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International nanny staters gather in Seoul to kill tobacco farming

Sure, pot looks like its gaining global acceptance (pretty much Uncle Marmot’s only cause for celebration on Election Day. That and the gay marriage referendums), but tobacco is still evil, apparently.

So evil, in fact, that UN busybodies will be gathering in Seoul this week with the aim of limiting tobacco production, putting millions out of work in the process:

Technically known as the fifth Conference of the Parties (CoP5), the week-long meeting at COEX in Gangnam will focus on controversial proposals that attempt to artificially reduce, and eventually phase out the crop through absurd regulations that will have no impact on smoking rates in the world. Although their livelihoods are at stake, not one of the 30 million people who are dependent on tobacco farming worldwide has been invited to attend COP5. Among those being affected will be 25,000 Koreans who are dependent with tobacco farming.

On the table are illogical measures such as regulating the seasons tobacco can be grown and limiting the land on which it can be grown. These ideas are so radical that even tobacco control advocates are calling them “simply impractical.”

The FCTC is also calling on governments to outlaw financial support to tobacco growers, banning technical assistance and contracts between growers and buyers, dismantling the bodies linking growers to governments, and banning minimum prices. And although the recommendations contain some guidance on how to identify and promote economically viable alternatives for tobacco farmers, we are a very long way from being able to provide adequate solutions for farmers in every corner of the world whose livelihoods would be affected by these measures.

It gets worse—it seems they even want to go after cigarette alternatives:

When the World Health Organization’s (WHO) tobacco control group meets in Seoul this week, it risks harming smokers who need help quitting. The group will consider bans on less harmful alternatives to cigarette smoking such as Swedish-style smokeless tobacco, or snus, and E-cigarettes. These products have been shown to help smokers stop smoking. The type of regulation applied to these products is especially important to Korea, which has among the highest rates of cigarette smoking within the OECD.

Much to the chagrin of New York City Nanny-in-Chief Michael Bloomberg, I’m sure, the United States is not a party to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which gives me hope that there may be a God.

You do wonder, though, whether the same folk who were so opposed to the KORUS FTA will be out in force protesting this attempt—by unelected international bureaucrats, no less—to destroy farmers’ livelihoods. Korean tobacco farmers are making a stink, at least.

Let’s watch how this unfolds.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    A ban on e-cigarettes seems especially spiteful in light of the fact that there is no burning, and hence no smoke, involved in the product. It’s merely a method of suspending nicotine in a water vapor which is inhaled, much like nicotine is suspended in “health tonic” drinks — like Korea’s own Bacchus-D and Bacchus-F — which are ingested.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    I have mixed feelings about things like this.

    On the one hand, I too deplore the nanny state mentality. And am quite content to let people claim their self-won darwinian fates.

    On the other hand, the reality is that absent some such regulation the rest of us are stuck with paying for the expensive medicines and health care to save smoking idiots from their own stupidity or at least ameliorate their suffering for increasingly long periods of time.

  • holterbarbour

    Are you referring to the nicotinamide (니코틴산아미드)? I don’t think that counts as nicotine.

  • Avaast

    I stopped caring about the rights of smokers a long time ago.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “On the other hand, the reality is that absent some such regulation the rest of us are stuck with paying for the expensive medicines and health care to save smoking idiots from their own stupidity or at least ameliorate their suffering for increasingly long periods of time.”

    This is why most countries with public health care put taxes on cigarettes.

  • Wedge

    Another useless UN organization, like, let’s see, pretty much all of them. Time to de-fund and dismantle the lot. Let the global nannies find sinecures in their own countries.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @5
    I doubt very much that those taxes are earmarked to offset the health care costs or that they would do so in any significant way if they were. They are just an indirect nanny measure – a disincentive to smoke.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Sperwer, in countries like Canada and the UK they are a huge source of revenue that would be very difficult to replace in the short term. When you consider that most people who die of smoking-related illness are over 60, and many of them would die after expensive hospitalisations even if they never smoked, the financial cost is really not that great.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    Avaast November 12, 2012 at 11:17 am I stopped caring about the rights of smokers a long time ago.

    Just wait til someone someday finds it expedient to stop caring about your rights.

    I don’t blame the Asians for trying to get hold of the problem–yes, problem–of tobacco use. After America ceased to be a growth market for ciggies, the tobacco companies pushed hard in Asia, giving out samples in malls, & things like that. If there’s a way of dialing down tobacco use without trampling people’s rights I’m all for it.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    I doubt very much that those taxes are earmarked to offset the health care costs or that they would do so in any significant way if they were. They are just an indirect nanny measure – a disincentive to smoke.

    No, the taxes just go into general revenue and in fact, they turn a nice profit for the State. In New York City a pack of cigarettes costs $13.50. Do you really think the health-care cost of each pack of smokes is $12.00? If so, why are all the liberals so hot to get Mary Jane legalized? That stuff is held for a long time in the lungs for best effect (or so I hear).

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Wedge wrote:

    Another useless UN organization, like, let’s see, pretty much all of them. Time to de-fund and dismantle the lot.

    Does that include UNICEF, UNIDO, UNCTAD, IFAD, UNESCO, UNAIDS, WHO, ICAO, ITU, to name a few?

    The UN could do with some fat-trimming, and probably half its meddling European bureaucrats ought to be sacked, but the body itself does a lot of good things. The UN provides peace-keepers, safe drinking water to millions, monitors elections, improves literacy (particularly for girls), clears land-mines, alleviates poverty, helps treat and prevent AIDS and other diseases.

    If the people the UN was beholden to conservative US pundits who like to style it a useless organisation because it’s not American, we’d still have polio and smallpox, and probably upwards of 5 million crippled kids in the third world. Consider the UN polio eradication program: 23 years of operation, 200 countries, 20 million volunteers, 2.5 billion children immunized.

    And that’s the feel-good stuff. The UN is also crucially involved in global aviation, shipping, telecommunications and other practical stuff that requires international standards and solutions. Like it or not, you need it.

    PS, let smokers smoke, as long as it’s not near me.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @8

    I don’t know about Canada or the UK, but according to Brookings the aggregate of US federal and state tobacco taxes in 2009 was ~ 30.4 billion compared to smoking-related health costs of 96 billion. In the meantime, as others have already pointed out, tobacco taces are treated by govts as general revenue and used primarily to fund other ostensibly desirable causes.

    Furthermore, your remark re other expensive hospitalizations is simply irrelevant to the issue of the justice of making some of us pay for the bad choices of others.

  • dokdoforever

    why don’t health insurance policies provide more incentives for people to get in better shape and stop unhealthy habits? Pay people to exercise, lose weight and stop smoking basically. They’ll be less likely to need to see a doctor and be more productive. US obesity rates are leading to declining life expectancy and rising health costs. Insurance providers should have an obvious incentive to promote healthier lifestyle choices.

  • Avaast

    @9

    I went to boarding school from a very early age, so I am unaware of the concept of ‘rights’. I am, however, rather too aware of the effects of second-hand smoke inhalation on the human body – this is mostly evidenced by my miraculous recovery from severe asthma after having moved away from my chain-smoking mother to the aforementioned boarding school.

    For those whose basic livelihood is directly impacted by such policies (tobacco harvesters or whatever you would call them), I will admit to feeling a small pang of remorse. Not so much for employees of British American Tobacco etc who for too long have profited off the addiction of millions. Although who knows whether this will have any affect on smoking rates at all…

  • Jashin Densetsu

    people who die of smoking tend to die pretty fast, so they might actually cost less than non-smokers who spend years hospitalized or in and out of hospitals. also smoking lowers obesity, and i think obesity is the leading cause of death and ends up costing the most http://www.livescience.com/15115-5-health-benefits-smoking-disease.html

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Shooting fat people is also a cure for obesity. That deserves as much approbation as a form of treatment for obesity as smoking. And the fact that obesity nowadays is a bigger problem than smoking is not an argument against the regulation of tobacco but an argument for the greater regulation of the food processing industry

  • Jashin Densetsu

    that makes no sense bro. getting shot and smoking are nothing alike. also smoking could be cheaper than regulating the food industry.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    I don’t imagine that cigarettes are a weight-loss plan per se. I’ve heard that some smokers — models, mostly — plump up after quitting because nicotine is an appetite suppressant (i.e., smokers don’t eat regularly) and they are accustomed to having something in their mouth all day and substitute food when they quit smoking.

  • Wedge

    #18: “…[models] are accustomed to having something in their mouth all day and substitute food when they quit smoking.”

    Whoa, softball pitch there.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Furthermore, your remark re other expensive hospitalizations is simply irrelevant to the issue of the justice of making some of us pay for the bad choices of others.”

    Yes, it is. It also has an effect on other costs. Let’s say that Tom dies from lung cancer when he’s 60, Dick dies of a massive heart attack at age 65 because he smoked too much, and Harry dies after complications from throat cancer surgery at age 70 because he also smoked too much. Now, let’s say they all had never smoked, and Tom dies of a colon blockage when he’s 85, Dick from stomach cancer when he’s 80, and Harry gets hit by a car and dies at age 83. In either set of events, their deaths are going to cost money, but in the latter scenario they’ve been drawing pensions for much longer and required treatment for this or that other problem that tend to increase in old age and require lots of expensive medicines. In the former scenario, they’ve left more assets behind at an earlier time that will make their children and grandchildren to be less likely to need state help or more likely to start businesses or put it into educations, helping more people to get ahead faster. If you want to talk in strict economic terms, people dying at around 65-70 is better than them living into their 80s and 90s and smoking is more likely to make this happen.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    I like the way you think, Yu Bum Suk. I would be interested in seeing the stats on time spent in hospital for cigarette-related illnesses though, as opposed to other elderly illnesses. Is lung and throat cancer relatively expensive to treat? What are the chances that a long-term smoker and lung/throat cancer victim might have led a relatively healthy life until dying a relatively swift death due to pneumonia or a heart attack or some other common elderly malaise?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    good point, Yu. that’s kind of what i was trying to say.

    but we also don’t know exactly how bad smoking is if it is actually bad at all:

    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/12/smoking-followup.html

    “Bottom line: a randomized trial suggests a large smoking harm on bad lungs, which can explain the entire apparently average smoking harm seen elsewhere. My best guess: smokers die ~10-30% more on average, living about 2-6 months less, but there’s much less net harm to strong lung folks.

