Third Party & Independents Archives

Promises, Promises

Well, that didn’t last long. One of the shining positive moments I had with the Obama administration lasted a whole week. Attorney General Eric Holder had promised to call off raids on Medical Marijuana dispensaries who were operating their businesses within state laws. However, yesterday that all seems to have gone up in smoke with a DEA raid on a dispensary in San Francisco.

They hauled out large plastic bins overflowing with marijuana plants and loaded several pickup trucks parked out front with grow lights and related equipment used to farm the plants indoors.

The dispensary had been operating with a temporary permit issued by the Department of Public Health.

"Based on our investigation, we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well," DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony Williams said in a prepared statement.

Williams, who runs the San Francisco field office that covers a territory stretching from Bakersfield to Redding, would not specify the alleged violations. The information was under court seal.

"As of now, we are prohibited from releasing further details of the case. Items of evidentiary value were seized and no arrests have been made," Williams said.

A source in San Francisco city government who was informed about the raid said the DEA's action appeared to be prompted by alleged financial improprieties related to the payment of sales taxes. DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry, spokeswoman for the local office, would not comment on that information.

It was a good week, but one has to wonder how much of the 'we won't raid' statement was to bring business owners out of hiding? Apparently the DEA is now in the business of enforcing State Sales Tax violations that the state themselves don't see as an issue at the present time.

Promises that can't last a week show an administration that is big on making promises and short on follow through.

Posted by Rhinehold at March 26, 2009 5:25 PM
Comments
Comment #278772

Rhinehold,
If it was less than a week ago that the Obama Administration made this promise than most likely this raid has been on the books for months. And why I agree that the raid has to do more with BS than Reality. Saying that the head of any organization is responsible for the actions of its members goes against everything we have been taught over the last 30 years.

BTW, I have to go to work now, but I enjoyed our debate last night and hope to follow up on this subject later. Since I do believe that America needs to have a serious talk about what to do with the growing drug problem.

Note: Try a better example of the Founding Fathers than TJ or Madison. Because why I know that they are the favorite of most Americans, I think you would be shocked to learn that others have a lot different views on the subject of Common Defense and Common Welfare. Washington, Franklin, and Hancock comes to mind. However, look up the Lodge House Meetings and who attended them. You and David might be surprised at what many of them had to say about Individual Rights and the Duty of Americas’ Community Elders.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 26, 2009 5:56 PM
Comment #278773

This is, of course, in flux as we don’t what the charges are (transparency?). However, if they were in violation of State drug laws, why was the state not involved or responsible for enforcing that law first? There is always a chance there is more to the story, of course, but given what limited information we have available to us now, this is what we have to work with.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 26, 2009 5:57 PM
Comment #278780

Rhinehold, I am absolutely in sync with your disappointment on this issue. Yesterday, or was it this morning, Pres. Obama stated his administration was NOT entertaining the idea of legalizing marijuana for all its many economic, revenue, and medicinal benefits, not to mention saving billions spent in pursuit of this failed war against this natural resource weed.

That said, if Pres. Obama proposed legalizing pot, that one statement would derail the entire rest of his agenda and sap his time and energy needed for more pressing issues, like health care, education, and energy independence.

Though I am 100% for decriminalization and 80% for legalizing pot, it is not high on my priority list of national needs at this time, either. And prioritization of infinite demands is the only way anything at all will be accomplished and resolved.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2009 6:51 PM
Comment #278782

Also, one has to consider the possibility that Obama has not yet provided direction for Holder and the DEA’s efforts yet, given the more pressing demands of the economy and foreign developments like the possible testing of an ICBM by N. Korea. Much of our federal government is still operating on the agendas and directives of the Bush administration. It takes more than 2 months for a president to influence the direction and focus of all the agencies and departments of our federal government. It is possible the DEA is still following through on plans and directions from last year.

My sense of Obama’s position on pot is, it is not a crime deserving of time or space in our prison system where contributing to the delinquency of minors is not involved. Clearly however, he is on record as not favoring legalization, for political or other reasons. And while disappointing many in our country, it hardly constitutes a failed presidency in the majority’s eyes.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 26, 2009 6:59 PM
Comment #278794

Rhinehold,

Perhaps this is follow-though on the promises of the new world order.

I know of people who use medical marijuana to overcome anorexia. It is ridiculous, especially given the clear hazards associated with some of the drugs the Federal government approves that this therapy can’t be made available to people who need it.

Gee, can I lose my conservative credentials for the stuff I’ve been writing this week?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 26, 2009 8:31 PM
Comment #278795

Have been down on the lower threads ranting against legalizing mary and now find I’m a minority opinion on this issue. What am I missing? We have beer, liquor and wine. Do we need more feel good stuff? Never smoked a joint or even smelled the stuff. But, I did hit the cigarettes from about age 9 and had a bypass in my later years. But, I quit cigarettes in my 40’s when I was sure they were deadly. I think young folks should hear that your body is your temple. Respect your body and it will serve you for a very long time. Disrespect it and get diminishing returns. To this day it bothers me to see a young him or her dragging home a six pack and whoffing a cigarette. I’ve heard cigarettes are near $5/pk. $.20 a pack when I was smoking. What are they thinking? What is going to happen in 10 years when the boomers hit the street with nothing but some social suck to keep them afloat? Consider me an ole fogie if you like but IMO we are on the fast train to hell.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 26, 2009 8:33 PM
Comment #278798

$5.oo A Pack try $8.00 here in ny and if i’m correct Gov paterson will raise them another dollar on the first. Like i’ve said before no sweat off my nose but folks are finding other avenues. And Leave the Indians alone. His logic is working in reverse. I don’t smoke Funny stuff either Roy But i’m in favor of legalizing it.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 26, 2009 8:49 PM
Comment #278801

it doesn’t suprise me, the obama administration says one thing and does another. from what i understand roughly 60% of cash flowing to the drug cartels comes from marijuana. this i heard from a former mexican ambassidor to the US, who was interviewed on fox news. it would seem by stopping this asinine policy on marijuana we could reduce violence related to the smuggling, and regulate, and tax it just like alcohol and tobacco. imagine the increase in business to companies such as nabisco, sunshine brands.

Posted by: dbs at March 26, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #278803

One area I agreed With Buckley Tax Revenue and Jobs and a safe supply.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 26, 2009 9:09 PM
Comment #278805

dbs
Wow, we agree on something! Not to say that pot is good for people or that just because booze is legal,pot should be or any other of that foolish nonsense that only makes sense if one is stoned on the particular substance under discussion. It is just a recognition that the prohibition of pot has failed and at this point continuing to try and enforce the unenforceable is a waste of money and lives.
I can see how difficult it could be to get the DEA to change their ways. After all it is much safer to bust a storefront, filled with stoned out yuppie spawn than to bust a well armed and violent Mexican smugglers gang. Plus the smugglers may have paid off somebody. OOps! That would not be possible as every DEA agent is above that sort of thing.

Posted by: bills at March 26, 2009 9:56 PM
Comment #278807

bills

IMO pot is actually less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. obviously you shouldn’t drive or operate machinery after its use, but i think the opposition to legalization is more a cultural stigma than anything else.

Posted by: dbs at March 26, 2009 10:09 PM
Comment #278814
Also, one has to consider the possibility that Obama has not yet provided direction for Holder and the DEA’s efforts yet, given the more pressing demands of the economy and foreign developments like the possible testing of an ICBM by N. Korea

Well, there was this public announcement to the media and all Americans, surely a memo to the DEA could have been part of that communication? It was the AG who made the policy change, communicated to everyone, and then backed off of it. I don’t think that the AG is dealing with the economy or N Korea… If so, that would really put my concern of the Obama administration to light.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 26, 2009 10:31 PM
Comment #278815

BTW, I love that when you think the economy is doing better, it’s all Obama, but when a federal agency does somehting you disagree with, it is still being run by Bush policies?

And even more troubling is that while most people think the economy is the most important thing to be dealing with atm, the Treasury department is still not staffed!

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 26, 2009 10:33 PM
Comment #278818

rhinehold

“And even more troubling is that while most people think the economy is the most important thing to be dealing with atm, the Treasury department is still not staffed!”

and if giethner is any indication as to the quality of whats to come maybe it’s better that way.

Posted by: dbs at March 26, 2009 10:43 PM
Comment #278831

I watched the video of his internet town hall meeting, and saw something quite different, David. I saw and heard the President’s answer when he said he did not think legalizing MJ was a good way to turn the economy around. He made no comment about his views on legalization. I suspect he will take that issue up in due course.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 27, 2009 12:08 AM
Comment #278833

Rhinehold,

Perhaps the DEA was busy smoking the proceeds of their last raid and just forgot.

Posted by: gergle at March 27, 2009 12:11 AM
Comment #278836

Although legalizing pot will not stop the problem, I do think America needs to repel the 1939 Laws that made hemp ilegal. For not only is it a good cash crop that can be grown throughout the U.S.A, but as a bio-mass materail it has already proved itself.

Now, for pot and all ilegal drugs I do believe our ancestors in the 20th century got the argument wrong. For a part of Society just as beer and legal drugs, I do believe that America has to find a way to control and distribute it to those citizens who wish to use the stuff.

Not because it would be economically, not because as Adults and Parrents we wish the children to use them; however, by Government and Society taking charge of the problem not only do we take away the main money source of the “Bad Guys” But we also can better oversee the people who have problems maintaining their life without these drugs.

Besides, I think the saying “Quick do it now before it becomes Legal” in the 70’s where I grew up put the problem best.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 27, 2009 12:43 AM
Comment #278840

Just my opinion:

When prohibition was repealed…if we had used one fourth of the bond to educate folks against the use of alcohol, one fourth for the treatments of those who fell ill because of alcohol and put the other half into the general fund, we’d have very little trouble with alcohol today…by extrapolation…if we legalize and bond MJ, take one fourth~~~we’d end up in thirty or forty years without a drug problem.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 27, 2009 1:10 AM
Comment #278844

Marysdude,
Just look at what Society has done to smoking in the last 30 years. Almost a 100% reversal in the numbers. Dam, another good reason to support the Federal Investment Plan proposed by President Obama.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 27, 2009 2:07 AM
Comment #278858

Marysdude,

While I think that may be a bit optimistic, I don’t disagree with your sentiment.

Henry,
100% with you on hemp, and while I disagree with the public smoking bans, the campaigns to “out” phony tobacco funded lies and educate the public were good things. MJ alone is far less addictive and damaging than alcohol, and hemp fiber makes great durable and renewable cloth, rope, and even car panels (better than plastic).

Posted by: gergle at March 27, 2009 9:17 AM
Comment #278859

Ahh Gerg That’s where they get the term “Are you smoking Rope!

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 27, 2009 9:42 AM
Comment #278874

Marijuana, in limited quantities, is a safer medicine than much of what is advertised on television, like Advair, a medicine for asthma, which may cause asthma related death, or many other designer snake oils. Drug companies invest huge amounts in developing new drugs that have only marginal effects, most only working for less than half the patients for whom they are prescribed, if they are even being prescribed correctly.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 27, 2009 11:35 AM
Comment #278878

henry

“Although legalizing pot will not stop the problem, I do think America needs to repel the 1939 Laws that made hemp ilegal.”

actually they did, the supreme court ruled the law unconstitutional in i believe 1968, or 69. for a year or two it was actually not illegal. it was the controlled substance act of 1970 wich designated it a controlled substance which again made it illegal. maybe some has a more accurate or detailed explanation.

Posted by: dbs at March 27, 2009 11:46 AM
Comment #278903

The new taxes on tobacco is a nightmare in the making fraught with unintended consequences. Let’s look at some of them:

1) An underground black market will grow like wildfire providing all manner of other vegetables for smoking with varying levels of satisfaction and harmful effects. All underground black markets come complete with guns and violence and turf wars.

