Monday, September 06, 2004

Acceptable Smokers' Rights: None

Here in Canada, we have a government-funded program called Medicare that, in theory, provides equal access to health care for all Canadians. Although it has been under attack in recent years for its cost, it remains a model for other nations - can you hear me, America? - looking to set up their own system.

To that end, I've long questioned the fairness of smokers placing increased demands on an overburdened public health system. It's one thing to be afflicted with disease over which you have no control. It's quite another to willingly expose yourself to increased risk. Why governments can't look to private insurance - where wacko drivers who rack up tickets and insist on driving sports cars pay significantly higher premiums than the rest of us - and apply a similar ethos in the public sector is rather beyond me.

So I stumbled into this article, Smokers 'should not get NHS care', on the BBC's site earlier today. OK, I lied. My RSS reader delivered it to me. But you don't care about my techie toys...and I'm digressing yet again. Regardless of delivery method, the article summarizes my recent rantings on the topic. Let the debate begin.

Interestingly, I wrote this piece in the Free Press recently that more or less parallels this topic. No, I don't smoke. I'm tired of long waiting periods getting longer because of people who do.

1 comment:

Kate said...

My mother smokes. She has had two heart attacks, probably as a direct result, and has not curbed her habit for any longer than a few months. I still have to remind my mom not to throw cigarettes out the car window, and she is not allowed to smoke in any of her children's homes, but this has not made a difference. I am reminded of a bit from Sex and the City that I saw a few weeks ago, with Sarah Jessica Parker exclaiming, "How dare you want me to quit smoking. Smoking is a part of me, part of my personality." (paraphrased) This seems to be the attitude of many smokers. Sucking on a bunch of burning leaves has been embedded so far into their self-image that they can no longer see themselves without their nasty habit.