    Added 10a: Wikipedia says

    ‘Male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life, respectively. .. The risk of dying from lung cancer before age 85 is 22.1% for a male smoker and 11.9% for a female current smoker, in the absence of competing causes of death. The corresponding estimates for lifelong nonsmokers are a 1.1% probability [20 times less] of dying from lung cancer before age 85 for a man of European descent, and a 0.8% probability [15 times less] for a woman.’

    Other sources mention risk factors of 15, 23 or 100. Such figures are common and, it seems, rather misleading. The above studies clearly suggest that the causal effect of smoking on mortality, even for lung cancer, is much less than the factors of 15+ often thrown around. “

  • Jashin Densetsu

    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/12/animal-smoking-studies.html

    “Some seem to think experiments show smoking causes cancer in animals. Not so, for mice or rats:”

    “Nor for hamsters, dogs, or primates:”

    “Now the number of animals in these studies is a few thousand at most, and their duration is less than decades, but experimenters did have complete control over making animals smoke heavily. Yes this review author works for a tobacco firm, but his papers seem professional.

    Searching for “animal smoking experiments,” I found many sources admitting we haven’t found much evidence smoking hurts animals, and none saying the opposite.”

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Jashin, another thing to consider is that it might not be smoking that causes people to live 10+ years less, but the mentality of many smokers. Are smokers more likely to hang out in bars? Yes. Are they more likely to take stupid risks, not play by rules (e.g. seatbelts), and pay less attention to their general health? Yes. So maybe it’s a lot more than smoking that’s reducing life expectancy amongst them.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    yeah you’re right especially these days.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    . If you want to talk in strict economic terms,

    Not me, that strikes me as one of the most benighted and pernicious forms of talk imaginable

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Not me, that strikes me as one of the most benighted and pernicious forms of talk imaginable

    Well, it is a way for people to talk about these moral issues without imposing each others’ differing sets of morals on each other. For example, we know that you’re in the gym all the time, building your body up. Imagine that there is an accident in that gym, and you become paralyzed as a result and are no longer able to fight crime by night because you’re in a wheelchair. While many people can agree that a bus passenger injured in a crash is injured through no fault of his own, can it be said that Sperwer’s paralysis was through no fault of his own? By removing the fault question from the discussion we don’t have an argument. But that means the smoker deserves the same consideration.

    You know I don’t think the state has any business in this discussion anyway. One reason to take the state out of it is to avoid the rational economic calculus. You’re 20 years older than me, and don’t work. The state probably deems you to be of no further economic value, while I’m going to be paying taxes for 20 more years. Despite the fact that you have the strength of 10 men and I’m a chair-bound blob, with the state involved in deciding who between us gets care, I think I get the heroic measures.

    Sorry, Batman.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    We nightshade crime fighters pay our own way; I do anyway.

    BTW, I agree with the importance of taking economics into consideration; I just disdain the “strict constructionism” that Bum Suk seems to be recommending. Life is more complicated than that, and for better or for worse, can’t be intelligently discussed apart from the “moral issues”.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    John Lennon benighted in ’65. He later be enlightened of the MBE and gave it back.

    Macca so benighted, his one-legged ex-wife be damed.

    BC, you besotted with yourself when you pass the bar?

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Not really. I’m pretty smart, so passing the bar was to be expected. I was relieved, though, because irresponsibly I had already started a family.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    Not me, that strikes me as one of the most benighted and pernicious forms of talk imaginable

    that’s inevitably what the smoking issue leads to. how else are you going to talk about it? who’s to say that smokers lead more miserable lives than non-smokers? or that the lifetime of pleasure a smoker might derive is worth less to him than a few extra years at the end of his life?

  • Anonymous_Joe

    The line was meant to befunny. Com’ on, “lawyer” “besotted” “bar”…. When am I going to get a chance with that one again?

    (BTW, if I had a do-over, I would have written “Macca so benighted, the one-legged shrew be damed.”)

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @31

    I don’t give a damn, one way or the other, about a smoker’s quality of life; he’s free to enjoy it as he sees fit. I just don’t want to have to inhale his second hand smoke or pay for the consequences of his selg-indulgence.

  • inkevitch

    Brendon, the state doesn’t determine who gets heroic measures. That is a clinical decision and made based on your likelihood of survival after intervention. Although I am lead to believe in the US the decision is based on your insurance, which also is not necessarily related to your ongoing contribution to society.

  • inkevitch

    Lol Jashin, That is such as massive misunderstanding of statistics.
    Anyway if you smoke you are more likely to come to hospital, your hospital stay is likely to be protacted, you are more likely to represent.

    As someone that works in a hospital I can see first hand that the economic burden of smoking is massive, and I also entertained the idea that some smoking related disease will reduce the years in high care nursing homes and reduce the burden of old age on the public. This simply isn’t born in reality, because of their emphysema, peripheral vascular disease, heart disease, strokes and lobectomies, smokers end up in high care nursing homes and staying in hospitals at an earlier stage and retire prematurely because of disability. They have significant reductions in productive working years but still spend the same time convalescing. We have become very good at getting these people to live longer and longer on more and more drugs.

    The only good thing about smoking is that it makes post surgery patients mobilise earlier so they go out the front door to have the ten cigarettes a day.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    #1

    much like nicotine is suspended in “health tonic” drinks — like Korea’s own Bacchus-D and Bacchus-F — which are ingested.

    Bacchus-D and Bacchus-F do NOT contain nicotine….

    The ingredients are:

    water
    high fructose corn syrup
    sugar
    taurine
    inositol
    guaraná extract
    royal jelly
    nicotinamide
    pyridoxine hcl
    riboflavin sodium phosphate
    thiamine
    nitrate preserved with sodium benzoate
    ethanol
    citric acid anhydrous
    sorbitol
    apple juice
    sodium chloride
    natural essences(orange pineapple strawberry)
    artificial flavors

    Nicotinamide, also known as niacinamide and nicotinic acid amide, is the amide of nicotinic acid (vitamin B3 / niacin). Nicotinamide is a water-soluble vitamin and is part of the vitamin B group. Nicotinic acid, also known as niacin.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    but …..

    I agree on you with the –

    A ban on e-cigarettes seems especially spiteful in light of the fact that there is no burning, and hence no smoke, involved in the product. It’s merely a method of suspending nicotine in a water vapor which is inhaled,

    without my e-cigg in my pocket – I would be a cranky person throughout the day at work – where I cannot smoke for 8 hours.

    It’s great to be able to take a few puffs on the e-cigg – although it does leave a smell of nicotine in the air – even though there is no smoke.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    The FCTC has no right doing what they are doing…

    Smokers actually SAVE money for the economy – (not a burden)

    (1) smokers are not as great a burden on the hospital system as people think because the diseases they contract tend to kill them quickly.

    (2) they tend to die at a relatively young age, so they’re less of a burden on the government age pension.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Everyone do your patriotic duty: Light up for America!

    Bye-Bye and Buy Bonds.

  • silver surfer

    Shouldn’t the UN be going to Virginia for this sort of thing?

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Must be the taurine that gets me heart racing then.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    I don’t give a damn, one way or the other, about a smoker’s quality of life; he’s free to enjoy it as he sees fit. I just don’t want to have to inhale his second hand smoke or pay for the consequences of his selg-indulgence.

    in other words, you want to look at this ultimately in strict economic terms, which you were just complaining about before.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    if you’re mad about having to pay for smokers, then you might get really pissed about having to pay for the self-indulgence of thin and healthy people http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-04-08-fda-tobacco-costs_N.htm

    “However, smokers die some 10 years earlier than nonsmokers, according to the CDC, and those premature deaths provide a savings to Medicare, Social Security, private pensions and other programs.

    Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi studied the net costs of smoking-related spending and savings and found that for every pack of cigarettes smoked, the country reaps a net cost savings of 32 cents.

    “It looks unpleasant or ghoulish to look at the cost savings as well as the cost increases and it’s not a good thing that smoking kills people,” Viscusi said in an interview. “But if you’re going to follow this health-cost train all the way, you have to take into account all the effects, not just the ones you like in terms of getting your bill passed.”

    Viscusi worked as a litigation expert for the tobacco industry in lawsuits by states but said that his research, which has been published in peer-reviewed journals, has never been funded by industry.

    Other researchers have reached similar conclusions.

    A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal said that health care costs for smokers were about $326,000 from age 20 on, compared to about $417,000 for thin and healthy people.

    The reason: The thin, healthy people lived much longer.

    Willard Manning, a professor of health economics and policy at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy Studies, was lead author on a paper published two decades ago in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that, taking into account tobacco taxes in effect at the time, smokers were not a financial burden to society.”