2) Anyone addicted to nicotine and forced to quit due to the high prices will like substitute food for nicotine, in copious quantities each day. So, Medicare saves nothing by reducing cardi-pulmonary disease. Obesity and diabetes will become the smoker’s new disease.

3) The rationale that the government needs the money and therefore is raising taxes on tobacco products (over 1500% on loose tobacco) is idiocy. By dramatically raising the cost of tobacco the loss in tobacco tax payers, cancels the increased tax revenue gains.

4) Those who still smoke shall remain high Medicare cost risks regardless of whether they quit now. So, the argument that Medicare costs will drop as a result, is not valid until you project out in time to a generation that has never been exposed to smoking by their role models.

5) Raising the taxes on tobacco in no way addresses addiction substitution. There are genetic, psychological, and sociological predispositions to addictive behavior, and raising taxes on tobacco addresses none of these.

6) Taxing tobacco makes it a wealthy person’s enjoyment, and discriminates against the less wealthy. This is true of taxing all products. If the intent is eliminate tobacco usage, why keep it legal for those who can afford the tax without any problem? It is unjust at the most fundamental liberal philosophy level in that it bans the less wealthy from exercising the same judgment the wealthy are free to exercise.

There is no doubt there will be less tobacco smokers with these enormous hikes in taxes on the products. But reducing smoking will result in an increase in other addictive behaviors including compensatory over eating and drinking of alcohol. And other unintended but predictable consequences will result like growing and selling black market tobaccos, or pot, and even more potent drugs, prescription and black market.

Never, in the history of the human race, has prohibition of ‘feel good’ substances ever been successful outside an authoritarian regime, and often, not even inside such regimes where a wealthy class exists. During the height of the Cold War, the wealthy in the Soviet Union could smoke Marlboro cigarettes, watch American movies, and even obtain American pharmaceuticals for medical or other reasons.

Why are American politicians so absolutely stupid, unjust, and discriminatory toward less wealthy working class people, even into this Obama administration? It truly boggles the mind how easily Americans dispense with the lessons of history and reality which inconveniently interfere with illusions of how we wish to envision ourselves, our country, and our history. Americans still view their world in black and white, regardless of the color of the President’s skin.

Tobacco. It provides comfort, satisfaction, and stress relief for as many as 6 decades before exacting medically debilitating costs, usually resulting in the shortening of one’s life by a few years on average. But, you know, non-smokers will face medically debilitating costs for the very act of having lived, also. Will the costs of treating their terminal artherosclerosis, cancer, heart failure, liver failure, or alzheimer’s be any less than treating a smoker for lung cancer?

Absolutely NOT ! NO SAVINGS WHATSOEVER to our medical community. Death and dying are expensive in America regardless of whether one is dying of smoking related lung cancer or an automobile accident resulting in a coma for a period of time before death. Should we tax the poor out of automobiles on the same principle that death and injury by auto accident is too costly to our health care system?

I hear tax increases in legal prostitution in Nevada is also coming. If price is an obstacle, there will be a cut-rate black market to pick up the trade. Consider the public health consequences of that and put a price on it, and odds are the public health cost consequences will exceed the revenues of the tax on legal prostitution. Aside from discriminating in favor of the wealthy engaging in sex for sale, while discriminating against the poorer classes by putting it out of their price range.

This whole business of sin taxes is illogical, counterproductive, and fraught with hidden costs and unintended consequences, not to mention being highly discriminatory toward the poor, and an infringement upon personal privacy for behaviors with little to no ill effects upon others.

My grandfather was an alcoholic during prohibition. My grandmother died at the age of 89 having smoked unfiltered Pall Mall cigarettes all her life. My slim and otherwise healthy mother smoked for half her adult life (unfiltered Pall Mall), and then quit. She gained nearly 75 pounds after quitting and has for years now been treated for leg joint problems including a knee replacement, high blood pressure, and being overweight, as well as vascular problems in her legs, all resulting from having quit smoking and gaining that extra 75 pounds while working a job that required her to be on her feet and stooping down frequently during the work day.

Is she any better off for having quit smoking almost 20 years ago? Are her costs to the health care system any less than treatments for COPD would have been? Is she going to die one day anyway, even though she quit smoking? So, what was saved or gained by raising the taxes to prevent poorer working people from smoking if they want to?

And one last minor point. If the government is raising the taxes to help people quit smoking, then WHY is not one dollar of the revenues to be directed to fund a smoking cessation clinic to assist smoker’s with the physical and psychological anguish and torment of quitting?

The government isn’t really serious about helping people quit, it just wants to punish the less wealthy by taking more of the little money they have, or force them to quit smoking and deal with the consequences of quitting at their own expense. This is what substitutes for government compassion for the less well off these days, I guess.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 1:16 PM
Comment #278905

The drug wars, deaths, and crime are entirely the fault of politicians. If people who wanted to, could grow a couple plants in their kitchen, there would be no multi-billion dollar budget for fighting the war on pot, and there would be no 12 to 16 billion dollar a year pot black market in California alone, and the more than 4,000 dead along the Mexico/U.S. border as a result of the underground economy in black market pot, would be far lower.

It is not the pot users who create all this mayhem, as some would argue. That is an entirely illogical argument, since, if pot were legal, all that mayhem disappears, even as the pot smoker continues smoking pot as they always had. The difference entirely rests with politicians and their decades long failed and enormously expensive ‘war on drugs’, now costing American tax payers well over a trillion dollars in government expenditures. The only 2 things politicians accomplished with the drug war were to make crime pay very handsomely indeed while growing a tax free underground economy of 100’s of billions of dollars each year, and appeasing some of their constituents who falsely believe that outlawing drugs will keep their children from being exposed to their access during their lives.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 1:27 PM
Comment #278913

One side of the family made the clear stuff Corn whiskey During the depression to keep the old family House and land and not so much in keeping the legacy it was about Survival,Taxes had to be paid even then, They could spot what they called Regulators by the sound of there tires coming across the family bridge that gave them time to break down the operation.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 27, 2009 1:51 PM
Comment #278923

Yeah, when I was a kid I would walk the roads and collect half and pint whiskey bottles and sell them to the bootleggers. It was like 2 cents for a half pint and 5 cents for a pint, something like that. Some of my family was seldom seen. They were either in jail somewhere or out in the hills making whiskey.
Like Remer, I apply the health approach to the ‘feel goods’. Thats where it becomes a social issue. If you blow your self up making meth or end up with cancer from smoking it cost society. Therefore, society has a right to expect some regulation. Then it all becomes debatable. A man making $8/hr and buying two packs of $8 smokes a day is not a good thing. With kids to care for at home, is definitely a bad thing. In the old days people did as they pleased and died at 40. Today, if you blow your second hand smoke on somebody they will take you to task. Everybody expects to live well beyond a hundred. I do too.
Kids will pick up an aerosol can of anything and give it a sniff. When I was a kid I got to playing with the prop on a fishin motor and then would sniff the gas can. My folks found me passed completely out some time later. No matter how smart young folks are they do need some protection. Always a curve in the road that you think you can take at a 100mph.
You can apply this thinking to other areas beyond feel goods. Give us all a million dollars each and watch what happens. People are just people.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 27, 2009 2:49 PM
Comment #278954
David R. Remer wrote: There is no doubt there will be less tobacco smokers with these enormous hikes in taxes on the products. But reducing smoking will result in an increase in other addictive behaviors including compensatory over eating and drinking of alcohol.
I quit smoking in 1992, and I didn’t replace it with any other bad habits.
David R. Remer wrote: Anyone addicted to nicotine and forced to quit due to the high prices will like substitute food for nicotine, in copious quantities each day.
Not true. I quit cold-turkey and never used patches, and didn’t substitute anything in its place.
David R. Remer wrote: Those who still smoke shall remain high Medicare cost risks regardless of whether they quit now.
Not true. It is never too late to quit smoking, and quitting will definitely make a person healthier, by not coninuing the inhaling of carbon monoxide, and other toxins.
David R. Remer wrote: Taxing tobacco makes it a wealthy person’s enjoyment, and discriminates against the less wealthy.
Those rationalizations are all pretty weak.

No doubt blackmarkets will result from over-taxation of anything, and that does not mean people don’t have a right to smoke if they want to, but all of those reasons to rationalize the reasons to continue smoking are very, very weak.

So, consider this.
What if your daughter and/or son smoked?
Would you tell them there’s no point in trying?
Would you tell them all of those things (above)?
Would you tell them if they stop smoking they will get fat?
Or would you tell them anytime is a good time to stop?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 27, 2009 6:43 PM
Comment #278965

d.a.n said: “I quit smoking in 1992, and I didn’t replace it with any other bad habits. “

So? Is everyone now expected to be an exact replica of d.a.n? Should all public policy now rest on d.a.n’s personal experiences?

Google research on weight gain following smoking cessation. Also google “side effects of smoking cessation”. It’s an eye opener. We are not clones of d.a.n, d.a.n. Exceptions do not make the rule, nor does anecdotal evidence represent a population or subset of that population.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 7:17 PM
Comment #278967

david

i believe it is over taxation of a legal product that creates the black market. tobacco is a prime example. many states have actually seen a decrease in revenue because they have made the effort involved in bying out of state or on indian reservations worth the time and trouble. punitive taxation never works, because those it targets will eventually find a way around it. this creates an whole new set of problems. IMO sin taxes are seldom successful.

Posted by: dbs at March 27, 2009 7:23 PM
Comment #278969

d.a.n said: “Those rationalizations are all pretty weak. “

Really. If the price by taxation puts the price of smoking beyond the reach of the poor, does this policy not FAVOR the wealthy who choose to continue smoking? It’s not a rationalization, it is a fact. Taxing sin discriminates for the wealthy participating in sin, and against the poor exercising the same choice.

d.a.n said in response to my comment:

“David R. Remer wrote: Those who still smoke shall remain high Medicare cost risks regardless of whether they quit now.”

Not true. It is never too late to quit smoking, and quitting will definitely make a person healthier, by not coninuing the inhaling of carbon monoxide, and other toxins.

Pure illogical claptrap. Everyone is going to die of something, and if they are on Medicare and receive medical treatment for what is killing them, there is no savings to Medicare. It doesn’t matter if one dies of COPD or heart failure or just old age. If medical treatment is received for that condition prior to death and the person is on Medicare, Medicare still pays.

Your comment would only make sound logic if either 1) Smoker’s were all Medicare insured and non smoker’s were not Medicare insured, or 2) all non-smoking Medicare insureds died instantly, requiring no medical treatment for what killed them.

Think about it. Smoker’s, if they don’t die of smoking, are going to die from some other bodily failure, disease, or lifetime experience. And they are just as likely as Medicare insured’s to receive medical treatment for what is killing them as smoker’s are.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 7:26 PM
Comment #278971

d.a.n, bar-b-queing is unhealthy for you, I say. Should government legislate against bar-b-queing?

My daughter was cautioned against smoking by both parents. But, then, that was a parental decision, not a government mandate.

I have no problem with schools teaching children the negative consequences of smoking. But, the choice to smoke or not smoke should be an individual’s choice, not the government’s. Just as choosing to abort a pregnancy should be an individual choice, not the governments. Just as choosing to drink alcohol should be an individual choice, not the government’s. And NEVER should the government be targeting certain wealth classes to prohibit choices to while preserving those same choices for other wealth classes.

If the federal government wants to make tobacco a controlled substance like opium such that NO one can legally participate in its usage, that is one thing. But, to tax opium to the point that it remains legal for the wealthy but out of reach of the poor, as a feel good experience, has enormous ethical inconsistencies.

Your pro-tobacco tax position falls into the category of backing social behavior engineering by federal government based on income groups. Is that really consistent with what you believe about the reach of federal government power?

