Smoking: Bad for You, Good for Society

It may sound paradoxical for you, but smoking may actually benefit society by causing smokers to die younger, before they cost the health care system more:

Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it does not save money, according to a new report.

It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that
preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars.

"It was a small surprise," said Pieter van Baal, an economist at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, who led the study. "But it also makes sense. If you live longer, then you cost the health system more."

In a paper published online Monday in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal, Dutch researchers found that the health costs of thin and healthy people in adulthood are more expensive than those of either fat people or smokers.

Link via davelog

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>>I once did a cost/benefit analysis of the "burden of smoking"

Ah, yes, that study by the famous scientist, "oOPonyOo"

Give me a break. Real studies by real scientists find that taxes don't begin to cover the societal costs.

Also, the Netherlands is the smokingest country in Europe, AND the most ignorant about the health effects. See this month's BMJ:
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I don't think you can prove abstract principles like utilitarianism. It's one of those things a person has to see the value in. John Stuart Mills had some great ideas, some highly influential. The problem with utilitarianism is largely in the interpretation. Mills also suggests that what is ultimately best for one person is best for all people, so that pushes utilitarianism out of the domain of egotistical motives, and subjects egotistical motives to consideration that if they contradict collectivist welfare, then they also contradict egotistical welfare, no matter how obscure the relation.

My immediate reaction to utilitarianism was one of acceptance, then rejection, and finally appreciation. It took some time to see how exactly it all relates. The "proof" to me was not in the pudding, it was in how I ate the pudding.

Consequentialism is the domain of morality to which I generally ascend.

“ Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think...

— Jeremy Bentham , The Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789) Ch I, p 1
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Just remember, when you are old or incapacitated you are a burden to us, our lives are measured in monetary value, and if yours is in the red, you best check out. We don't want to have to deal with you. /sarcasm
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