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @42

    Are you really that stupid or do you just think it’s anything but boorish to act the fool?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    @44

    you complained about looking at this in strict economic terms and then said that you don’t really care about this except in terms of how it affects you economically.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @41

    Taurine is more likely to counteract or balance the stimulative effects. It is used by bodybuilders as a relaxant for muscles overstrained by hard exercise, particularly the sort of resulting from overtraining driven by pushing the muscles beyond 80-90 % of capacity for extended periods of time either through mental discipline and/or with the assistance of various legal stimulants and/or AAS. I use a cocktail of taurine, arginine, citrulline malate, BCAAs and other amino acids and a rainbow of vitamins and minerals to avoid/ameliorate cramps and promote recovery from the immediate catabolic effect of heavy training.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    you complained about looking at this in strict economic terms

    That’s because “looking at it” in those terms alone, as you seem intent on doing, eg @43, misses the real issue, ie, whether its just to require a non-smoker to pay the smoker’s medical bills. That’s an issue even if the cost is small. I wouldn’t pay a dime. The only reason economics is involved here is because it defines the particular form of the injustice. if the remedy for smokers’s lung involved my being forced to provide one of mine in a transplant to a smoker, economics doesn’t enter into it, but the moral issue is the same.

  • inkevitch

    Jashin, in that study they did not actually calculate the costs per patient, they just estimated a yearly cost to the health system for each age group and then added them up for the life expectancies of smokers and non smokers.

    I will repeat, smokers start requiring health care services at a younger age and require nursing home placement/ disability support at a younger age. They require home oxygen which is expensive. The respiratory ward, which is about 1/5th of the medical wards would almost not exist without them, thoracic surgery would have about a third of its current business, and the bigger operation (lobectomies) would be done 1/10th as often.

    Most people don’t die from their first ischaemic event (stroke or myocardial infarct), after they have it they will be on aspirin, metoprolol, blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, probably plavix. Smoker have these in the fifties while non smokers have them in their sixties and seventies. So they both spend the same amount of time on these expensive drugs.

    Saying “they die younger so they cost the health system less” is such an over simplification. Patients with cancer that get expensive chemotherapy die younger, but during the last 2-3 years of their life they will cost healthcare systems more than most people will for their entire lives. Jashin, have a look at who is behind those articles you post, no doubt a smokers interest group funded by tobacco who have used sloppy maths to justify their statements.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    I use a cocktail of taurine, arginine, citrulline malate, BCAAs and other amino acids and a rainbow of vitamins and minerals to avoid/ameliorate cramps

    Cat food is full of all those things – cats especially need the taurine.

  • inkevitch

    ” taking into account tobacco taxes in effect at the time, smokers were not a financial burden to society”

    This I agree with, most people who are smoker in aus will spend 3-5K a year netting tax of 2.5-4k, about right to cover their ADDITIONAL health care costs.

  • inkevitch

    Jakgani said,

    The FCTC has no right doing what they are doing…

    Smokers actually SAVE money for the economy – (not a burden)

    (1) smokers are not as great a burden on the hospital system as people think because the diseases they contract tend to kill them quickly.

    (2) they tend to die at a relatively young age, so they’re less of a burden on the government age pension.”

    1- they are, this is simply not true

    2 – their diseases are more prolonged because they have one fasiling organ system at a time and are younger so they have more physiological reserve than an eighty year old that has the same issue. It takes a long time to die from emphysema, imaging drowning over five years, Perpipheral vascular disease is disabling, but usually gets operated on well before it becomes lethal these days.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “if the remedy for smokers’s lung involved my being forced to provide one of mine in a transplant to a smoker, economics doesn’t enter into it, but the moral issue is the same.”

    Sperwer, which is it then, a moral or economic argument? Nobody’s asking you to donate a lung. Whichever argument you take, we also need to compare it to other lifestyle choices. I would argue that a thin smoker who works out regularly (such as me) is less likely to need medical help than an obese person over most of one’s life. So should we start putting huge taxes on fast food and junk food? We’re both much less likely to need major medical attention in the next decade than a race car driver – should race cars be heavily taxed?

    In any event, it seems there are strong arguments both for and against smokers costing society a great deal. Governments need to make a guess and try taxing accordingly. Personally I think the Korean government has done a good job in this regard.

    On a side note, officials at the Olympic village in London were shocked by how many Olympic athletes smoke (including Bradley Wiggins). It’s interesting that the anti-smoking lobby never goes after them, as it would just make people realise, well, if Wiggins, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney, Mario Balotelli, almost all French-Canadian hockey players in the 20th century / etc. do it then it can’t be that bad.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    YBS

    My lack of interest in whether you smoke or not couldn’t be more profound – as long as you don’t foul the air in my vicinity or expect me to subsidize your medical expenses.

  • Wedge

    This is why state-provided healthcare is bad. There will always be people who think they shouldn’t be funding carb-eaters and smokers, and they will seek to limit lifestyle choices. Keep health in the private sector and we all win.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    53, Actually, if you pay taxes in Korea or Canada I do expect you to subsidise my medical expenses, whether it’s for lung cancer or a broken arm, just like if you’re living in a country in which I pay taxes I expect to subsidise your medical expenses, whether it’s because of over-eating, reckless driving, or second-hand smoke.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Why should I have to do so? I mean “morally-speaking”?

  • Avaast

    Interesting article over on BBC news about James Buchanan Duke, the ‘father of the modern cigarette’.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20042217

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Keep health in the private sector and we all win.

    Or rather, we’re all free to lose in our own chosen way. As for me, I hope to go out in a time-travel paradox.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    I plan to go out in the same mode as the Archbishop of Paris and Nelson Rockefeller.

  • marcel joseph

    Disgusting cigarette butts on every street, in every park and in every stairwell in Korea. If smokers respected the rights of others, then perhaps we could respect theirs. But after a century of pollution they’ve proved themselves unworthy of any respect.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    #51

    1- they are, this is simply not true

    2 – their diseases are more prolonged because they have one fasiling organ system at a time and are younger so they have more physiological reserve than an eighty year old that has the same issue. It takes a long time to die from emphysema, imaging drowning over five years, Perpipheral vascular disease is disabling, but usually gets operated on well before it becomes lethal these days.

    well… professionals and specialists in the field seem to agree with me…

    Smoking takes years off your life and adds dollars to the cost of health care. Yet nonsmokers cost society money, too — by living longer.
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-04-08-fda-tobacco-costs_N.htm

    the additional costs to society of caring for a nonsmoking population that lives longer.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30092491/ns/health-health_care/t/smokers-may-not-be-financial-burden-society/

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Keep health in the private sector and we all win.

    Bullshit. Name one purely private sector health system where everybody wins. Just one.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Why does everyone have to win? Name a public health system where everybody wins.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @61

    What do you imagine is the moral take-away from the supposed fact that the end of life medical expenses of those who last longer because they take relatively better care of themselves are greater than those who knowingly choose to engage in demonstratively riskier behaviour?

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    Why does everyone have to win?

    Ask Wedge – he’s the one making the claim.

    Name a public health system where everybody wins.

    Why? What’s your point? Hybrid public/private systems are best systems in the world, which you’d know if you looked at any data on the subject.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Best for whom? For the ones who least deserve to be helped? Moral hazard. if you smoke, if youre obese, then why should you be helped with money from my pocket? Just die.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Sprwer,

    the take away is obvious: health care should be 100% privately funded – you pay for your own with no help from anyone. No exceptions for anyone. Remove the moral hazard: smoke and overeat at your own risk, and cover the full costs. Allow people to make the decisions themselves if they wish to die earlier because its supposedly cheaper. But under no circumstances expect me to pitch in to help you.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    You are preaching to the choir, SS.

    I still want to hear what Jak and YBS have to say.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    @47

    i’m not intent on “looking at it” in those terms alone bro. it’s generally the anti-smokers who end up looking at this strictly in economic terms and in terms of second-hand smoking.

    as for the morals of having to pay for smokers, that’s a general problem, not specific to smoking. especially if smokers actually do cost less than non-smokers.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I consider second hand smoke to be a form of physical assault and physical assault should be met with a physical reaction. You are free to smoke but do it away from me.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    as long as you don’t foul the air in my vicinity or expect me to subsidize your medical expenses.

    why should your preference for smokeless air in your vicinity take precedence?

    what about non-smokers? if they cost more aren’t they being subsidized more than smokers?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    70

    why don’t you get some sort of suit, like the bubble boy?

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #71 Jashin Densetsu: “why should your preference for smokeless air in your vicinity take precedence?”

    Because your freedom to smoke infringes on my right to smokeless air, which is the natural state.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    that’s the naturalistic fallacy bro.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Wait a minute, I thought this blog was full of Obamunists. Suddenly it’s all flinty libertarians when it comes to taking care of the hated smokers. Interesting.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    by your reasoning, agriculture, cities, cars, etc aren’t the “natural state” so all those things infringe upon the right to be without them.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    also humans have been smoking shit for thousands of years. and people have been living around smoky campfires for even longer. estimates of humans and human ancestors living around fires range from hundreds of thousands to even millions of years. smoky air may be the most “natural” thing there is for humans.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    smoky campfires may precede language. so smoky air may be more of a “natural” state than the air filled with the sounds of human language. so i should have more of a right to public silence than smokeless air.

  • inkevitch

    Congratulations Jakgani,
    You googled the exact same information that Jashin Denetsu did. I refer you to my comment to him. That is smokers enter the health care system at least 10yrs earlier as “chronicly unwell”. That because of declining functional status they are productive for less years. That they convalesce just as long as non smoker they just start convalescing at 60-70 instead of 70-80. They require far higher levels of disability support. Simply going 10yrs times the average cost of pension plus the average yearly cost of health care for a seventy year old is not research. So me where these studies have actually done a case by case cost analysis of a statistically significant population and I will find their argument plausable. Once again it says that per pack the state makes 32c, on a $13 pack of cigarretes that must be close to $8 (60%) or more tax that is not likely to be a statistically significant result ie it could feasibly also fall on the net loss side. Also take into consideration that this tax is only a decade or so old and we are paying for people who have been incurring 60yrs of health effects, it will take some years to balance out.