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 7:33 PM
Comment #278973
David R. Remer wrote: So? Is everyone now expected to be an exact replica of d.a.n? Should all public policy now rest on d.a.n’s personal experiences? … We are not clones of d.a.n, d.a.n. Exceptions do not make the rule, nor does anecdotal evidence represent a population or subset of that population.
No one ever said everyone was like me, did they?

The point is, I’ve known many people that quit smoking, or some other bad habit, and didn’t substitute it with something else.
Probably more often than the opposite.

But I understand the constant temptation to attack the messenger, whenever the validity of one’s own positions are questioned.

Just like questioning anyone who questions debt, rampant spending, or Obama.

Gee, I must also be all of the following too?:


  • If you disagree, you must be unpatriotic.

  • If you disagree, you must want Obama to fail.

  • If you disagree, you must be a Republican.

  • If you disagree, you must nefarious motives.

  • If you disagree, you must be wrong.

  • If you disagree, you must want perfection (i.e. you should accept mediocrity or worse).

  • If you disagree, you must be unreasonalbe.

  • If you disagree, you must a sad human being with no hope (despite hoping for other better solutions).

  • If you disagree, you must hate the United States.

  • If you disagree, you must be a whiner and you don’t have any solutions of your own.

  • If you disagree, you are told there are no better solutions (whichy is false), or other solutions are impossible.

  • If you disagree, you are Dr. Doom & Gloom, Chicken Little, or Mr. Sky-is-Falling.

  • If you disagree, all of your questions are obstructionist.

  • If you disagree, your facts don’t matter; the dismal math doesn’t matter; you are told your concerns are useless because you aren’t clairvoyant.

  • If you disagree, and claim promises have been broken, your proof is irrelevant.

  • If you disagree, and demonstrate that it would take 50 years and $444 Billion per year to merely reduce the $11 Trillion National Debt by less than 7%, you are told GDP will grow to out-pace the debt. Never mind Congress’ lack of discipline and 52 consecutive years of deficit spending and incessant inflation.

  • If you disagree, and you want illegal employers for employing illegal aliens, you are a selfish, heartless racist.

  • If you disagree that there is only a credit problem, and also note that there is a serious debt problem, you are told that stopping deficit spending is impossible. You are told the only way to stop the debt from growing larger is to borrow more, create more new money, and spend more money (of which none of it is pork-barrel anymore).

  • If you disagree, and you want E-Verify enforced, you are a selfish, heartless racist.

  • If you disagree, and you think the federal and non-federal debt is untenable and growing it bigger makes no sense, and you pose questions about inflation, debt, centuries to pay down, and the absolutely dismal math, your questions are ignored.

  • If you disagree, and say there is pork-barrel, the definition of pork-barrel changes such that it no longer exists.

  • If you disagree, you must be demented, deficient, or evil in some way.

  • If you disagree, you must be a charlatan.

  • If you disagree, you must not believe in democracy, and have no trust in democracy.

  • If you disagree, you are not one of the people that want a better future; you should not be listened to or followed.

  • If you disagree, it’s the highway for you, if it’s not the IN-PARTY way.

The point remains.

It is never too late to quit smoking, and quitting will definitely make a person healthier, by not coninuing the inhaling of carbon monoxide, and other toxins.

No doubt black markets will result from over-taxation of anything, and that does not mean people don’t have a right to smoke if they want to, but all of those reasons to rationalize the reasons to continue smoking are weak.

David R. Remer wrote: Think about it. Smoker’s, if they don’t die of smoking, are going to die from some other bodily failure, disease, or lifetime experience.
No kiddin’ !

That’s quite a talent for stating the obvious.
Did you figure that all out all by yourself?
And you think that somehow justifies all of those rationalizationsabove?

And again, consider this.
What if your daughter and/or son smoked?
Would you tell them there’s no point in trying?
Would you tell them all of those things (above)?
Would you tell them if they stop smoking they will get fat?
Or instead, if you love you dauther or son, would you tell them anytime is a good time to stop?
Especially if it not only adds years to their life, but improves their quaility of life, without waking up every morning coughing and hacking while searching for that next cigarette (not to mention saving them a LOT of money).

Surely you are not going to dig yourself into yet another very, very deep hole trying to defend all of those rationalizations, are you?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 27, 2009 7:46 PM
Comment #278975

dbs said: “i believe it is over taxation of a legal product that creates the black market. tobacco is a prime example. many states have actually seen a decrease in revenue because they have made the effort involved in bying out of state or on indian reservations worth the time and trouble.”

I agree, and states lost revenues too because of smokers turning to internet sales of tobacco where taxes were not collected by the seller. Unintended consequences often abound when government attempts to engineer behavior by taxation.

Fact is, regardless of how high one raises taxes on smoking, there will always be a portion of society that will smoke. There is a plethora of herbs which are pleasantly smokable, and while they don’t deliver nicotine, some of them have other interesting and pleasing effects. This is how I cut my smoking back by more than half some time ago.

Chantix however, was what helped me quit. Despite its reported suicidal effects and vivid nightmare consequences for some, it worked for me. $80 per bottle lasting one week each. Recommended treatment is a minimum six weeks according to my doctor. 6 times 80 is $480. And you the treatment calls for continuing to smoke for 4 of those six weeks. So, an average pack a day for 4 weeks at $3.50 a pack is another $98. So, for about $600 dollars one can try Chantix to see if it will work for them.

How many working poor have an additional $80 per week to spend on Chantix for 6 weeks? Taxes collected on tobacco should fund free voluntary smoking cessation clinics. Wouldn’t make sin taxes right, but, at least taking taxes from poorer smokers would also potentially benefit them. Instead, our government is going to tax poor smokers and hand the money to some rich banking Executive who can afford imported cigars and Player’s till the cows come home before the handout from the government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 7:55 PM
Comment #278977

d.a.n said: “But I understand the constant temptation to attack the messenger, whenever the validity of one’s own positions are questioned.”

No attack on the messenger. Just simple questions regarding the reasoning contained in your comments. Just because you quit without gaining weight or some other crutch, doesn’t make a case for public policy nor does it represent other’s experiences. Simple facts, d.a.n. Logical to boot.

But, if you feel attacked by such statements, not much I can do about that. Facts and logic are often inconvenient, but they are not attacks upon those to whom they are relayed. Neither are questions, as those I posed in my reply to your comment.

I am impressed by the lengthy list of NON quotes of mine. Very creative! I mean that literally. Sorry smoking is such is touchy subject. But, then you know what they say about a reformed addict, I presume. Their compassion and tolerance for other addicts plummets with time.

I wish I could remember the name of a book I read a long time ago in college about the temperance movement that discussed the lack of compassion and tolerance that led to prohibition, making evil those who partook of alcohol, to be shunned and ostracized, even as the shunners and ostricizers were sprucing up their tea toddies in afternoon. Great book on the hypocrisy of intolerance and ‘sin’ful behaviors. The upshot of the book was that everyone believes there own sins are tolerable but, other’s sins are not, and sin taxes will never work as intended.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 8:09 PM
Comment #278978

d.a.n said: “That’s quite a talent for stating the obvious. Did you figure that all out all by yourself?”

But your comments seem to fail to make the connection that smoking cessation will have no significant effect on reducing Medicare costs. Medicare insureds will still die of something most likely requiring medical care before actual death.

Stating the obvious seems to be begged by your comment’s refusal to accept the obvious proposition that curtailing smoking will not significantly reduce health care costs under the Medicare system. Thus, I make the obvious connections. Accept or reject the obvious as you please.

I make the arguments. No one is obligated to accept them or even read them. Nothing personal. Just making a debate argument. Rather good and obvious one too, I thought.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 27, 2009 8:15 PM
Comment #279007

Medicare costs are affected by the chronic nature of tobacco related diseases. While everyone dies of something eventually, they may not have had to be treated for lung cancer, congestive heart failure, enfacima or other dread, some of which require huge amounts of treatments and money, long before death.

Posted by: Marysdude at March 28, 2009 8:00 AM
Comment #279020
David R. Remer wrote: No attack on the messenger.
Sure it is.

Most people here know how it works

David R. Remer wrote: So? Is everyone now expected to be an exact replica of d.a.n? Should all public policy now rest on d.a.n’s personal experiences? … We are not clones of d.a.n, d.a.n.

HHHMMMMmmmmm … Put a question mark after it, and you can say almost anything, eh?
Or you can address the comment as if it is a person, eh? For example

David R. Remer wrote: But your comments seem to fail to make the connection that smoking cessation will have no significant effect on reducing Medicare costs.

Rather than say “you seem to fail”, you write “your comments seem to fail”. As if that really fools anyone.

Of course, you can say you are only addressing the comments only.
For example, I could write:

    Gee, I’m really beginnin’ to wonder about some of your comments (rather than “about you”).

See how it works?
So you can dispose with the games.
People can truly debate against the difference of opinion, or they can continue to hunt for clever ways to attack the messenger.
Take your pick.
Do you want to list the merits, pros, and cons of smoking, second hand smoke, not smoking, associated medical costs, or the evil motives of anyone who disagrees?
Or do you want to agree to disagree, or make more attacks on the messengers disguised as questions?
NOTE: Those are only questions.

Any way, some people (I won’t mention names, because that would be against the rules), when their weak arguments are failing miserably, they then often choose instead to obfuscate, rationalize, and attack the messenger. For example:

  • (1) The obfuscation is claiming that I ever asserted that everyone did not substitute smoking with another bad habit, when all I was saying was that not all people do substitute a bad habit with another.

  • (2) The rationalizations sound like a lot of excuses to continue smoking (e.g. why stop smoking when you’ll simply get fat?).

  • (3) The attacking the messenger is cleverly disguised with question marks (see above). We all know how it works. It’s not foolin’ anyone. What it really reveals is the frustration with the weakness of your own case, and lame rationalizations that appear very much to be defending smoking (like it won’t reduce Medicare costs anyway, people will simply get fat, or drunk, etc., etc., etc. So why try?).

David R. Remer wrote: Just simple questions regarding the reasoning contained in your comments.
Sure it is.

Most people here know how it works.
For example, just place some question marks after a sentence and you can say lots of things

David R. Remer wrote: So? Is everyone now expected to be an exact replica of d.a.n? Should all public policy now rest on d.a.n’s personal experiences? … We are not clones of d.a.n, d.a.n.

No, no one said all public policy should rest on my experiences.

That was posed as a question mark to avoid breaking the rules.
You are not foolin’ anyone.

David R. Remer wrote: So? We are not clones of d.a.n, d.a.n.
Really?

No kiddin’ , Sherlock?
Did you figure that all out all by yourself?
Where did you develop those wonderful powers of observing the obvious?
NOTE: Those are only questions.

