Monday, November 23, 2009

Obesity v. Tobacco

To be honest, I wanted to share some new things I learned about smokeless tobacco or ST and quitting ST, but my notes are at work and I don't want to make a mistake, so I will probably write about that tomorrow. It isn't much, but it was new to me and by sharing it, I will be better able to remember it and repeat in my presentations - I thank you in advance for helping me with that!

So for plan B, I want to share something that I heard this afternoon. I believe it was the show Talk of the Nation that I was listening to on NPR. An author of a book possibly titled, Rationing Health Care, was the guest. There were also callers who gave opinions and asked questions. In the course of the show then, I learned this interesting bit of fact:

Numbers crunchers are not really worried about the effect that tobacco users, namely smokers, are going to have on health care. This was brought up when a caller asked about people having to take responsibility for health outcomes (and their treatment) that were largely caused by their own actions. (In other words, not genes or environment, but things like smoking and obesity)

The guest said that smokers tend to get lung cancer in their sixties and die relatively quickly so a lot of money is NOT spent on treatment. At the same time, the smokers have paid into Medicare through payroll taxes and the Medicare dollars can be spent on someone else AND because the smoker is now dead the Social Security income they would have received can stay in the system.

Obesity, on the other hand, tends to affect people at younger ages and does lead to chronic conditions that are very costly to treat over time.

What we really need is an over haul of prevention and a way to make taking good care of ourselves in the first place a cost effective and attractive thing to do. But for once, smokers do not have to feel like everyone is picking on them.

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