    I am personally happy to treat people who don’t “deserve” this medical care. I spent all day today treating people who didn’t “deserve” this level of medical care. That is the price I happily pay so that the day one of my family members or friends who “deserve” medical care but can’t afford some expensive treatment will have access to it.

  • inkevitch

    Hey B. Carr, I wrote that above before I read what you wrote. But yeah my point is smoking costs the public, the “research” that disputes this is lazy and dishonest, the tax seems reasonable as form of user pay and also as a deterent, but despite being smokers these people still deserve access to health, as do the mentally ill, children with down syndrome, children with leukaemia, heroin addicts, fatties and lawyers.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Let’s all go back to the natural state! Life expectancy, age 26. Like Korea’s was at the end of the 19th century.

  • inkevitch

    Jakgani,
    That si the same article posted twice as well as being the same articale that Jashin posted.

    Very disappointed in you.

    Please try harder

  • Jashin Densetsu

    @inkevitch

    we all know the theory of how it’s supposed to cost more. but theory doesn’t matter if the data doesn’t fit. you haven’t refuted the data.

  • inkevitch

    “what about non-smokers? if they cost more aren’t they being subsidized more than smokers?”

    They aren’t, nothing says they are. The article said that AFTER the tax if they had been paying that tax for every pack they smoked, not just the last 10 years, that there MAY (remember this is a statistical figure and unlikely to be significant) be a next cost benefit based on health care costs.

    But you will keep believing what you want to believe, I mean msnbc and usatoday are also where I go for accurate medical and economic news.

  • inkevitch

    Jashin,

    They haven’t provided the data.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #74 Jashin Densetsu: “that’s the naturalistic fallacy bro.”

    The naturalistic fallacy is something else. Still, let me restate: smokeless air is air’s status quo state. Smokers change the state of the air, and the change infringes on non-smokers rights to clean air.

    Unless you want to argue for law of the jungle libertarianism, how is your argument different from your face in a still, set (as in basketball) position infringes on my freedom to move my fist in a punching action, so we have no way to determine whose rights should yield?

    #76 Jashin Densetsu: “by your reasoning, agriculture, cities, cars, etc aren’t the “natural state” so all those things infringe upon the right to be without them.”

    If I reduce your argument (which is not mine), it will lead to “no stop signs, speed limits”, and we’ll be on a highway to hell (yes, thank you very much.). Even the most ardent, living in the real world, for-chrissakes-how-much- more-proof-do-you-need-for-Obama’s-born-an-American-citizen libertarians do not argue those things.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    inkevitch

    google the studies mentioned in the news articles bro. presumably the data is in there.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Besides, no one is arguing that smokers don’t have a right to smoke any more than drinkers don’t have a right to drink or tokers have a right to toke (what? wait…). Anyway you get the point.

    Drinkers have a right to drink and they do so with reasonable limitations that accommodate the rights of others that might otherwise be forced to bear the costs of drinkers’ right to drink. That’s why we have DUI’s.

    I describe myself as a living in the real world civil libertarian. I am not against zoning regulations. What would life be like without zoning? We would be living in Korea. (Sorry, I’m in a bad mood.)

  • inkevitch

    And you may also notice I did refute the data provided by a litigation expert FOR the tobacco industry 1) people haven’t been paying that level of tax for their whole smoking lives
    2) 32c benefit on an $8 per pack is unlikely to be statistically significant

    I just read one of his other papers, and it is also just a economic statistical model based on a lkong slew of assumption, no actual “research” ie case studies or cohort studies were done. It is all just mathematic manipulation.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    Still, let me restate: smokeless air is air’s status quo state. Smokers change the state of the air, and the change infringes on non-smokers rights to clean air.

    unpaved roads are land’s status quo state. pavement changes the state of the land, and the change infringes on people’s rights to unpaved roads.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    anon joe

    smoky air may be the air’s natural state for humans. smoky campfires go way back.

  • inkevitch

    Sorry Jashin, you want me to google “A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal” without author or title? hmmmm. Maybe you shouldn’t use usatoday recycled AP stories for source material on public health/ science/ economics. I did google Viscusi, and what I saw wasn’t actual cas based cost analysis but using a series of statistical algorythms, multiple assumptions and no consultation with health care systems or patient data.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Are you comparing second hand smoke to paved roads? Who does second hand smoke benefit?

    (BTW, I understand where you want to go with this argument. If you want to take this to the extreme, I would strongly prefer to live in the modern day U.S. to your vision of libertarian utopia.)

  • Jashin Densetsu

    inkevitch

    you haven’t refuted it. also there are 3 different studies mentioned in the article.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    you werent talking about “benefits”, anon joe. you were talking about “rights” bro.

  • inkevitch

    In October 1994, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER, an organization which received support from Philip Morris)

    WOW, big suprise that one. Please continue Jashin? I thought you liked conspiracy theories Jashin, aren’t you at all interested that a “national bureau” funded by the largest cigarette company produces a paper aimed at pressuring law makers to not increase taxes on cigarettes?

    Where in the esteemed Prof Viscusi’s work did he account for the longer stays in hospital, the increased frequency of admissions, the earlier requirment for heart disease medication, the earlier requirement for nursing home placement.

  • inkevitch

    I did refute it, challenged his methodology, challenged his impartialness.

    The dutch study is impossible to search for with that little information.

    And the third study said that taking taxes into consideration smokers were not a financial burden. a point I don’t disagree with. It does not say there is a net profit to the state. I think the current level of taxation is reasonable and is likely close to the social costs, and in 15-25 years when the people having all the smoking related health problems are in the health system it will be fine, but we are currently treating people for medical problems that have been caused by cigarretes that have not been taxed at that level.

    But please go on.

  • inkevitch

    Jashin,
    At some point I got so caught up in trying to point out that your point simply isnt born out by reality I forgot my intent was to just refute the lazy disinformation you were spouting and I actually started trying to argue and converse with you. Forgetting of course that is a futile act trying to convince you of anything approaching reality.

    Any way I hope that my arguments have at least persuaded reasonable people that this “research” does not actually support the argument that smoking cigarettes has a net cost benefit. As for you JD, I hope you enjoyed yourself.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    the NBER is an independent econ research org bro. it’s not pro smoking.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    you haven’t refuted or successfully challenged anything.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #95 Jashin Densetsu: you werent talking about “benefits”, anon joe. you were talking about “rights” bro.

    Living in the real world has to have some context of the rights of the individual balanced against the harms to society. “Cost” and “benefit” are just the words we use.

    Long before it was cool to support gay rights (particularly the private aspects) and while I still had an “ewww” factor, I came to the conclusion that private behavior that had no cost to society was a no-brainer: consenting adults in their private behavior could be made better off with no cost to society. EZ cheezy…. I openly argued for and supported them in institutions that you did not do that in.

    As the court heard cases that considered laws against civil rights, I almost always predicted their outcomes, and when I was wrong, it was because the courts weren’t yet ready. The laws were overturned later. When we look back on those laws today, many of us scratch our heads.

    I don’t see anyone overturning stop signs except for teenage vandals.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/snuff-facts

    “Professor W. Kip Viscusi of Harvard Law School calculates that the extra health-care costs of smokers are about $.50 per pack of cigarettes. But smokers do not live as long as non-smokers and, thus, smokers create savings for taxpayers that usually aren’t considered. Because smokers die earlier than non-smokers, taxpayers save expenditures that otherwise would be made for pensions as well as nursing home care and other costs related to conditions associated with old age.

    When those savings are computed (at a 3 percent discount rate), they more than offset the costs that smokers create. Smokers actually save society about $.32 per pack smoked. Not only do smokers save taxpayers money, smokers also pay an average of $.53 per pack in federal and state taxes. And given the approximately 30 billion packs of cigarettes smoked a year in the United States, smokers pay $15.9 billion more than would be necessary if we were to follow the principle that people should pay for the costs they impose on others. In effect, smokers pay taxpayers for the right to smoke in addition to the savings that they create for taxpayers by dying early.

    While smokers create net benefits for the nation as a whole, does the picture change when viewed state by state? You’ll hear state officials argue that tobacco taxes and pension savings accrue largely to the federal government, and, therefore, state attempts to recoup monies from tobacco companies are justified. That sounds reasonable, until you look at the facts.

    The highest cigarette-related health-care costs of any state are in New York, where they come to about $.07 per pack. But state pension and nursing home savings offset those medical care costs, and then some, so that New York actually benefits to the tune of about $.034 per pack of cigarettes consumed. And because New York has a very high state tax of $.56 per pack, smokers pay a net amount of about $.59 per pack for the right to smoke and not impose costs on others. Even in Virginia, which has the lowest tax of any state, $.025 per pack, smokers pay about $.10 more per pack than the costs they impose on taxpayers.”

  • Jashin Densetsu

    according to Viscusi, smokers save taxpayers money even before they pay smoking related taxes.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    the take away is obvious: health care should be 100% privately funded – you pay for your own with no help from anyone. No exceptions for anyone. Remove the moral hazard: smoke and overeat at your own risk, and cover the full costs. Allow people to make the decisions themselves if they wish to die earlier because its supposedly cheaper. But under no circumstances expect me to pitch in to help you.

    What a demented idea. Not all health problems are caused by the user. Some are completely random, some are genetic, some are accidents.

    Nor is everyone created equally, in terms of how clever they are, how capable of achieving success and becoming wealthy, and therefore being able to afford care in a 100% private system.

    Hybrid systems have proven to be the most efficient systems in the world. They provide the best care at the best price-point, and also offer extra special care and services for those who wish to pay more. The data is out there – for god’s sake, look it up.