David R. Remer wrote: Just because you quit without gaining weight or some other crutch, doesn’t make a case for public policy nor does it represent other’s experiences. Simple facts, d.a.n. Logical to boot.
No one ever said it did, and that is yet another ridiculous extrapolation and obfuscation to distract from the pathetic rationalizations in your own comments.
David R. Remer wrote: But, if you feel attacked by such statements, not much I can do about that.
Sure there is. Stop doing it. Two can play that game, and you’ll only be diggin’ another very deep hole with those weak rationalizations for continued smoking (as listed below).
David R. Remer wrote: Facts and logic are often inconvenient, …
They certainly are, as evidenced by a plethora of weak rationalizations (see below):
David R. Remer wrote:
  • (1) An underground black market will grow like wildfire providing all manner of other vegetables for smoking with varying levels of satisfaction and harmful effects. All underground black markets come complete with guns and violence and turf wars.
      {Never mind how many are already dying (slowly, painfully, and very costly) from smoking every year. While high taxes usually create black markets, it’s hardly a reason to not stop smoking, is it?}
  • (2) Anyone addicted to nicotine and forced to quit due to the high prices will like substitute food for nicotine, in copious quantities each day. So, Medicare saves nothing by reducing cardi-pulmonary disease. Obesity and diabetes will become the smoker’s new disease.
      {Ohhhhh … so why quit, eh? And Medicare won’t save anything if they didn’t have to treat emphysema, and other smoking related diseases? Now that is truly lame. Especially if you are one of those people that think healthcare is a right. Even Marysdude (see above) chimed in on that by saying: Medicare costs are affected by the chronic nature of tobacco related diseases. While everyone dies of something eventually, they may not have had to be treated for lung cancer, congestive heart failure, enphysema or other dread, some of which require huge amounts of treatments and money, long before death.}
  • (3) The rationale that the government needs the money and therefore is raising taxes on tobacco products (over 1500% on loose tobacco) is idiocy. By dramatically raising the cost of tobacco the loss in tobacco tax payers, cancels the increased tax revenue gains.
      {Keep diggin’ that hole deeper and deeper. I don’t think taxing the hell out of certain things is just (and possibly unconstitutional), but all of these rationalizations are weak. Here’s an idea? Just stop smoking? OOOHHhhhh … but then the economy would collapse from the loss of taxes and black markets, eh? And you then have the nerve to question others’ logic?}
  • (4) Those who still smoke shall remain high Medicare cost risks regardless of whether they quit now. So, the argument that Medicare costs will drop as a result, is not valid until you project out in time to a generation that has never been exposed to smoking by their role models.
      {False. There will be savings by not treating smoking related diseases, such as emphysema, lung cancer, and other smoking related diseases, which often include lengthy and costly treatments.}
  • (5) Raising the taxes on tobacco in no way addresses addiction substitution. There are genetic, psychological, and sociological predispositions to addictive behavior, and raising taxes on tobacco addresses none of these.
      {So why quit eh? Why even try, eh? Anyway, a lot of tax dollars do go to trying to treat those things, and even if they didn’t, since when did it become everyone others’ burden to do something about addiction substitution? Is that a right? It’s one thing for society to offer to help, but it’s another thing when some people think society owes them a solution to their addictions. Taxing the hell out of certain things is unjust and possibly unconstitutional, but the solution for a lot of people is simple: simply stop smoking. It will save a LOT of money too.}
  • (6) Taxing tobacco makes it a wealthy person’s enjoyment, and discriminates against the less wealthy. This is true of taxing all products. If the intent is eliminate tobacco usage, why keep it legal for those who can afford the tax without any problem? It is unjust at the most fundamental liberal philosophy level in that it bans the less wealthy from exercising the same judgment the wealthy are free to exercise.
      {OK. This is the lamest of the lame. While all sales taxes are regressive, and while taxing the hell out of certain things is unjust, resentment about the wealthy being better able to afford the enjoyment of smoking is laughable.}
  • (7) Medicare insureds will still die of something most likely requiring medical care before actual death.
      {But not many diseases last longer and are more costly than emphysema and lung cancer, not to mention the harm to others around smokers. Smoking doesn’t kill ya fast. It’s slow and painful, not to mention the decreased quality of life many years prior (i.e. coughing and hacking while searching for matches or ligher to light up another cigarette).}
  • David R. Remer wrote: but they are not attacks upon those to whom they are relayed. Neither are questions, as those I posed in my reply to your comment.
    Right. We know how it works. I can ask you if you are stupid or somethin’ and that’s OK because it is only a question. Right?
    David R. Remer wrote: I am impressed by the lengthy list of NON quotes of mine. Very creative! I mean that literally.
    What “NON quotes of mine”?

    If something is your quote, it will be preceded by: | David R. Remer wrote:

    That list (above is essentially demonstrating the tactics used against some people who disagree (e.g. about debt, spending, pork-barrel, inflation, Obama’s policies, partisan loyalties, partisan warfare, and now smoking and associated medical costs).
    When the arguments start looking weak, just attack the messenger, eh?

    David R. Remer wrote: Sorry smoking is such is touchy subject.
    See, here we go again.

    Smoking isn’t a touchy subject.

    Why the need to obfuscate by somehow turning it around to someone else’s character flaw?
    NOTE: That’s only a question.

    Anyway, that is yet another attempt to obfuscate and distract.
    That crap is a somewhat clever tactic, but it’s really not foolin’ everyone.
    Do you also realize that many of your comments attempt to demonize anyone who disagrees about debt, spending, pork-barrel, and Obama’s policies?
    Do you realize those are the very same tactics the previous IN-PARTY used?
    So, is that your policy now?
    NOTE: Those are only questions?

    No, the problem here is the lame rationalizations and assertions that smoking doesn’t create more medical costs.
    I knew a womon who got lung cancer because her husband smoked.
    I wonder what she would have to say about your theory (if she were still alive)?
    The issue is:

    • (1) the long list of rationalizations for continued smoking (i.e. why quit when you’ll simply get fat, etc., etc., etc.; see list above).

    • (2) And the issue is the assertion that stopping-smoking won’t reduce future medical costs (never mind the long and lengthy periods and huge costs of treating emphysema and lung cancer).

    David R. Remer wrote: Sorry smoking is such is touchy subject. But, then you know what they say about a reformed addict, I presume. Their compassion and tolerance for other addicts plummets with time.
    I know it’s hard to quit, but that’s not the issue is it?
    David R. Remer wrote: I wish I could remember the name of a book I read a long time ago in college about the temperance movement that discussed the lack of compassion and tolerance that led to prohibition, making evil those who partook of alcohol, to be shunned and ostracized, even as the shunners and ostricizers were sprucing up their tea toddies in afternoon.
    Oh great.

    Here we go again.

    Pack your bags, ‘cause we’re goin’ on another guilt trip.

    Now anyone who disagrees (with the Medicare costs or lame rationalizations that seem very much to defend smoking) are now hypocrites.
    Yet another attempt to turn it around and attack the character of those who disagree.
    Clever tactic, but don’t ya think your rationalizations for smokin’ were doin’ much better than resorting to demonizing the messenger?
    So now, people are “evil” and incompassionate for taking issue with the lame excuses listed above?
    See, again, that is just another example of attacking the messenger when one’s own rationalizations and arguments result in them diggin’ themselves deeper and deeper into hole.

    David R. Remer wrote: Great book on the hypocrisy of intolerance and ‘sin’ful behaviors. The upshot of the book was that everyone believes there own sins are tolerable but, other’s sins are not, and sin taxes will never work as intended.
    That’s nice.

    Perhaps you need to read it again?
    By the way, that was a question.

    David R. Remer wrote: Great book on the hypocrisy of intolerance and ‘sin’ful behaviors.
    Right. As if that was the issue.

    No, that is yet another obfuscation to distract from the original issue:

    • (1) The first issue is the long list of rationalizations (see above) for continued smoking (i.e. why quit when you’ll simply get fat, etc., etc., etc.).

    • (2) The second issue is the assertion that it won’t reduce future medical costs (never mind the long and lengthy periods and huge costs of treating emphysema and lung cancer). And if that’s not enough for ya, think about what it is doin’ to the lungs of the people around you (i.e. your children). If you think that needs to be sugar coated, you’re wrong.

    David R. Remer wrote: But your comments seem to fail to make the connection that smoking cessation will have no significant effect on reducing Medicare costs.
    That’s funny.

    Rather than say “you seem to fail”, you write “your comments seem to fail”.
    As if that really is fooling anyone.
    As if a comment itself (letters on a computer screen) really had a life of their own.
    As if you are really addressing the keyboard that created those letters, eh?
    You want to talk about hypocrisy?

    Anyway, I do not fail to make the connection with reducing Medicare costs, because the fact is, there is no connection.
    Recognizing pure nonsense for what it is does not equate to “fail to make the connection”.
    Why?
    Think about the lengthy periods of time and huges costs associated with treating emphysema and/or lung cancer.
    Emphysema and lung cancer are not like a sudden heart attack or fatal stroke out of the blue, are they?
    And you then have the nerve to question others’ logic?
    See Marydude’s comment above.
    He is trying (diplomiatcally) to tell you that you are wrong.

    David R. Remer wrote: Medicare insureds will still die of something most likely requiring medical care before actual death.
    No, not all deaths are preceded by lengthy and costly medical procedures and costs.

    But there often are lengthy and costly medical procedures and costs associated with emphysema and lung cancer.
    It’s horrible.
    Smoking doesn’t kill you fast.
    Smoking kills you slowly (and expensively).
    And it doesn’t do others in the vicinity any good either.

    David R. Remer wrote: Stating the obvious seems to be begged by your comment’s refusal to accept the obvious proposition that curtailing smoking will not significantly reduce health care costs under the Medicare system. Thus, I make the obvious connections. Accept or reject the obvious as you please.
    It will reduce medical costs.

    But, even if it didn’t, is that any justification to defend smoking?
    Smoking is an individual choice of course, but what about those around smokers in the home?
    What about other tax payers that have to pick up the medical bill for it?
    Again, people have a right to smoke and do a lot of things that are bad for them.
    But trying to defend those things with such lame reasons (e.g. you only get fat or drunk, and there are no increased medical costs associated with diseases from smoking) listed above is the issue here. Are you sure you want to continue diggin’ this hole deeper too?

    David R. Remer wrote: I make the arguments. No one is obligated to accept them or even read them. Nothing personal. Just making a debate argument.
    Agreed. Likewise.
    David R. Remer wrote: Rather good and obvious one too, I thought.
    In your dreams.

    Those rationalizations are about as lame as they get.

    Again, you should read what Marysdude wrote, because it makes a lot more sense than your list of lame rationalizations (see above):

    Marysdude wrote: Medicare costs are affected by the chronic nature of tobacco related diseases. While everyone dies of something eventually, they may not have had to be treated for lung cancer, congestive heart failure, enphysema or other dread, some of which require huge amounts of treatments and money, long before death.

    So, are you going to continue to dig that hole deeper?
    Do you want to see some statistics on the costs for treating lengthy and costly diseases associated with smoking?
    Do you want to see some statistics on second hand smoking?

    Here’s what I’ve noticed about a lot of smokers.
    Some smokers not only ignore the costs shifted to others, but ignore the harm to others due to second hand smoke.
    Streets are littered with cigarettes (mostly at stop lights).
    Every year, many fires are started by smokers tossing cigarette butts out the window of their vehicle.
    Many smokers kid themselves about the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
    Many smokers waste a lot of time on smoking breaks while others are working (as a result, many emplouyers won’t hire smokers).
    Many smokers make all sorts of rationalizations and excuses (such as your list above).

    Nobody is sayin’ you can’t smoke if you want to.
    But if you try to say it doesn’t lead to more healthcare costs, write stuff like “Obesity and diabetes will become the smoker’s new disease”, and then try to demonize anyone who disgrees, then that hole you’re diggin’ is just going to get deeper and deeper.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 28, 2009 12:15 PM
    Comment #279035

    Here’s the thing…seat belt wearing saves many lives, but more importantly it saves us from having to pay the health costs of the millions who have sustained significant injuries in accidents, because they were not wearing them. General seat belt laws, to me, are unconstitutional. Not because wearing them is a bad thing, but because there has NEVER been an accident caused by the DRIVER of a vehicle not wearing one. Seat belt laws, to me, should be reserved for automobile manufacturers to install them, and for adults who do not belt juveniles in.

    Anti-smoking laws are not Constitutional, because how can a law be enforced when the party exposed to the hazard is the very one who smokes? Smoking in public places, on the other hand, does harm to others, so falls into the ‘swinging fist’ category.

    There are those who say that laws against smoking and those for wearing seatbelts are Constitutional because without these laws, insurance rates go up, and health care costs inflate.

    To those I say…neither of these two things mentioned cause as much damage to insurance costs or health care costs as air-borne bacteria and virus pathogens…so do we want a law wherein all citizens, the mighty and the disenfranchised must wear a face mask to keep their coughs and sneezes enclosed?

    Posted by: Marysdude at March 28, 2009 2:12 PM
    Comment #279068

    d.a.n said: “Do you want to see some statistics on the costs for treating lengthy and costly diseases associated with smoking?”

