pathway towards death, the vast majority of people go through several years of steady decline during which they are increasingly dependent. However, the truth is that smokers start this decline much earlier. So while a non-smoker will typically put in 40 years of productive work before going into e.g. 10 years of decline, the smoker may only have 30 years of productive work before going into e.g. 10 years of decine. So the non-smoker works i.e. contributes 4 years for every year of decline whereas the smoker works only 3. There is also a lot of medical evidence that even during their productive years, smokers are much more likely to be sick.
     
  14. Richardwell2

    Richardwell2 Guest

    Maybe a silly comment

    Hey this might be a silly contribution but can we really look at this over the duration of a smokers life. I think we can only asses the financial impact on a yearly basis to solve our current financial problems.

    I'm not a smoker but why do smokers get all the stick, isn't alcohol more costly to our economies.
     
  15. Daisy2012

    Daisy2012 Frequent Poster

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    compared to the obesity epidemic, both tobacco and alcohol pale into insignificance.
     
  16. DB74

    DB74 Frequent Poster

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    Not to mention dodgy boob jobs!
     
  17. truthseeker

    truthseeker Frequent Poster

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    Interesting.

    On obesity:
    - source.

    On smoking:
    - source.

    - source.

    On alcohol:
    - source.

    On drug abuse:
    - source.

    Surprising results. I would have thought smoking would top all of them.

    Each figure has no doubt been arrived at using different methods - but its interesting to see what a quick google throws up in terms of cost to society of each of these things. I was aware I see a lot of obesity about compared to years ago, but I wasnt aware it was costing so much!
     
  18. Daisy2012

    Daisy2012 Frequent Poster

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    yup - smoking is way less of a problem now:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2012/0529/1224316867739.html
     
  19. truthseeker

    truthseeker Frequent Poster

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    The obesity problem has me baffled.

    Gyms are more popular than theyve ever been. When I was a teenager a gym was somewhere a boxer like Rocky went, or a professional athlete. Now everyone and their granny (and I literally mean their granny!!) seems to be in a gym.

    Yet I look around and I see obesity everywhere. There is a family down the road from where I live with 2 young children (maybe 7 and 9 years of age) and the girl (the 9 year old) is so fat that she has a permanently bright red face and has difficulty keeping up with the other children. Her younger brother is as bad. Ive seen the parents, they are obese to the point of being in a documentary. I dont understand how they are allowed to make their kids so fat. Surely its child abuse of a sort?
     
  20. Daisy2012

    Daisy2012 Frequent Poster

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    It's a really interesting - and absolutely tragic, IMO - issue.

    The primary problem is that it is not recognised that sugar, in all its forms, including fructose (fruit sugars) is as lethal a poison to the human body as tobacco or nicotine when taken to excess. Excess can be as little as a glass of orange juice.

    That glass of orange juice contains a whopping 5 and half to six teaspoons of sugar. That's a "No added sugar" juice. Yes, it contains vitamin C, but vitamin c is water soluble, so most of the vitamin c from that glass is pouring out the other end.

    Combine that glass of orange juice with a bowl of relatively OK cereals like Rice Krispies... a bowl of rice krispies has the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar in the cereal itself. I know that as a kid, I would never have eaten rice krispies without milk and another teaspoon (at least!) of sugar. That's another two teaspoons of sugar on top of the 5 and half.

    If you look at some of the positively obscene "breakfast cereals" like Kraves or Choco pops or whatever they're called - it makes me sick to the stomach to think that not only are these allowed to be sold and fed to children, but that parents are actively encouraged to feed their children this poison in the name of good health.

    Pretty much all of the establishment anti-obesity stuff has been levelled at junk food and the more sedentary lifestyle that children live these days. That plays a part, obviously, but portion size and sugar content in "healthy" foods are the biggest culprits in what is going to be the most serious problem facing pretty much all western societies in the current generation.