    Unsurprisingly, the only person making any sense on this thread is inkevitch, who also happens to be the only health practitioner.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    worried about second hand smoke – like these adjumnas who complain and then go push their childs pram into a bus stop along a busy motorway – so the kids can breathe in all the fuels and emissions?

    Kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms.

    Any time you transfer underwear from the washer to the dryer, you’re getting E. coli on your hands. Just one soiled undergarment can spread bacteria to the whole load and machine.

    Drinking fountains are bound to be germy, but school fountains are the worst, with anywhere from 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch on the spigot.

    Saliva, bacteria and fecal matter are just a few of the substances found on shopping cart handles. Cart handles rank high on the yuck scale because they’re handled by dozens of people every day and, of course, raw food carries nasty pathogens.

    If you’re not careful, you might pick up more than quick cash from your local ATM. These buttons have more gunk on them than most public-bathroom doorknobs!

    Recent studies found that most women’s purses had tens of thousands of bacteria on the bottom and a few were overrun with millions. Another study found bugs like pseudomonas (which can cause eye infections) and skin-infection-causing staphylococcus bacteria, as well as salmonella and E. coli.

    When researchers sampled playgrounds, they found blood, mucus, saliva and urine. Pair those findings with the fact that children put their fingers in their mouths and noses more than the rest of us, and it’s easy to understand why Junior (and maybe his mom or dad) has the sniffles.

    Antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus has been found on yoga mats and cardio and resistance machines. At high schools, antibiotic-resistant-staph infections have been transmitted through wrestling mats. The same thing could happen at health clubs.

    Office phones often have more than 25,000 germs per square inch, and your desk, computer keyboard and mouse aren’t far behind. Phones, including cell phones, can be pretty gross because they get coated with germs from your mouth and hands.

    The bathtub is actually quite dirty. There is usually more germs in your bathtub then there is in your kitchen garbage.

    so whilst we are banning smokers – to PROTECT OUR HEALTH – why don’t we also ban kitchen sinks, washing underwear, drinking fountains, shopping carts, ATMS, purses/handbags, playgrounds, gyms, cellphones and computer keyboards/mice.

  • Arghaeri

    I did refute it, challenged his methodology, challenged his impartialness.

    That would be rebut, you’ve challenged it, but you don’t appear to have proven it wrong

  • inkevitch

    refute: to deny the truth or accuracy of, to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous

    I have done all of these except the evidence part because the paper by (not study) by Viscusi is an economic MODEL not based on evidence, so I can not argue against its evidence.

    If Viscusi got a random selection of patients from a large cohort study and then calculated and compared the life long health costs of the smokers vs the non smokers. Then i would have to use evidence.

    He has just made an economic model based on financial data, with the only health data he has taken into consideration being the decreased life expectancy without considering the age that these patients reach “old age”.

  • inkevitch

    Jakgani, 1 smoking hasn’t been banned, you can still legaly buy cigarettes, you ar prohibited smoking in some places
    2. there are millions of bacteria on your skin and in your alimentry system, that doesn’t make them health hazards. It is also what bacteria is there that is important.
    3. These arent things which are done with no perceivable benefits to others, smoking is.

    I wonder if you actually believe the crap you say or this is another case of stirring the pot?

  • inkevitch

    Also Jakgani our immune systems have generally been developed to deal with the above risks you discussed (except the bus/car fumes), it hasn’t reached a point where it can easily deal with carcinogens.

  • inkevitch

    Jashin,

    What part of funded by Philip Morris makes you think it is independent and not pro-tobacco

  • inkevitch

    Involvement with the tobacco industry

    Professor Viscusi has served as both a consultant and expert witness for the tobacco industry on secondhand smoke issues. According to a 1995 Tobacco Institute budget, he was paid a total of $32,810 for comments and testimony he gave on the industry’s behalf during 1994 and 1995 to help the industry counter Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efforts to address secondhand smoke issues in the workplace. [7]

    Professor Viscusi’s writings on smoking issues–costs, taxation, secondhand smoke and youth smoking–have invariably been supportive of the tobacco industry.

  • inkevitch

    Lol, I found the papr. Browsed through it. Apart from being written by a man paid by tobacco industry while at a right wing think tank funded by the tobacco industy, it is from 1994 and filled with holes and false assumptions, he side tracks to argue that cigarettes have lower tar than previously (but wasnt he trying to argue that the cigarettes killing smokers was good for the economy?).

    He does not take into consideration any of the points made above, he does not reference or provide the source data which he gets his figures from. And that paper was a “working paper”, I don’t believe it was published in “peer reviewed” publications.

  • inkevitch
  • Arghaeri

    You make convincing arguments Inkevitch, but do I understand correctly that you accept that an appropriately high level of taxation, which I belive is something like 80% of the sales price, does more than offset the additional health cost?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    Viscusi has written many papers and books bro. the tobacco industry has used him and his stuff. so what?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    arghaeri,

    according to Viscusi, in the US at least smokers save taxpayers money even before they pay smoking related taxes. the taxes are just extra.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    inkevitch

    you mentioned you work in a hospital bro. you may be biased then. if non-smokers cost more, then you’d have an incentive to make more non-smokers and increase your customers.

  • CactusMcHarris

    Hoju,

    Unsurprisingly, the only person making any sense on this thread is inkevitch, who also happens to be the only health practitioner.

    .

    OK, he’s got company – I’m married to a health practioner and she gets very vexed at the millions of dollars spent here on people whose lives had unfortunate choices (drink, drugs, tobacco, to be a little redundant and yet not) made by them.

  • CactusMcHarris

    J-Dense,

    You continue to be an idiot. Questioning the harm of smoking- yeah, that beam from the Israeli-melted 78th floor of Tower 1 really did do some lasting damage, didn’t it, continuing to inhibit your cognitive functions with almost total impairment of critical reasoning. Way to go, brobarf.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    we should question the harm of smoking. the harm may be overstated. http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/12/smoking-followup.html

    “Bottom line: a randomized trial suggests a large smoking harm on bad lungs, which can explain the entire apparently average smoking harm seen elsewhere. My best guess: smokers die ~10-30% more on average, living about 2-6 months less, but there’s much less net harm to strong lung folks. … Other sources mention risk factors of 15, 23 or 100. Such figures are common and, it seems, rather misleading. The above studies clearly suggest that the causal effect of smoking on mortality, even for lung cancer, is much less than the factors of 15+ often thrown around. “

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Wait a minute, I thought this blog was full of Obamunists. Suddenly it’s all flinty libertarians when it comes to taking care of the hated smokers.

    Don’t look at me. I support criminalization of tobacco and extremely, extremely high taxes on junk food and sugary sodas.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    What a demented idea.

    Co-signed.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    Questioning the harm of smoking

    smoking may be less harmful than your lifestyle bro http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/3/657.abstract

    “In a major Canadian centre, life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, we estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years will not reach their 65th birthday. Under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.”

  • Jashin Densetsu

    The Scientific Scandal of Anti-Smoking By J. R. Johnstone, PhD (Monash) and P.D. Finch, Emeritus Professor of Mathematical Statistics (Monash) http://members.iinet.com.au/~ray/TSSOASb.html

    “These strong opinions for and against smoking were not supported by much evidence either way until 1950 when Richard Doll and Bradford Hill showed that smokers seemed more likely to develop lung cancer. A campaign was begun to limit smoking. But Sir Ronald Fisher, arguably the greatest statistician of the 20th century, had noticed a bizarre anomaly in their results. Doll and Hill had asked their subjects if they inhaled. Fisher showed that men who inhaled were significantly less likely to develop lung cancer than non-inhalers. As Fisher said, “even equality would be a fair knock-out for the theory that smoke in the lung causes cancer.”

    Doll and Hill decided to follow their preliminary work with a much larger and protracted study. British doctors were asked to take part as subjects. 40.000 volunteered and 20,000 refused. The relative health of smokers, nonsmokers and particularly ex-smokers would be compared over the course of future years. In this trial smokers would no longer be asked whether they inhaled, in spite of the earlier result. Fisher commented: “I suppose the subject of inhaling had become distasteful to the research workers, and they just wanted to hear as little about inhaling as possible”. And: “Should not these workers have let the world know not only that they had discovered the cause of lung cancer (cigarettes) but also that they had discovered the means of its prevention (inhaling cigarette smoke)? How had the MRC [Medical Research Council] the heart to withhold this information from the thousands who would otherwise die of lung cancer?”

    Five year’s later, in 1964, Doll and Hill responded to this damning criticism. They did not explain why they had withdrawn the question about inhaling. Instead they complained that Fisher had not examined their more recent results but they agreed their results were mystifying. Fisher had died 2 years earlier and could not reply.

    This refusal to consider conflicting evidence is the negation of the scientific method. It has been the hallmark of fifty years of antismoking propaganda and what with good reason may well be described as one of the greatest scandals in 500 years of modern science. ”

    —–

    “In 1968 fourteen hundred British civil servants, all smokers, were divided into two similar groups. Half were encouraged and counselled to quit smoking. These formed the test group. The others, the control group, were left to their own devices. For ten years both groups were monitored with respect to their health and smoking status.

    Such a study is known as a randomised controlled intervention trial. It has become increasingly the benchmark, or as it is often referred to, the “gold standard” of medical investigation.”