    Only if you will also do a side by side comparison of the costs of medical care for the dying of non-smokers. Without such comparison, your stats on smokers medical care are meaningless. You may even find that non-smoker per patient costs for medical care before dying are even higher than smokers per patient costs prior to death.

    To make a case, one must produced valid data for both cases. Otherwise, simply reporting smoker costs is like saying a Hut is a skyscraper, without the Empire State building for comparison.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 28, 2009 7:30 PM
    Comment #279069

    d.a.n said: “Those rationalizations are about as lame as they get.”

    Your comment’s refutations are even lamer. But, that is neither here nor there. I am fascinated by such a fixed and prejudiced view, based on no hard data or empirical research. Truly amazing how folks can take such fervent stands without evidence, and even in contradiction to evidence, to preserve their view.

    d.eris offers a more extreme example when he says Obama won by 53% of the vote and that is NOT a consensus. Truly amazing how folks can chuck logic and language definition out the window to preserve their pre-judged view and diminish their cognitive dissonance in the face controvertible evidence or logical argument. Truly amazing.

    Your comments argue against the regressive tax system that discriminates against the poor and working class in favor of the wealthy who pay lower rates. But, then your comments, quite contradictorally, argue that government putting tobacco prices out of reach of the poor by taxation is NOT discriminating in favor of the wealthy who can and will choose to continue smoking without concern for cost.

    Simply fascinating.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 28, 2009 7:40 PM
    Comment #279072

    d.a.n insists: “It will reduce medical costs. “

    That is your opinion, nothing more. Where is the side by side research on cost per patient for near death medical treatments between smoker’s and non-smoker’s as groups?

    You don’t produce any. Hell, there may quite deliberately be no research like this, or if there were a patron to fund such research, it would likely be the tobacco companies funding it, and their results would be tainted by their history of lies regarding the health effects of smoking.

    Smoking is injurious to one’s health. So, is being alive, Mark Twain once pointed out, for mortals. Every day alive marks a day closer to death. Yet, our society approves bungee jumping, motorcycles, high speed 2 lane highways, sky diving, and all manner of other high risk activities as good and wholesome red blooded American great sport.

    Hell, prescribed medications probably account for more serious injury to health than smoking does in any given year. One year of smoking does only a small amount of injury, especially for younger smokers. But, prescription medications harm more than 1.5 million persons per year, and kills a small percentage of that group each year.

    19.8% of the population smokes. Assuming a resident population of 306,102,973, that equals 60 million, 608 thousand smokers. Of those smokers, 440,000 die each year as a result of smoking related illnesses, lung cancer being chief among 18 such illnesses.

    Wikipedia Reports: “A recent study by Healthgrades found that an average of 195,000 hospital deaths in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the U.S. were due to potentially preventable medical errors. A 2006 follow-up to the 1999 Institute of Medicine study found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year. According to the study, 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur each year in hospitals, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and roughly 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics.”

    So, if tobacco should be taxed to reduce medicare costs, by the same principle, shouldn’t we increase the taxes on medical care and prescription medications for the less wealthy to deter them away from seeking such such treatments? After all, the less wealthy constitute the greatest number of people seeking health care and Rx medications. Let’s just keep costs down by making health care unaffordable through taxation for the less wealthy. That is the principle your comments argue.

    And logic dictates to me that this principle is flawed in the extreme!

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 28, 2009 8:19 PM
    Comment #279128

    My youngest sister died of emphysema not that many years ago. She had lived a full life, raising children, providing a good home for her husband, etc., but her thirty years of deterioration took its toll, and she died in a hospital bed, being fed through tubes and having air pimped into her system that had become so weak it could not do it for itself. In a moment of remembrance, I wrote this poem…

    My Susie Was a Good Ol’ Boy

    My littlest bittiest sister could laugh an’ play an’ fuss
    She’d also tell a joke or two an’ drink an’ smoke an’ cuss

    She took abuse, then gave some too, an’ worked a job or two
    An’ raised her boys, or they raised her, that good ol’ boy named Sue

    Sue, she grew away from me, or I grew away from her
    We never quite got close again, why, we sure don’t know fer sure

    I miss ‘er now, as I didn’t then, an’ wish I could tell ‘er so
    But she is gone, as we’ll all be gone, an’ I can’t tell ‘er not to go

    Those who smoke do not understand how the habit affects those around them. And David, I think smoking does lead to higher medical costs for all of us. That may not be cause for higher taxation or legal measures being taken, but one thing does lead to the other…

    Posted by: Marysdude at March 29, 2009 3:01 PM
    Comment #279133

    It’s so sad to see a death and where to draw the line on Individual rights my father Quit smoking at 42 and had a triple bypass at 50- 35 years ago and I was never convinced it helped him on bit i was there i was a witness as he carried nitro and used it quite often on top of all the beta and alpha blockers, then in 2002 the Same doctor who was the first assitant in 1974 was now the head Doctor had my dad convinced that he had one graft leaking and another one blocked so that’s two grafts he put my dad through hell the first day they had my dad under for 6 hours and the doctor came out and said he had to go to a funeral and stopped the procedure and walked away from me I went to recovery and waited for my dad to come out of it and begged him to take him home he said no and the next day he was back in for a 4 hour procedure after 11 hours the doctor came back and said i put 4 grafts in him and he walked away my father lived two years of the most Rotten Miserable pain filled life i would not wish on anyone he was over 300lbs and they ruined his Heart he was a war hero and a good little Irishman Sue no .

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 29, 2009 4:06 PM
    Comment #279148
    David R. Remer: Your comment’s refutations are even lamer. But, that is neither here nor there. I am fascinated by such a fixed and prejudiced view, based on no hard data or empirical research. Truly amazing how folks can take such fervent stands without evidence, and even in contradiction to evidence, to preserve their view.
    AAHHHhhhhh … so you want to dig that hole deeper, eh? Did you research this first? If you did, then you [OH, I mean, your comments] appear to be in complete denial.

    _____ DIRECT COSTS, LOSSES, INJURIES, and DEATHS (caused by smoking) ______
    Here is ample proof that there are more direct increased medical costs and losses compared to other diseases.

    • (01) While smokers don’t live as long, they cost themselves and others more while they are alive due to many chronic, long-term, and costly medical expenses not only to themselves, but also to others around them who don’t even smoke. Also, many other chronic diseases are worsened by smoking. Many of these costs are direct, and many are indirect (see list of indirect costs below). Lung cancer, asthma, rhabdomyosarcomas, brain tumors, and heart disease are more frequent in people who live with smokers or who work in non-smoke-free environments.
      I could stop here, but let’s continue.

    • (02) A whopping 60% of the direct health care costs in the U.S. go to treat tobacco related illnesses.

    • (03) 20 % of all deaths in the U.S. are attributable to smoking. Smokers have a 70% higher death rate than nonsmokers, and they are often slow, painful, and costly deaths.

    • (04) Tobacco kills more Americans each year than alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fires and aids combined.

    • (05) Tobacco kills more people each year than losses from WW I, Korea and Vietnam combined, approximately equal to the losses of WW II.

    • (06) Deaths from smoking in year 1990:
      • cardiovascular diseases: 179,820

      • lung cancer: 119,920

      • other cancers (i.e. mouth, esophagus, etc.): 31,402

      • respiratory diseases: 84,475

      • TOTAL DEATHS for year 1990: 415,597
    • (07) And with 47+ Million people without medical insurance, the medical costs for the treatment of smoking related diseases strains hospitals and private and publically funded insurance providers.

    • (08) Chronic lung disease causes $154 billion in healthcare costs each year. This chronic disease is causing U.S. healthcare to go up in smoke:
      • Smokers constitute 4 out of 5 cases of lung cancer.

      • Direct and indirect costs of smoking are more than $3,000 per smoker.

      • Lung cancer is one of the most preventable chronic diseases.
    • (09) Lung cancer and emphysema are long-term illnesses, and both cause many long-term and costly medical expenses.

    • (10) Smoking causes periperhal vascular and cardiovascular disease which is another long-term and costly disease.

    • (11) At least 20% of deaths caused by heart disease are smoking related.

    • (12) Smoking causes coronary heart disease, which is another long-term and costly disease.

    • (13) Smoking can also cause sudden cardiac arrest, then leaving some children and family dependent on tax payers due to the loss of their family’s main income earner.

    • (14) Smoking causes other various cancers too (of the head, neck, mouth, stomach, esophagus, kidney, bladder, pancreas), which are all long-term and costly diseases, and accounts for a whopping 30% of all cancer deaths.

    • (15) Smoking causes chronic bronchitis, asthma, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

    • (16) Stroke are an estimated 3.0 times higher to occur for smokers than non-smokers, and many of those strokes lead to long-term and costly medical expenses.

    • (17) Smoking and pregnancy: Mothers who smoke have babies with an increased risk of fetal death, hypoxia, neonatal death, sids, and lower birth weight.

    • (18) Infections and the Immune system: Smokers have more infections due to tobacco induced decrease in immune system function, which leads to long-term and costly medical expenses.

    • (19) Smokers (and victims of 2nd hand smoke) are also at risk for other long-term and costly diseases and problems such as osteoporosis, peptic ulcers, impotence, premature aging, wrinkles, earlier menopause, cataracts, poor denitition & decreased taste and smell,

    • (20) Smokers who have other lung diseases, are more likely to further damage their lungs. Smoking may also interfere with blood pressure medications as another example.

    _____ INDIRECT COSTS, LOSSES, INJURIES, and DEATHS (caused by smoking) ______
    Now let’s look at the increased medical costs and devastating losses caused by smoking (not only to the smokers, but others too).
    For example:

    • (01) There’s the case lung cancer and respiratory diseases of second hand smoke by people that don’t even smoke (such as the woman who got lung cancer because her husband smoked). Tobacco greatly impacts negatively the lung function not only in smokers, but also their children and spouses, causing premature aging of the lungs.

    • (02) Then there’s the case of building fires caused by carelessly maintained cigarettes, causing death, injuries, and property destruction (a major downside to living in apartment buildings). A whopping 25% of residential fire deaths are caused by careless smokers. Society assumes much of the costs for the massive medical costs for care of burn victims. Direct property damage costs from fires caused by smokers are also a big cost to society. So David, how many things in your house have cigarette burns on them? Honestly? Do your children smoke?

    • (03) Then there is the case of drivers killed and maimed by distractions from smoking while driving. I knew a girl in highschool who was in a serious head-on collision because she was distracted when she dropped a burning cigarette in her lap.

    • (04) Then there is the case of fires caused by smokers throwing cigarettes out of their vehicles.

    • (05) Then consider the lost time and lost productivity for cigarette breaks (a major reason many employers won’t hire smokers). Other costs are related to decreased work productivity due to chronic smoke related illnesses and impairments, and workers taking time away from work for smoke breaks

    • (06) Then consider the litter problem (i.e. cigarette butts piled up at street intersections.

    • (07) Then there is the money spent on cigarettes that could be spent on much better (and healthier) things, such as health care, education, better nutrition, etc.

    • (08) Then consider the loss of income due to the loss of a family’s main income earner, or the loss of a parent, or the loss of money due to a victim of second hand smoke (all avoidable losses and misery).

    • (09) Then consider job and social discrimination and depression caused by that. It is no wonder, since smokers miss more days of work than non-smokers which results in costs to society from work absenteeism.

    • (10) And this is disgusting. U.S. government tobacco crop subsidies represent little known ways your tax dollar assists the tobacco industry. Cha Ching!

    David R. Remer: Truly amazing how folks can chuck logic and language definition out the window to preserve their pre-judged view and diminish their cognitive dissonance in the face controvertible evidence or logical argument. Truly amazing.

    Yes, it is fascinating, and sad too.

