Friday, December 01, 2006

Smoking: funding the NHS for nearly 60 years

Forgive me if my typing is not so accurate today: I am combining writing this post with smoking a delightful cigarette. In the office. I felt that I had better make the most of it before that malevolent witch Patsy Hewitt makes it illegal to do so.

"A ban on smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces in England
will come into force on July 1 next year, Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, announced last night. From next summer all offices, factories, shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, public transport and work vehicles that are used by more than one person will be smoke-free. The new law will also mean that indoor smoking rooms, still common in workplaces, will no longer be allowed. Anyone wishing to smoke will have to go outside instead."

There are three people who work in my office and we all smoke. There are a few other people who come into the office occasionally: some of them smoke, some of
them don't, but if they have a problem with the foggy air then we tell them to fuck off don't smoke whilst they are there. The point is, that we don't need some mad old bat who is completely fucking up our health service trying to tell us how to work.

More annoying than that was this comment from the Express:

"However, people will still be able to smoke outdoors, in private homes and places that Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt says are "like homes", such as care institutions, Army barracks and prisons."

Right. So some criminal who would probably have to have murdered 25 people, raped a few children and mugged the entire population of Kent to actually end up in prison can smoke, but I can't.

Let's not forget that inmates these days are allowed to take drugs, which if I recall correctly are illegal, and six inmates actually received compensation for their horrific 'cold turkey' treatment.

The cost of treating smokers, even at the highest estimate, is £1.2 billion. The money raised by smokers is £9 billion. Maybe that's the reason why smoking is still legal? Because as much as Mrs Hewitt hates smokers, and peers out of the window of the dept of health giving her evil glare to anyone in Main Building nipping outside for some 'fresh air', she needs us smokers to fund her department and the establishment which she is slowly running into the ground.

So if I summarise the few articles I have seen in the media these last few weeks I would draw the following conclusions. If, on July 1st 2007 I am still a smoker, the best place for me to go would be prison. Because there not only would I be able to smoke, they would give me drugs or compensation, I wouldn't have to work and I wouldn't have to pay tax.

Mind you, the chances of anyone actually being sent to prison these days is pretty slim: even our own Home Secretary quietly told some troublesome youths in Westminster to 'behave themselves lads' "you know the prisons are full."


Anonymous said...

Sorry. 'Slowly running into the ground....' Running implies speed. Screwing up is the only thing they do quickly and efficiently.

Trixy said...

'running' as in operating. Not Dear old pats in lycra and a sports bra....


Anonymous said...

It's like that wonderful Myra Hindley. She died of a smoking-related illness due to her 60-a-day habit. How the hell could she afford three packs of cigarettes a day?

Fidothedog said...

Neil dear boy the taxpayer, the cash cow of ZanuNew Labour paid for Myras tabs bless her cotton socks.

These days the only people who pay for any damn thing are the taxpaying, law abiding citizens.

Serf said...

I don't smoke nor do I like smoking. However, in this argument I am firmly behind the smokers. If people really want non smoking bars, then the market will provide them. As for offices, thats up to individual companies.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I am disturbed by the encroachment on personal freedom but I am interested in the estimate of treatment costs. Do you know where the figure comes from and if it includes the cost of treating children with asthma exacerbations, repeated ear infections and other health issues that are related to the grimly named, environmental exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke (EETS)? Plus (say) sickness pay for smokers, ditto for their family members etc. who may have EETS-related health problems, productivity losses if people need to take time off work to care for sick children etc.?

I would imagine that even these additional costs would not total the 9 billion contribution, but it would be interesting to find out.

Trixy said...

Personally, I think that non smokers should have to pay smokers for the benefits of breathing in their second hand smoke. They get the benefits for free!

I suspect a good place to start to look for the details of the figures would be the ONS, although trying to find out details from them is terribly time consuming, as anyone trying to make head or tail of the Blue Book will understand....

Anonymous said...

I too wonder about the medical costs. Every time an asthmatic smoker gets an inhaler from the doctor's in this country it costs the prescription charge of over £6. Buy an inhaler (over the counter) in Greece and it costs about £2.50. I wonder how much of a profit the NHS is making on this rip-off.