    “So what were the results of the Whitehall study? They were contrary to all expectation. The quit group showed no improvement in life expectancy. Nor was there any change in the death rates due to heart disease, lung cancer, or any other cause with one exception: certain other cancers were more than twice as common in the quit group. Later, after twenty years there was still no benefit in life expectancy for the quit group. ”

    —–

    “It may now be apparent why there is such a general belief that smoking is dangerously harmful. There are 3 reasons. First, studies which in any other area of science would be rejected as second-rate and inferior but which support antismoking are accepted as first-rate. Second, studies which are conducted according to orthodox and rigorous design but which do not support the idea that smoking is harmful are not merely ignored but suppressed. Third, authorities who are duty-bound to represent the truth have failed to do so and have presented not just untruths but the reverse of the truth. “

  • slim

    I think many of us fail to appreciate how much hard work it takes to be so consistently on the absolutely and indisputably wrong side of every single issue. I’m not sure even North Korea meets that standard.

  • inkevitch

    Arghaeri,
    I feel the current level of taxation which in Australia would amount to $2-2.5k a year for a pack a day smoker would be close to right for covering the additional costs from smokers. But I can not say for sure with the studies put forward. It may be slightly on the excessive side and it may be short. Until I can see a case based study (probably a retrospective cohort study) that looks at lifetime health costs I can not be convinced. The models used are heavily weighted by the assumptions that they use and so can be easily manipulated.

    What I am certain of is that the statement “smokers die younger so cost less in health and nursing home and pension costs” is not born out by my experience in the hospital system.

    Kids with cystic fibrosis die in their thirties and forties but will cost much more to the public than a non-cyctic fibrosis patient that dies in their eighties.

    I just spent the last two months working in the thoracic surgery team, the surgeon would do a few lobectomies a week, a few pleurodesis and a few vats. The current smokers would spend up to a week longer recovering than the non smokers in hospital for lobectomies and few days more for the pleurodesis, and current smokers were more likely to require ICU. With our patients with broken ribs the most influential factor was the number of ribs broken, the next was whether they had chest drains in, the final was if they were smokers or not.

    Smoking is a massive risk factor for vascular dementia leading to nursing home placement requiring high care nursing. Smoking is also linked to osteoporosis resulting his hip fracture and extended stays in hospital and rehabilitation.

    Many of these intangibles can only be assesed in large cohort studies.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Don’t look at me. I support criminalization of tobacco and extremely, extremely high taxes on junk food and sugary sodas.

    Of course you do.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I would support the doubling of taxes on all lawyers. You can talk about junk food being bad, but is there anything worse than a lawyer?

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    I would support the doubling of taxes on all lawyers. You can talk about junk food being bad, but is there anything worse than a lawyer?

    I can’t wait for you to have legal trouble.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    ==> A junk food eatin’ lawyer who defends junk food.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Why should I have to do so? I mean “morally-speaking”?”

    Because both Canada and Korea have decided it’s immorall to deny health care to people regardless of the causes of their illnesses or injuries.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Why is it immoral? If you can’t articulate a reason, your position (and Canada and Korea’s) is indefensible.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    Wait a minute, I thought this blog was full of Obamunists. Suddenly it’s all flinty libertarians when it comes to taking care of the hated smokers.

    I’ll cop to flinty, and getting flintier by the day. Libertarian not so much. As Hayek once observed, being opposed to all planning is just as ideologically hide-bound a position as being committed to planning tout suite.

    Thus I think a case can be made for an extensive system of state health care, so long as it doesn’t effectively preclude individuals from also obtaining private care at prices that are no artificially manipulated by the state.

    But that’s a different issue from paying or subsidizing the costs of health care for people who knowingly engage in demonstrably risky behaviour that cannot reasonably be avoided. Smokers are the poster children for this syndrome. In the interest of liberty, I do not favor criminalizing smoking per se, although the state can justifiably imposer restrictions on when and where people smoke in the interest of serving the rights of non-smokers. But I see no morally defensible justification for compelling others to absorb any part of the health costs incurred by smokers because of their choice. The only entitlement to which they have a claim from the rest of us is for a Darwin Award.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    “can be reasonably avoided”

  • Sonagi

    so whilst we are banning smokers – to PROTECT OUR HEALTH – why don’t we also ban kitchen sinks, washing underwear, drinking fountains, shopping carts, ATMS, purses/handbags, playgrounds, gyms, cellphones and computer keyboards/mice.

    Contact with bacteria in our environment strengthens our immune system.
    All of the above listed items used by everyone in daily life. The risk to user ratio for potentially lethal bacterial infections is tiny. Playgrounds and gyms do incur a somewhat controllable risk of physical injury, and the medical community continues to debate a possible link between cell phones and brain cancer.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Why is it immoral? If you can’t articulate a reason, your position (and Canada and Korea’s) is indefensible.”

    It happens to be my moral belief that wealthy societies should provide health care to everyone, regardless of the cause of their illnesses or injuries. It also happens to be my economic belief that governments can in fact provide better health care to more people at a lower cost than the private sector: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:International_Comparison_-_Healthcare_spending_as_%25_GDP.png

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    I’ll cop to flinty, and getting flintier by the day. Libertarian not so much. As Hayek once observed, being opposed to all planning is just as ideologically hide-bound a position as being committed to planning tout suite.

    No libertarian is opposed to all planning. That’s a straw-man argument raised by statists.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    Why is it immoral [to deny health care to people...]? If you can’t articulate a reason, your position (and Canada and Korea’s) is indefensible.

    I’ve always found the “deny health care” argument to be disingenuous at best. One is not denied access to something because he cannot pay for it himself. Health care is a service, performed by people who labor in that service in order to earn a living. What is it that impels liberals to argue an entitlement to the labor of any free man? Or to dictate the terms by which that free man will perform his labor and enjoy the fruits thereof?

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    No libertarian is opposed to all planning. That’s a straw-man argument raised by statists.

    Indeed, my observation has been that those who call themselves libertarians are quite in favor of heavily governmental planning, as long as the planning is of the kind they like. Immigration restriction is an easy example.

    What is it that impels liberals to argue an entitlement to the labor of any free man? Or to dictate the terms by which that free man will perform his labor and enjoy the fruits thereof?

    What is it that impels conservatives to argue that anyone who cannot afford health care should just go die in a ditch?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Brendon,

    you hit the nail on the head, and you must also add the immorality of taking from Peter, who labored for his income, to pay for Paul’s healthcare. Robbing Peter to pay Paul may be the accepted way of doing things but let’s not pretend it is done for MORAL reasons. It is the opposite of moral, to be honest.

    Libertarians do support planning where planning is feasible. On a smaller scale it it possible to plan to a certain extent, but as Hayek showed, there simply is no way to gather and process the information to plan on the scale of an entire society. Hayek showed that prices, in a relatively free market, are a sort of summary of all the information available and that when you inhibit the market through interventionism into the economy you undermine the ability of prices to reflect the information.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    TK,

    And why is one man’s life more important than another’s? Why can one man demand others work to support him? This isnt really just about health care, this argument of “dying in a ditch” has been used for all sorts of welfare and social programs, including unemployment, free housing, food stamps, etc. We do not want people to die in ditches, and we realize that before government got it into its head that it was the great Nanny, those that TRULY needed help, were helped. The problem is that its not just those that truly need the help, that are helped, but those who can help themselves and choose not to or have been made so dependent on government, that they do not even know that they could help themselves.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    @141,

    You are the epitome of one of the wisest phrases I have heard: “Mediocre philosophies are popular because it enables dumb people to feel smart.” I have more examples of this phrase with libertarianism than any other mediocre philosophies,

    You can’t even keep up your intellectual rigor to maintain consistency in a single comment. Arguing with you is a waste of time, when you keep getting distracted by your own wagging tail. Go chase it.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Which inconsistencies are you babbling on about?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Now that we are judging philosophies, how would you describe yours a superior and more enlightened? We already know you are for extreme government intervention in the economy and even in the realm of morality. Looking to the government to plan our lives, protect us from harm, mould us into moral creatures, is not exactly a superior philosophy.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @136

    So what? Some people believe in all sorts of nonsense. If you can’t justify your belief, it’s just an irrational prejudice.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Now that we are judging philosophies, how would you describe yours a superior and more enlightened?

    Allow me to answer with a quote from Zhang Tzu:

    蜩與學鳩笑之曰(조여학구소지왈) : 매미와 비둘기가 붕을 비웃으면서 말했다.
    我決起而飛(아결기이비) : “우리는 온 힘을 다해 날아도
    搶楡枋而止(창유방이지) : 박달나무나 느릅나무에 부딪힌다.
    時則不至而控於地而已矣(시칙불지이공어지이이의) : 게다가 종종 나무에도 이르지못한 채 땅바닥에 내동댕이쳐지기 일쑤지.
    奚以之九萬里而南爲(해이지구만리이남위) : 그런데 어찌하여 붕은 구만리나 솟구쳐 남쪽으로가는 것일가?”

    適莽蒼者(적망창자) : 교외로 나가는 사람은
    三飡而反(삼손이반) : 세끼 식사만 하고 돌아와도
    腹猶果然(복유과연) : 여전히 배는 부르다.
    適百里者(적백리자) : 백리길을 가려는 사람은
    宿舂糧(숙용량) : 밤새도록 식량을 찧어야 하고,
    適千里者(적천리자) : 천리길을 떠나는 나그네는
    三月聚糧(삼월취량) :세달 동안 식량을 모아야 한다.
    之二蟲又何知(지이충우하지) : 이 두벌레가 어찌 이를 알겠는가

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    And besides, Im not even a Libertarian, though I once was.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Copy and paste, the ultimate crutch of the mental midget. Go back to anwering stupid questions on your little blog.

  • http://askakorean.blogspot.com thekorean

    Copy and paste, the ultimate crutch of the mental midget. Go back to anwering stupid questions on your little blog.

    Even your insults are stupid. Try a little harder, friend. Amuse me. The regular stream of hate mails I receive are better than your feeble insults.