    I strongly recommend that you carefully read Marydude’s and Rodney Brown’s messages above.

    See the two lists above, and then please try again to tell us that same nonsense; how smokers don’t cause increased costs, harm, and damage to themselves and others around them.

    Unless you can explain away those 30+ facts above, theobvious costs above (not only to smokers, but other non-smokers too), then that hole you’re diggin’ is going to get deeper and deeper.

    David R. Remer: Your comments argue against the regressive tax system that discriminates against the poor and working class in favor of the wealthy who pay lower rates. But, then your comments, quite contradictorally, argue that government putting tobacco prices out of reach of the poor by taxation is NOT discriminating in favor of the wealthy who can and will choose to continue smoking without concern for cost. Simply fascinating.
    Pure nonsense, since I said above 3+ times that “taxing the hell out of certain things is not just (and possibly unconstitutional)”, but you conveniently ignored that and went off on yet another wild and luney-toon obfuscation and pure fiction that I somehow support government’s higher taxes on cigarettes, and that somehow equates to discrimination against the poorer smokers. That’s lame too, since I never defended higher taxes on cigarettes, nor ever said it wasn’t discriminating against poorer smokers.

    My disdain for your use of the tax issue is that it is a laughable, reaching, and desparate excuse.
    OHHHHhhhh my gosh, the wealthy can better afford to buy cigarettes. Whaahhh, whhaaaahh, whaaaa.
    Again, I’m not defending the excessive taxation of anything, and the desparate attempt to use the tax issue only demonstates the desparation to save a failing argument.
    But, if you want to perpetuate that ridiculous line of logic, consider this.
    The wealthy are more able to pay for their own failing health caused by their own smoking.

    David R. Remer: But, then your comments, quite contradictorally, argue that government putting tobacco prices out of reach of the poor by taxation is NOT discriminating in favor of the wealthy who can and will choose to continue smoking without concern for cost. Simply fascinating.
    False.

    I never said taxing the hell out of cigarettes was just, and even wrote 3 times above that it wasn’t just and possibly unconstitutional.

    David R. Remer: … . Simply fascinating.
    I agree with that completely.

    You know I’m right, but are willing to admit it?
    By the way, that’s only a question.

    But perhaps, maybe you don’t know it, in which case that hole you’re diggin’ is going to get deeper and deeper.

    David R. Remer:
    • d.a.n insists: “It will reduce medical costs. “
    That is your opinion, nothing more.
    No, that is a fact, and it is very well substantiated by the two lists above, and the studies showing increased medical costs over a smokers lifetime (not to mention the non-smokers subjected to second-hand smoke, fires, etc.).
    David R. Remer: Where is the side by side research on cost per patient for near death medical treatments between smoker’s and non-smoker’s as groups?
    You don’t need a side-by-side comparison of medical treatments, because the death, and injuries, and property damage caused by fires alone, and the long-term and chronic illness to non-smokers alone is more than sufficient evidence that smoking causes more medical costs.

    Smoking also makes many chronic diseases worse (not only for the smokers, but non-smokers too).

    More chronic and long-term illness in during the peoples’ entire lives most certainly does create more cost (not only medical, but property damage cause by fires, since

    David R. Remer: You don’t produce any.
    I wasn’t aware you were serious to dig that hole you’re in any deeper.

    See above. I provided ample proof of higher medical costs, and also provided proof of other related costs due to property loss and harm to non-smokers (both direct and indirect costs).
    Do you want to see more proof that smoking, obesity, alcoholism, and other bad habits do indeed lead to more medical costs per life-time?
    These little exercises are always so educational, eh?
    If you still don’t believe it, see this.
    It is one of the best sources for estimates of the difference in the average health costs of smokers versus nonsmokers (Hodgson, TA, “Cigarette Smoking and Lifetime Medical Expenditures, Milbank Quarterly, 70(1): 81-115, 1992).

    It’s not that complicated, despite the contortions, obfuscations, and pretzel twisting to distract and distort the facts.
    Your argument is that people eventually die of something anyway eventually.
    The flaw in that shallow logic is that it ignores the long-term chronic illnesses to both smokers and non-smokers, fires, deaths, burn victims, and the worsening of other chronic diseases exacerbated by smoking. Smoking is worse than most diseases, because it kills you slowly, and exacerbates a lot of other long-term chronic diseases, leading to more medical costs in a life-time.

    If people are healthier and have fewer chronic diseases, and don’t cause more chronic diseases (from smoking, alcoholism, obesity, etc.), then everyone is healthier, require less costly and long-term medical care during their lifetime.

    Less chronic disease during every persons lifetime equates to less medical costs.

    It’s that simple, and no amount of obfuscation will change it.
    So if you want to persist in this theory that smoking doesn’t lead to more medical costs during a person’s lifetime (not to mention the non-smokers subjected to their second hand smoke, fires they cause, etc.), then you’d better get a ladder, because that hole your diggin’ is going to get awful deep.

    Your other case is that people will simply substitute smoking with over-eating or other bad habits, as evidenced by the comment . ..

    David R. Remer: Obesity and diabetes will become the smoker’s new disease, …

    Funny coming from someone who talks about hope so much.

    Where’s that hope that perhaps some people (and many do) will not substitute one bad habit with one that is as bad or worse?
    Your comment sounds very defeatist; like “Why try to stop smoking because you only get fat or drunk instead”.
    That is yet another desparate attempt to prop up a failing argument.
    So, people shouldn’t try to stop smoking because they’ll simply get fat or drunk instead?
    Do you not recognize how utterly ridiculous that sounds?
    Especially when it is combined with a myriad of other weak rationalizations?

    David R. Remer: Hell, there may quite deliberately be no research like this, or if there were a patron to fund such research, it would likely be the tobacco companies funding it, and their results would be tainted by their history of lies regarding the health effects of smoking.
    Yes, there is research like that, and the are not from the tobacco industry.
    David R. Remer: Smoking is injurious to one’s health. So, is being alive, Mark Twain once pointed out, for mortals.
    More desparation to prop up a weak and failing argument.
    David R. Remer: Every day alive marks a day closer to death. Yet, our society approves bungee jumping, motorcycles, high speed 2 lane highways, sky diving, and all manner of other high risk activities as good and wholesome red blooded American great sport.
    More desparation to prop up a weak and failing argument.

    So, life is dangerous, so why try to stop smoking?

    Here’s a good reason:

    • Because it may help everyone else in your home have a healthier and longer life.

    David R. Remer: Hell, prescribed medications probably account for more serious injury to health than smoking does in any given year. One year of smoking does only a small amount of injury, especially for younger smokers. But, prescription medications harm more than 1.5 million persons per year, and kills a small percentage of that group each year.
    So you think all of that proves that smokers don’t create higher medical costs?

    Medical mistakes and adverse reactions to drugs cause about 195,000 deaths per year in year 2000, 2001, 2002.

    There were 415,597 smoking related deaths in year 1990. You say below it is now 440,000. OK, that sounds about right.

    David R. Remer: 19.8% of the population smokes. Assuming a resident population of 306,102,973, that equals 60 million, 608 thousand smokers. Of those smokers, 440,000 die each year as a result of smoking related illnesses, lung cancer being chief among 18 such illnesses.
    OK. You seem to be undermining your own argument.

    Now consider the additional costs of chronic, long-term disease to the non-smokers around those smokers.
    How many children are exposed to their parents second hand smoke?
    How many people are killed by fires caused by careless smokers?
    How much property is destroyed each year by careless smokers?
    25% of residential fire deaths are caused by careless smokers.
    Society assumes much of the costs for the massive medical costs for care of burn victims.
    Direct property damage costs from fires caused by smokers are also a big cost to society.
    How are you able to ignore all of this and simply say “people will die of something else anyway”?
    What about the decreased quality of life for the non-smokers, and their children, and burn victims of fires caused by careless smokers.
    And with 47+ Million uninsured, who gets the bill for these slow-killing diseases caused or exacerbated by smoking?

    David R. Remer: Wikipedia Reports: “A recent study by Healthgrades found that an average of 195,000 hospital deaths in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002 in the U.S. were due to potentially preventable medical errors. A 2006 follow-up to the 1999 Institute of Medicine study found that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, harming at least 1.5 million people every year. According to the study, 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries occur each year in hospitals, 800,000 in long-term care settings, and roughly 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics.”

    While you were reading and quoting from wikipedia, did you see this:

      During the early stages, smoking provides pleasurable sensations and thus serves as a source of positive reinforcement. After an individual has smoked for many years, the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms and negative reinforcement become the key motivations. Because they are engaging in an activity that has negative effects on health, people who smoke tend to rationalize their behavior and develop convincing, logical reasons which accepts the practice.

    And do they ever! (some anyway)

    Some will pull out any and all of the lamest excuses to continue it (as evidenced above).
    The worst thing is the rationalizations that some smokers use for ignoring the dangers to the children and other people living in their own household. Every day more than 15 million children are exposed to smoke in their own homes. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), also known as “second hand smoke,” poses significant risks to children. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified ETS as a class A carcinogen, which means that ETS is known to cause cancer in humans. Exposure to ETS before the age of ten will increase a child’s chances of developing lymphoma and leukemia (i.e., cancers of the blood) as an adult. The effects of ETS are actually worse than those acquired from smoking cigarettes directly.

    David R. Remer: So, if tobacco should be taxed to reduce medicare costs, by the same principle, shouldn’t we increase the taxes on medical care and prescription medications for the less wealthy to deter them away from seeking such such treatments?
    Yes, now you are either getting really desparate, or being intentionally facetious.

    Again, I said 3+ times above that taxing the hell out of cigarettes (or anything) was not just and possibly unconstitutional, so this tax issue is a dead issue.

    David R. Remer: After all, the less wealthy constitute the greatest number of people seeking health care and Rx medications. Let’s just keep costs down by making health care unaffordable through taxation for the less wealthy. That is the principle your comments argue.
    That that is a bald-faced lie, and simply demonstrates the desparation to prop up a weak and failing argument.

    The taxation of cigarettes was never the issue here and I never condoned or defended taxing the hell out of anything.
    My criticism of the tax isssue is because it is so deparate to say that only the wealthy will be able afford and enjoy smoking.

    David R. Remer: And logic dictates to me that this principle is flawed in the extreme!
    No. Sadly, as clearly demonstrated above, the flawed logic is all yours.

    Unless I have totally misjudged you, then you know I’m right.

    You are wrong about smoking not creating higher medical expenses.
    You are wrong about the twisting tax issue, since I already said taxing the hell out anything was unjust and possibly unconstitional.
    You are wrong in saying people will die from something anyway, while ignoring the increased societal costs due to chronic diseases not only to smokers to the non-smokers around them.
    You are wrong in saying people will only substitute over-eating and drinking if they stop smoking (since it is most certainly not true in all cases), and it is certainly not a good reason to not try.

    Can you admit you are wrong?
    Or do you want to dig that hole deeper?
    Do you want to see more statistics?
    The same thing goes for other preventable diseases and bad habits (e.g. alcoholism, obesity, drug addiction, etc., etc., etc.).

    Also, no one is saying you can’t smoke.
    That’s your right.
    But if you try to say it doesn’t lead to more healthcare costs, write stuff like “Obesity and diabetes will become the smoker’s new disease”, invent disputes on taxes where none existed, and then try to demonize anyone who disagrees, then that hole you’re diggin’ is just going to get deeper and deeper.

    And if I’ve been pissin’ you off lately, and it possibly leads you to stop smokin’ , then it will be worth it.
    I know it’s hard to quit, but think about your children and other people in your home.
    Do it for them if for no other reason.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 29, 2009 7:01 PM
    Comment #279150

    D.a.n My Father would still be here today if not for that unnecessary medical procedure That cost $400,000 and I’m not sure if the first one was warranted, I understand smoking is BAD and very Addictive.Their finding out that many of those very agressive heart surgries can be Substituted and treated with the right meds and stents I believe cracking open a 80 year old for a bypass is very agressive but it was $400,000.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 29, 2009 7:26 PM
    Comment #279163

    Rodney Brown, I’m sorry about your father.