  • Sonagi

    What is it that impels liberals to argue an entitlement to the labor of any free man? Or to dictate the terms by which that free man will perform his labor and enjoy the fruits thereof

    Conservatives like to spend other people’s money, too. The federal budget increased by a larger percentage under Reagan and Bush Jr, than Clinton or Obama. From 2001 – 2009, defense spending grew 70%, almost double the 38% increase for the entitlement program Social Security, which pays out to the average beneficiary about 10% less tha what was paid in. Entitlement program Medicare grew by a larger percentage than defense, 75%, but still consumes less than half of the federal dollars spent on offense-as-defense.

    http://reason.com/reasontv/2012/10/16/how-republicans-can-appeal-to-libertaria

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    So what? If someone else was wrong in the past, that justifies more wrong now? Is your argument really It’s our turn to fuck things up?

    In respect of defense spending, I may be biased by my experience in the military, but I note that defense is one of the Constitutionally-mandated functions of the Federal government. Social Security, Section 8, Medicaid and Medicare are not Constitutionally mandatory. They may be nice to have, but Tip O’Neill stole all the money from those programs. If we’re broke, those should be the first to go.

  • Sonagi

    My point is that libertarianism philosophy applies as equally to runaway defense spending as it does to social spending. I used the phrase “offense-as-defense” to preemptively dismiss any reference to the Constitution as some kind of implied counter argument against criticism of large increases in defense spending to support two foreign wars. Had Romney been elected, the past would have repeated itself since he communicated strong support for military spending in public statements and on his campaign website, hence, the reason for the Libertarian plea that fell on deaf ears in the link I provided.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    “Runaway defense spending” can only be believed if you know no history and are informed solely by hippie truthiness.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    153, there are heaps of ways to read defense spending stats: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

    The fact remains that spending is enormous and far, far more than at many times in America’s past.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    In absolute dollar terms, yes. In relative-to-GDP terms, not so much. Defense is getting squeezed mightily by the irresistible expansion of the un-Constitutional New Deal and Great Society.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #138 Brendon: “I’ve always found the “deny health care” argument to be disingenuous at best. One is not denied access to something because he cannot pay for it himself. Health care is a service, performed by people who labor in that service in order to earn a living. What is it that impels liberals to argue an entitlement to the labor of any free man?

    BC, in the final days before public education, do you think someone set forth that precept?

    For that matter, if you perform a search and replace with “health care” and “education”, will you still agree with your the philosophy behind your statement? What, if anything, is the difference?

  • Jashin Densetsu

    most “defense” spending has nothing to do with actual defense bro. if anything it makes us less safe.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    so most of “defense” spending is unconstitutional.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    What I am certain of is that the statement “smokers die younger so cost less in health and nursing home and pension costs” is not born out by my experience in the hospital system.

    that’s because your personal experience in the hospital system is not going to tell you anything about overall costs bro. it just tells you about what you directly experience, which is just a tiny sample of the overall picture. just like a hot dog vendor may know exactly his costs for his hot dog stand, but may have no idea how much the overall costs for all the hot dog vendors are. his neighborhood might love hot dogs, while everywhere people don’t eat many hot dogs. his personal experience skews his perception bro.

  • Jashin Densetsu

    Alcohol, Obesity and Smoking Do Not Cost Health Care Systems Money http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/03/22/alcohol-obesity-and-smoking-do-not-cost-health-care-systems-money/

    “The question is, are the costs of treating the illnesses and deaths brought on by those three indulgences higher or lower than the costs of treating those who live healthily but still inevitably die? We could argue it either way: Alzheimer’s costs more to manage than lung cancer costs, the cracked hips of age related osteoporosis perhaps more or less than fried livers from excessive bourbon. What we need to do is actually go and tot up the figures. Fortunately, that has been done:

    Obesity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and is associated with high medical expenditures. It has been suggested that obesity prevention could result in cost savings. The objective of this study was to estimate the annual and lifetime medical costs attributable to obesity, to compare those to similar costs attributable to smoking, and to discuss the implications for prevention.
    ….
    Although effective obesity prevention leads to a decrease in costs of obesity-related diseases, this decrease is offset by cost increases due to diseases unrelated to obesity in life-years gained. Obesity prevention may be an important and cost-effective way of improving public health, but it is not a cure for increasing health expenditures.

    The actual numbers for lifetime from 20 years old medical costs were:

    The lifetime costs were in Euros:

    Healthy: 281,000

    Obese: 250,000

    Smokers: 220,000

    There are excellent arguments in favour of taxing in order to reduce the occurrence of smoking, excessive boozing and obesity. We humans are subject to hyperbolic discounting, not taking full account of long distant future costs for current pleasures, sometimes those running the public health system really do know more than us, there are externalities associated with these behaviours (late night drunks, passive smoking and the visual pollution of someone 300 lbs overweight perhaps). But the argument we cannot use is that these behaviours increase the costs of health care.

    The reason we cannot use this argument is that it simply isn’t true. Those who die young save health care systems money, not cost. Thus, if we really are to accept the argument about taxes and the costs of health care then we should be subsidising puffing, browsing and sluicing.”

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    My point is that libertarianism philosophy applies as equally to runaway defense spending as it does to social spending.

    Just so.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    161, It applies to healtcare and to education as well. I personally dont think it is the role of government to provide healthcare OR education. I find the invovement of government in the shaping of young minds to be quite a scary thing. The end result are people like TK, totally devoted to the State, who see in the State the magic solution to every problem.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #162 SalarymaninSeoul: “I personally dont think it is the role of government to provide healthcare OR education. I find the invovement of government in the shaping of young minds to be quite a scary thing.”

    I would not want to live in a society (a word by which today’s standards we would not apply to the following) that failed to recognize education as a right OR to provide for that public good. Even childless taxpayers who have never partaken of public education themselves have benefited. (I had an attorney great-uncle (no children of his own) who schooled me on that point when I was 15 when I tried baiting him with whether he enjoyed paying taxes to support my five bro’s and sisters through the public education system.)

    I will not deny you, however, your right to form a sovereign state with cigarette smoking Taliban.

    If you need to hear me explicitly sacrifice the ease of a one sentence summary of my principles for a comparatively much better life, here it is: I prefer to live in a society that not only has but also provides for the right to education. I, of my own free-will, sacrifice my right not to be compelled to pay, though still retaining the right to question the amounts and specifics, for others’ such education in return for the benefits of living in such a society.

    …yeah, it’s not so snappy as the theoretical “I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what you do so long as you don’t infringe on my freedom of speech, my freedom of movement, my freedom religion…“, but it’s living in a real world that isn’t the law of the jungle on some remote island.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    You are welcome to sacrifice whatever you want to help others get educated if you feel so strongly aboutt his. That’s your personal choice. I don’t agree with it. Donate half your earnings if you feel so strongly about it. I dont believe it is a right, I think it is a fundamental trampling of self-ownership to steal from people in order to provide a service to others. Next you will be claiming access to the internet is a right and that we should be funding it for everyone.

    Instead of talking about rights, you would be on much surer footing if you took the utilitarian approach, but Im sure youre well aware of how bad an idea it would be to argue for state provided education as if it were a positive.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    “Next you will be claiming access to the internet is a right and that we should be funding it for everyone.”

    Why do you sound like you’re talking hypothetically?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10461048

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    #165, rights inflation…when you make everything a right, the concept of rights loses any real value. I wonder what the next rights will be…perhaps a right to be respected, or the human right to 8 weeks vacation. Oh wait, arent those already in the UN Charter of Human Rights (tfu)?

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #164 SalarymaninSeoul: “Next you will be claiming access to the internet is a right and that we should be funding it for everyone.”

    Next you will be wrong again.

    The problem is “what do hard-core libertarians do with public goods?”

    “Instead of talking about rights, you would be on much surer footing if you took the utilitarian approach, but Im sure youre well aware of how bad an idea it would be to argue for state provided education as if it were a positive.”

    Public or state provided education is a positive, though perhaps not so positive as you absolutely demand. Anyone who does not recognize the benefits of state provided education in the free (I don’t want to debate the term) world is stubbornly clinging to his point so that he does not slip down the slippery slope.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I have 2 fundamental objections to state provided education and they can be separated:

    1. The way it is funded by taxation
    2. The indoctrination of young minds by the government. The fundamental purpose of state provided education os to raise obedient citizens.

    I think the 2nd problem is far worse, and hence I could settle for a temporary compromise in the form of state FUNDED but not state delivered education. This would be a TEMPORARY compromise, but it is a compromise already in place in places like SWEDEN (of all places!).

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #166 SalarymaninSeoul: “#165, rights inflation…when you make everything a right, the concept of rights loses any real value. I wonder what the next rights will be…perhaps a right to be respected, or the human right to 8 weeks vacation. Oh wait, arent those already in the UN Charter of Human Rights (tfu)?

    Reductio ad absurdium: Those are not his statements and a poor attempt to indict him because a friend of a friend is his friend.

    You, however, have willingly reduced your argument to absurdity. Does your world have room for stop signs, place limits on individual real property rights so that title holders can’t sell on-site nuclear waste storage in suburban residential areas, or prevent some guy from blowing smoke in my face?

    *****************************
    (BTW, although I think that you are being unnecessarily, to the point of illogically, stubborn, I don’t think you are being intellectually dishonest. I’m not taking our differences personally and hope you are not doing the same.)

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I dont take things personally, Joe.

    I do have room for rules. Stop signs, cross walks, as such.

    For example, a property owner would be well within his rights to set up stop signs where he wished. Say, a road owner.

    I have a problem with “public goods” such as public roads for a number of reasons, but I also am not against stop signs on these i IOW stop signs on public roads are nor why I have a problem with public roads.

    In this case there is a certain limits on property rights, say, my use of my car as I wish. But in this situation, while there is a certain limit on my property rights, my property isn’t being forcefully taken from me and given to someone else. IOW I do not think this is a proper analogy. More proper would be forced car pooling or even forced car sharing.

    Again, though, I am not a libertarian.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #168 SalarymaninSeoul: “I have 2 fundamental objections to state provided education and they can be separated:

    1. The way it is funded by taxation
    2. The indoctrination of young minds by the government. The fundamental purpose of state provided education os to raise obedient citizens.

    I think the 2nd problem is far worse….”

    Point 1: You are now on the slippery slope to the real world. If your problem is “the it is funded by taxation“, then that is now a political question. Your strict libertarian philosophy won’t help you much there because public education does not exist in the strictest of strict libertarian philosophy (at least as you portrayed it).

    Point 2: Until my fine private university level education, I was a product of public education. Perhaps I got sifted from the chaff and hand plucked for all the civil disobedience I caused in high school.

    Were you a product of public education, and if so how were you able to withstand the indoctrination of your young mind by the government?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Im aware it does not exist in a Libertarian philosophy, but it exists in real life, as you know, and the best way from A to C is through B. Take care of point #2 then move on to point #1. That said, I never said I ACCEPT taxation; I do not. I did say that I had less of a problem with it than point #2.

    Im not only a product of public education, I am also a product of communist public education. I would point you to the fact that libertarian-ish thought is a tiny minority in the West and most people are statist slugs like TK for whom the State is a moral star shining bright in the sky.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    I feel the current level of taxation which in Australia would amount to $2-2.5k a year for a pack a day smoker would be close to right for covering the additional costs from smokers.

    #126 ?? sorry I misunderstand – $2-2.5k a year for a pack a day smoker ?

    A marlboro packet of 20 ciggs in Australia sells for approx $13

    Thats 65 cents per cigg.

    The packet costs LESS than $1 to sell, and used to sell for $2 in the shops in the early 1980′s – before the government started laying all their taxes on it.

    So the tax the government is bringing in one ONE packet (of 20 ciggs) is approx $10.

    A one-pack a day smoker (of 20 ciggs) is paying an EXTRA $10 tax per day = $3,650 EXTRA TAX per year – for smoking 20 ciggs a day.

    When I return to Australia – I was going to quit and just use my e-cigg to get my nicotine – as its TOO EXPENSIVE in Australia and NOW highly frowned upon.

    Now they want to ban the e-ciggs too…

    I think just smoking some marijuana each day is probably cheaper.

    There is nothing wrong with NICOTINE – it’s actually good for the body – it’s just the other crap they put in ciggs.

  • http://www.chinasmack.com/tag/funny/page/3 Jakgani

    Nicotine is beneficial – it’s just the other crap the companies put into the ciggs – I wish they would leave out.

    For instance, recent studies suggest that smokers require less frequent repeated revascularization after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

    Risk of ulcerative colitis has been frequently shown to be reduced by smokers on a dose-dependent basis; the effect is eliminated if the individual stops smoking.

    Smoking also appears to interfere with development of Kaposi’s sarcoma in patients with HIV.

    Nicotine has a mild laxative effect and can reduce symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

    Nicotine reduces the chance of breast cancer among women carrying the very high risk BRCA gene, preeclampsia, and atopic disorders such as allergic asthma.

    A plausible mechanism of action in these cases may be nicotine acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, and interfering with the inflammation-related disease process, as nicotine has vasoconstrictive effects.

    Tobacco smoke has been shown to contain compounds capable of inhibiting monoamine oxidase, which is responsible for the degradation of dopamine in the human brain. When dopamine is broken down by MAO-B, neurotoxic by-products are formed, possibly contributing to Parkinson’s and Alzheimers disease.

    Many such papers regarding Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease have been published. While tobacco smoking is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, there is evidence that nicotine itself has the potential to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.

    Nicotine has been shown to delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease in studies involving monkeys and humans.

    A study has shown a protective effect of nicotine itself on neurons due to nicotine activation of α7-nAChR and the PI3K/Akt pathway which inhibits apoptosis-inducing factor release and mitochondrial translocation, cytochrome c release and caspase 3 activation.

    Recent studies have indicated that nicotine can be used to help adults suffering from autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. The same areas that cause seizures in that form of epilepsy are responsible for processing nicotine in the brain.

    Studies suggest a correlation between smoking and schizophrenia, with estimates near 75% for the proportion of schizophrenic patients who smoke. Although the nature of this association remains unclear, it was recently argued that the increased level of smoking in schizophrenia may be due to a desire to self-medicate with nicotine.

    More recent research has found that mildly dependent users got some benefit from nicotine, but not those who were highly dependent.

    There is very little research done on this subject, including the research by Duke University Medical Centre which found that nicotine may improve the symptoms of depression in people.

    Nicotine appears to improve ADHD symptoms. Some studies are focusing on benefits of nicotine therapy in adults with ADHD.

    While acute/initial nicotine intake causes activation of nicotine receptors, chronic low doses of nicotine use leads to desensitisation of nicotine receptors (due to the development of tolerance) and results in an antidepressant effect, with research showing low dose nicotine patches being an effective treatment of major depressive disorder in non-smokers.

    Nicotine (in the form of chewing gum or a transdermal patch) is being explored as an experimental treatment for OCD. Small studies show some success, even in otherwise treatment-refractory cases.

    The relationship between smoking and inflammatory bowel disease is now firmly established but remains a source of confusion among both patients and doctors. It is negatively associated with ulcerative colitis but positively associated with Crohn’s disease. In addition, it has opposite influences on the clinical course of the two conditions with benefit in ulcerative colitis but a detrimental effect in Crohn’s disease.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicotine

  • Yu Bum Suk

    I just completed this: http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html
    It predicted I’d live to be 84, and that if I didn’t drink or smoke I’d live to be 84, and that if I didn’t drink or smoke I’d live to be almost 87. Quite frankly it makes me want to drink and smoke more.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #170, SalarymaninSeoul: “…while there is a certain limit on my property rights, my property isn’t being forcefully taken from me and given to someone else.”

    Yes, it is, and even in the case of real property. Real property comes encumbered with all sorts of easements and zoning restrictions. For example, I theoretically (at least in the U.S.) own my real property extending conically down through the ground to the point at the center of the earth and conically out to the infinity of the universe. I can’t shoot down commercial airplanes flying through my airspace or use my light saber to take out satellites traveling through my orbit.

    What’s worse, and one I don’t agree with, is when municipalities slap one of those “historical landmark” designations on the improvements to your property. You are now severely restricted in your use and enjoyment without condemnation proceedings or compensation.

    I now understand that you came from a communist upbringing and your ideological pendulum has swung the other way. I view my ideology as an input to the debate held by society, which I believe has evolved and is evolving for the better, though not inexorably so.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Not all cities have zoning laws. I believe Houston may not.

    All you say is true, and Ive already admitted that there are certain restrictions placed on our property in the real world. However the analogy you used was not right. The analogy of forced car pooling is far more accurate, as in this analogy the situation is far more extreme than a simple restriction on use of property; rather, it is an active theft of property and use of that property for ends you never consented to. The historical landmark example is good one, or even better (worse) is eminent domain. In fact taxation is eminent domain, through and through.

    My pendulum, if you will, swung through Locke to Rothbard and past him to Stirner.

  • Sonagi

    “Runaway defense spending” can only be believed if you know no history and are informed solely by hippie truthiness.

    Two problems with that chart, Brendon. First, the chart presents defense spending relative to spending on other programs, many of which were introduced in the 1960s. The growth of social spending from near zero to a much larger share of the federal budget does not negate the fact that defense, which started with a large share of the federal budget, has gotten even larger. Second, the chart included a footnote cautioning that spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was not included. Truthiness, indeed!

  • Anonymous_Joe

    @178 Sonagi,

    The most common and a useful measure of military spending is as a percentage of GDP for comparing the U.S.’s military expenditures inter-temporarily.

  • Sonagi

    Useful for what? Should spending increase in lockstep with rising GDP regardless of actual needs?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I believe that usefulness of a statistic is a function of how it supports your argument. Statistics can be manipuilated in so many way, afterall.

  • http://www.sperwerslog.com Sperwer

    @178

    There are several truths there, but one stands out. Apart from the ill-conceived wars of adventure in Iraq and Afghanistan, which you note are not included in the figures, more or less (on your implied terms, genuine) defense spending has been remarkably stable since the modern terms of what constitutes (legitimate) defense spending were established by the liberal consensus (among both Democrat and Republican internationalists) regarding the rearmament of the US after WW2 to constitute us as the World Police.

    Correlatively, as Uncle Brendon has repeatedly reminded us, (apart from those hubristic extensions of the liberal internationalist consensus that we know as Iraq and Afghanistan, brought to us by those radical liberal internationalists usually mislabelled as neo-conservatives, and the cost of which is not only large but exceptional, trend-wise), the dominating fiscal trend since WW@ and especially since LBJ’s guns and butter regime, has been exponential growth in social spending.

  • http://bcarr.com Brendon Carr

    The growth of social spending from near zero to a much larger share of the federal budget does not negate the fact that defense, which started with a large share of the federal budget, has gotten even larger.

    Redistribution now comprises 60% of the Federal budget. “Much larger” indeed!

  • Anonymous_Joe

    #180 Sonagi: “Useful for what? Should spending increase in lockstep with rising GDP regardless of actual needs?

    Dog, I tossed you a bone. Why bite my hand?

    As you correctly noted, it’s not in your interests to compare the George Costanza tell’em about the shrinkage in defense spending to social welfare ratio over the past 60 years.