    There is no doubt that some nefarious motives have endangered people too, as evidenced by the 195,000 avoidable deaths caused by medical mistakes and adverse drug reactions.

    Yes, I know it’s VERY hard to quit.
    I quit in 1992 (cold turkey), and never picked up another one because I knew I’d get hooked again.

    However, if you can get through the first 2 weeks, it’s not so bad after that. And quitting smoking isn’t fatal (not that I’ve ever heard anyway).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 29, 2009 9:52 PM
    Comment #279164

    Thank you d.a.n. I quit in 1990 and stayed tobacco free until 2004 Then the whole world came crashing in though it seemed at the time I smoke about half a pack a day down from a pack since I’ve been here in NY and this spring summer I’ll quit for good Again.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 29, 2009 10:04 PM
    Comment #279243

    d.a.n, well, the news channels are covering the overwhelming negative response from smokers and the main message appears to be one of class discrimination.

    I suspect if the Government targeted whatever vice or satisfying behavior you still retain, for taxation in order to force ONLY the non wealthier people to stop it, your comments on such taxation would sound just like smoker’s comments in the news today.

    Again, I challenge you to produce ANY evidence that Medicare Non-Smokers by the time of death have cost the Medicare system any more than NON-Smoker’s have. Without that evidence, your insistence Smoker’s cost Medicare more, is illogical, counter-intuitive, and merely an individual’s opinion. Since Non-Smokers on Medicare will receive hospitalization and medical treatments and medications for whatever it is they will die from as well. Logically, there are no savings to be had by reducing the numbers of smokers because of THIS FACT that Non-Smokers will be treated for whatever kills them as Medicare recipients.

    In fact, one can make the logical argument that if smoker’s die earlier, they will cost Medicare even Less than non-smokers, dying before they become eligible for Medicare, OR, dying from one smoker’s malady, as opposed to a non-smoker, who will statistically live longer than a smoker, and therefore, receive more years of Medicare treatment than a smoker.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at March 30, 2009 4:29 PM
    Comment #279273
    David R. Remer wrote: d.a.n, well, the news channels are covering the overwhelming negative response from smokers and the main message appears to be one of class discrimination.
    That’s not surprising. However, I don’t support or condone taxing the hell out of anything, including cigarettes.
    David R. Remer wrote: I suspect if the Government targeted whatever vice or satisfying behavior you still retain, for taxation in order to force ONLY the non wealthier people to stop it, …
    I doubt politicians give a damn whether the smokers are wealthy or poor.
    David R. Remer wrote: … your comments on such taxation would sound just like smoker’s comments in the news today.
    You have, and continue to mischaracterize my position on taxes.

    You incorrectly assume I support the high taxation of tobacco merely because I ridiculed your rationalization that higher taxes will make smoking more difficult to afford for the less wealthy. While all sales taxes are regressive, do you not see how ridiculous that is? Any way, I don’t like any sales taxes, because they are regressive. However, our government feels that it has the right to tax some things more or less, and that is a problem in itself. As a result, government can control consumption (via aggressive taxation), and rest assured addiction will maintain steady tax revenues. Cha Ching! The next thing you know, the federal government will also be heavily taxing toilet paper and helping us all wipe our own butts too.

    Again, I never supported or condoned taxing the hell out of cigarettes (or anything), and even wrote that many times above that it is not fair (and possibly unconstitutional).
    So what could be the reason for belaboring the tax issue?

    But here’s what I would do if the government chooses to tax the hell out of anything I buy:

    • I’ll stop buying it. And if it is something I can’t do without it, or can’t easily make or grow myself (e.g. a medication called levothyroxine for my hypothyroidism; now costs $10 for a 90 day supply, but used to cost a lot more before a generic was available), then I will buy it from Canada or some where else. And I would even consider buying it on the black market too, provided it is safe.
      Any way, again, I don’t think the government should be taxing the hell out of tobacco products.

    David R. Remer wrote: Again, I challenge you to produce ANY evidence that Medicare Non-Smokers by the time of death have cost the Medicare system any more than NON-Smoker’s have.
    I did provide evidence, and will do it again in BOTH very simple and detailed terms (see PROOF and links to reports below).

    But if you simply continue to choose to ignore the evidence and logic, then repeting it won’t help.
    Have you ever seen a PROOF (such as a mathematical proof)?
    Any way, here’s all the proof that is needed.

    • THEOREM: Overall (on average), smokers cause higher medical and Medicare costs than non-smokers.
      • PROOF:
        • FACT # 1: Smokers have more chronic, life-long illness and disease (on average; numerous studies prove this fact). In addition, since the illnesses are chronic, the final illness that results in death is not the only cost to consider. Costs due to chronic illness prior to the final illness increase total medical costs.
        • FACT # 2: While everyone eventually dies, and smokers die earlier, smokers have more chronic, long-term illness, and smoking exacerbates other diseases, which results in more medical costs (regardless of age).
        • FACT # 3: Since smokers have more illness, they cause more medical expenses.
        • FACT # 4: Enough smokers still reach Medicare eligibility age, because smokers live only 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers. About 75% of smokers, versus 85% of non-smokers reach age 65. Also, a small percentage of people who are smokers are eligible to receive Medicare prior to age 65.
        • THEREFORE: Overall (on average), smokers cause higher medical and Medicare costs than non-smokers.

    The only way that PROOF above can not be true is only IF:

  • (1) smoking is actually not harmful, or makes a person healthier (That is most likely impossible).

  • (2) and/or enough smokers die early before they cause Medicare costs to exceed the costs of non-smokers (not likely, since smokers live 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers, and the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 75 years for men and 80 years for women; well beyond the current Medicare/Social Security eligibility age of 65).

  • It’s not that complicated.

    Smokers are not dying in large enough numbers prior to (or soon after) age 65 to support the EARLY DEATH BENEFIT ARGUMENT for Medicare (not when smokers live only 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non smokers).
    There are reams of studies and evidence (see below and above) showing that smokers have more chronic illness which causes more medical costs (both before and after the Medicare eligibility age), and smokers live only 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers (well beyond age 65).

    If you have data showing the opposite, I’d like to see it?
    If such data existed, I’d think some smokers would be all over it like stink on a skunk?

    If you need more proof, then see the following (or google: smoking higher medicare costs):

    • www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1360912
      : The result that smokers cost less than nonsmokers is based on a social analytic perspective that derives almost entirely from smokers dying younger and more quickly than non-smokers (Leu and Schaub 1983; Barendregt, Bonneux, and van der Maas 1997). Studies conducted on a cross-sectional basis for specific market segments show that smoking does impose an economic burden on the health care system (Miller et al. 1998; Bartlett et al. 1994; Pronk et al. 1999; Zhang et al. 1999).

    • www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0036.pdf (page 1)
      : IMMORALITY AND INACCURACY OF THE DEATH BENEFIT ARGUMENT - THE DEATH BENEFIT ARGUMENT
        The federal and state governments should not invest in new efforts to reduce smoking and other tobacco use because it is cheaper to let people die from smoking and other tobacco use than to pay the new costs caused by more people living longer because they quit using tobacco or never start.
      Besides being factually inaccurate, this kind of ghoulish cost-benefit analysis is immoral, meanspirited, and unjustifiable. The death benefit argument acknowledges and relies on two important facts: that tobacco use kills and that tobacco prevention efforts save lives. But it embraces the many unnecessary, premature deaths from tobacco use, and fails to give any value to the lives that new investments in tobacco prevention would save or the suffering it would reduce.

    • www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0036.pdf (bottom of page 2)
      : While the basic death benefit argument (and the opposing analysis presented here) focuses on overall public and private tobacco-caused costs and savings, it is important to note that the reductions in nonhealthcare public costs from smokers dying earlier are disproportionately accrued by the federal government, which pays for Social Security benefits. From a purely state government perspective, the death benefits argument is irrelevant because the states’ gross savings from smokers’ earlier deaths are relatively minor, if not trivial, compared to their enormous smoking-caused costs. {And with more recent data based on more recent and skyrocketing healthcare costs, there is most likely no cost savings}.

    • berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/98legacy/03_09_98a.html
      : Smoking-related Medicaid costs amount to $12.9 billion per year (as of year 1998), or $322 billion in 25 years without inflation, the economists discovered. This does not include the financial impact of cigarette smoking on Medicare or private insurance companies, they said.

    • www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/tobacco.pdf (page 4)
      : Public funding — primarily Medicare and Medicaid — paid over 40% of those costs, or more than $20 billion. Of course, if smoking was eliminated tomorrow, the resulting savings would be partially offset by the extra medical expenses that would arise because people will live longer as a result (on average, nonsmokers live 1.6-to-3.9 years longer than those who have never smoked). Taking this into account, the net cost of smoking is roughly $45 billion per year.

    • www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/tobacco.pdf (page 4)
      : The Medical Costs to Current Smokers: The future medical costs of a young person taking up smoking today can be quite large — about $13,700 in today’s dollars over the course of a lifetime. Because women live longer than men on average, the extra medical costs that will arise from their smoking differ by gender. A young man who starts smoking can expect to generate as much as $12,700 in excess medical costs over the course of his life; if he smokes more than a pack a day he may incur up to $19,000 in extra medical expenses over his lifetime. For a young woman, smoking will increase her lifetime medical bills by $14,800, and if she smokes more than a pack per day this figure rises to $25,800.

    • www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/tobacco.pdf (page 9)
      : Several studies have also shown that exposure to second hand smoke also
      imposes a serious health threat to infants, children and adults.25 Each year, exposure to second hand smoke may cause between 150,000 and 300,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia in infants and young children up to 18 months. Between 7,500 and 15,000 of these lower respiratory tract infections result in hospitalization.26 Second hand smoking also increases the prevalence of asthma in children,27 and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

    • www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Smoking_Costs_US_157_Billion_Each_Year.asp
      : Smoking Costs US $157 Billion Each Year

    • carefirst.staywellsolutionsonline.com/RelatedItems/1,4167
      : Because of their increased health problems, smokers go to the doctor more often. They need more extensive medical tests and treatments, have more surgeries, spend more time in the hospital, and take more medications than nonsmokers. Even with health insurance, smokers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in deductibles and out-of-pocket health care costs per year than nonsmokers. In fact, one study on the costs of smoking calculates that it costs a 24-year-old $86,000 to $183,000 over a lifetime, in addition to the cost of cigarettes, because of higher medical costs and other factors.

    • seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Medicare/4-12-30StopSmoking.htm
      : The coverage decision involves Medicare beneficiaries who have an illness caused or complicated by smoking, including heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, lung disease, weak bones, blood clots, and cataracts — the diseases that account for the bulk of Medicare spending today.

    • www.alliedquotes.com/Resources/Smoking-and-Health-Insurance.html
      : According to the article, “CDC figures assert that smokers cost the economy nearly $94 billion yearly in lost productivity. An additional $89 billion is estimated spent on public and private healthcare combined.” That’s a total of $183 billion dollars spent by all Americans, in order to pay for the ones who can’t or won’t quit smoking. On average, American households spend around $600 a year in extra taxes to deal with the health care issues of smokers.

    • news.bio-medicine.org/medicine-news-2/Cigarette-smoking-cost-Medicare-program—2420-5-billion-in-1997—according-to-UCSF-researchers-10290-2/
      : Cigarette smoking cost Medicare program $20.5 billion in 1997, according to UCSF researchers.

    • www.google.com/search?q=smoking+high+medicare+cost&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADBF&start=10&sa=N
      : MEDICAID AND MEDICARE COSTS & SAVINGS FROM COVERING TOBACCO CESSATION… (see summary tables of estimated costs & savings for Medicare and Medicaid from smokers that stop smoking)

    • www.jci.org/articles/view/26421/version/1
      : The Price of Smoking

    • www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2882
      : Smokers Already Are Paying a High Cost for Their Habit

    • www.associatedcontent.com/article/463214/smokers_could_save_medicaid_system.html
      : Smokers Could Save Medicaid System Around $10 Billion

    • www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0327.pdf
      : HEALTH COSTS OF SMOKERS vs. FORMER SMOKERS vs. NON-SMOKERS AND RELATED SAVINGS FROM QUITTING

    David R. Remer wrote: Without that evidence, your insistence Smoker’s cost Medicare more, is illogical, counter-intuitive, and merely an individual’s opinion.
    See the evidence above.
    David R. Remer wrote: Since Non-Smokers on Medicare will receive hospitalization and medical treatments and medications for whatever it is they will die from as well.
    That does not explain away the increased chronic illness and medical costs for smokers (before and after Medicare eligibility age). You are only considering the final illness as if there was no prior chronic illness. Ignoring the increased life-long chronic illnesses of smokers is a major flaw in your logic, and I would think you could understand that. But as wikipedia wisely pointed out …
      During the early stages, smoking provides pleasurable sensations and thus serves as a source of positive reinforcement. After an individual has smoked for many years, the avoidance of withdrawal symptoms and negative reinforcement become the key motivations. Because they are engaging in an activity that has negative effects on health, people who smoke tend to rationalize their behavior and develop convincing, logical reasons which accepts the practice.
    You’re [Your commnets are] usually fairly logical about most things, but not about this, and the reason is fairly obvious.
    David R. Remer wrote: Logically, there are no savings to be had by reducing the numbers of smokers because of THIS FACT that Non-Smokers will be treated for whatever kills them as Medicare recipients.
    Again, the issue is not the final illness resulting in death.

    The issue is the chronic illness and costs prior to the final illness, because smokers have more illness.
    And that does not even include the other direct and indirect costs (e.g. fires, missed work days, decreased productivity, second-hand smoke, etc., etc., etc.).
    That is where the increased medical costs arise (before and after the Medicare eligibility age).
    That’s the major problem with smoking.
    It doesn’t kill you fast; it does it slowly (and costly), and it exacerbates other diseases.

    David R. Remer wrote: In fact, one can make the logical argument that if smoker’s die earlier, they will cost Medicare even Less than non-smokers, dying before they become eligible for Medicare, OR, dying from one smoker’s malady, as opposed to a non-smoker, who will statistically live longer than a smoker, and therefore, receive more years of Medicare treatment than a smoker.
    Not true, because non-smokers have fewer chronic, long-term illnesses.

    You don’t need a side-by-side comparison (even though there are a couple in those article in those links above).
    The simple fact that smokers have more chronic illness and medical costs, and still live far beyond the Medicare eligibility age, is all the proof that is needed. Simple logic can suffice without side-by-side comparisons.

    And consider this.
    If smoking doesn’t create more chronic illness and medical costs, then why do medical insurance (not life insurance) companies avoid insuring smokers?
    That alone speaks volumes.

    Again, I’m not saying people can’t smoke, and I’m not saying excessive taxation is fair either.
    But if you try to say it doesn’t lead to more healthcare costs (including Medicare), write rationalizations like “Obesity and diabetes will become the smoker’s new disease”, and invent disputes on taxes where no dispute existed, then that hole is just gonna get deeper and deeper.
    So, do you have any proof that smokers do not cause higher healthcare and/or Medicare costs than non-smokers?
    Let’s entertain the possibility that smokers don’t cause more Medicare costs (which would require a lot of smokers dying before or not long after age 65).
    Is that a good reason to continue smoking, or is that merely another rationalization?
    And what about the other numerous direct and indirect costs for all of the years prior to age 65, fires, diseases caused to non-smokers caused second-hand smoke, etc.?

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at March 31, 2009 12:18 AM
    Comment #279295

    “”2002 as cigarette tax hikes encouraged smuggling from out of state and through #######. The traffic is part of a nationwide boom in smuggled cigarettes, but the trade has reached a peak in New ##### In 2007, one in three cigarettes sold in New ##### was channeled un#ta##xe#d”“. That’s in 2007!!! My point is Proven people find other avenues And will always continue, And it’s all About the TAX REVENUE Because this State is so far in the Hole.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 31, 2009 9:30 AM
    Comment #279298

    US federal agency which administers Medicare .

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 31, 2009 10:10 AM
    Comment #279310

    Rodney,

    In those states that raised taxes on tobacco products, and lost tax revenues due to smuggling…how much less tax did they take in after the losses were accounted for? If they gained in over-all revenues even after the smuggler losses, it would constitute a net gain for having added the tax…I’m not defending the special taxation, but I don’t see the downside if increased revenue is the goal.

    Posted by: Marysdude at March 31, 2009 1:02 PM
    Comment #279328

    I can’t find those numbers MD, As much as I’d like to see everyone not smoke I’d say 15-20 percent will always smoke, Look At Pot It’s not legal and a certain segment will always smoke it I think they’ve hit the threshold and the increase’s do nothing more than provide a Catch 22 IMHO.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 31, 2009 5:00 PM
    Comment #279329

    You are probably right…

    I smoked for about 33 years (quit in Nov ‘81), but up until the damned things got so expensive i couldn’t afford them, I told myself the lie about how much I enjoyed smoking…ha! How could I have enjoyed burning my throat and tongue, getting ash all over my clothing and burning holes in my upholstery.

    Posted by: Marysdude at March 31, 2009 5:09 PM
    Comment #279407

    You (Marysdude) were born in 1930?

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 1, 2009 7:58 PM
    Comment #279502

    Marysdude, the cost of enforcing the taxation and fighting the black market in cheap non-taxed cigs, will consume a portion of the increased revenues. Then add the cost of incarcerating those convicted of illegally trafficking in nicotine, and the harder to measure social costs of expanding an already immense underground economy, and the downsides begin to add up to more than just incidental costs and unintended consequences.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2009 10:14 AM
    Comment #279504

    d.a.n, where are the links and or titles to your sources for your data? Once again, your comment is full of words and unsourced so called, data, that suits your argument. But your so called, data, lack scientific verifiable empirical sources, so far, to make your case.

    Provide links to your data sources, and perhaps, your comments can persuade. Otherwise, they stand as idle assertions under a pretense of being in command of information without providing any verifiability for that information.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at April 3, 2009 10:30 AM
    Comment #279623

    What? You mean these 18 links listed below?

    Did you read the specific excerpts below and the linked articles.
    See the bolded sentences below.
    Several challenge the myth that smokers cost Medicare less because too many smokers die younger.
    And those studies also fail to account for much higher medical costs today than 10 years ago.
    And those studies also fail to account for rising longevity for both smokers and non-smokers, while the eligibility age (65) of Medicare has not changed.
    And those studies also fail to account for many smokers under age 65 who are eligible for Medicare benefits.

    See the following. Read it carefully. It refutes the idea that enough smokers die soon enough to result in less Medicare costs than non-smokers. And some of these articles do not even account for much higher medical costs today than 10 years ago.

    There is no doubt at all that smokers have more chronic illness and medical costs throughout their lifetime.

    If you need more proof, then see the following (or google: smoking higher medicare costs):

    • www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1360912
      : The result that smokers cost less than nonsmokers is based on a social analytic perspective that derives almost entirely from smokers dying younger and more quickly than non-smokers (Leu and Schaub 1983; Barendregt, Bonneux, and van der Maas 1997). Studies conducted on a cross-sectional basis for specific market segments show that smoking does impose an economic burden on the health care system (Miller et al. 1998; Bartlett et al. 1994; Pronk et al. 1999; Zhang et al. 1999).

    • www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0036.pdf (page 1)
      : IMMORALITY AND INACCURACY OF THE DEATH BENEFIT ARGUMENT - THE DEATH BENEFIT ARGUMENT
        The federal and state governments should not invest in new efforts to reduce smoking and other tobacco use because it is cheaper to let people die from smoking and other tobacco use than to pay the new costs caused by more people living longer because they quit using tobacco or never start.
      Besides being factually inaccurate, this kind of ghoulish cost-benefit analysis is immoral, meanspirited, and unjustifiable. The death benefit argument acknowledges and relies on two important facts: that tobacco use kills and that tobacco prevention efforts save lives. But it embraces the many unnecessary, premature deaths from tobacco use, and fails to give any value to the lives that new investments in tobacco prevention would save or the suffering it would reduce.

    • www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0036.pdf (bottom of page 2)
      : While the basic death benefit argument (and the opposing analysis presented here) focuses on overall public and private tobacco-caused costs and savings, it is important to note that the reductions in nonhealthcare public costs from smokers dying earlier are disproportionately accrued by the federal government, which pays for Social Security benefits. From a purely state government perspective, the death benefits argument is irrelevant because the states’ gross savings from smokers’ earlier deaths are relatively minor, if not trivial, compared to their enormous smoking-caused costs. {And with more recent data based on more recent and skyrocketing healthcare costs, there is most likely no cost savings}.

    • berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/98legacy/03_09_98a.html
      : Smoking-related Medicaid costs amount to $12.9 billion per year (as of year 1998), or $322 billion in 25 years without inflation, the economists discovered. This does not include the financial impact of cigarette smoking on Medicare or private insurance companies, they said.

    • www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/tobacco.pdf (page 4)
      : Public funding — primarily Medicare and Medicaid — paid over 40% of those costs, or more than $20 billion. Of course, if smoking was eliminated tomorrow, the resulting savings would be partially offset by the extra medical expenses that would arise because people will live longer as a result (on average, nonsmokers live 1.6-to-3.9 years longer than those who have never smoked). Taking this into account, the net cost of smoking is roughly $45 billion per year.

    • www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/tobacco.pdf (page 4)
      : The Medical Costs to Current Smokers: The future medical costs of a young person taking up smoking today can be quite large — about $13,700 in today’s dollars over the course of a lifetime. Because women live longer than men on average, the extra medical costs that will arise from their smoking differ by gender. A young man who starts smoking can expect to generate as much as $12,700 in excess medical costs over the course of his life; if he smokes more than a pack a day he may incur up to $19,000 in extra medical expenses over his lifetime. For a young woman, smoking will increase her lifetime medical bills by $14,800, and if she smokes more than a pack per day this figure rises to $25,800.

    • www.treas.gov/press/releases/reports/tobacco.pdf (page 9)
      : Several studies have also shown that exposure to second hand smoke also
      imposes a serious health threat to infants, children and adults.25 Each year, exposure to second hand smoke may cause between 150,000 and 300,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia in infants and young children up to 18 months. Between 7,500 and 15,000 of these lower respiratory tract infections result in hospitalization.26 Second hand smoking also increases the prevalence of asthma in children,27 and increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

    • www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Smoking_Costs_US_157_Billion_Each_Year.asp
      : Smoking Costs US $157 Billion Each Year

    • carefirst.staywellsolutionsonline.com/RelatedItems/1,4167
      : Because of their increased health problems, smokers go to the doctor more often. They need more extensive medical tests and treatments, have more surgeries, spend more time in the hospital, and take more medications than nonsmokers. Even with health insurance, smokers spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more in deductibles and out-of-pocket health care costs per year than nonsmokers. In fact, one study on the costs of smoking calculates that it costs a 24-year-old $86,000 to $183,000 over a lifetime, in addition to the cost of cigarettes, because of higher medical costs and other factors.

    • seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Medicare/4-12-30StopSmoking.htm
      : The coverage decision involves Medicare beneficiaries who have an illness caused or complicated by smoking, including heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, lung disease, weak bones, blood clots, and cataracts — the diseases that account for the bulk of Medicare spending today.

    • www.alliedquotes.com/Resources/Smoking-and-Health-Insurance.html
      : According to the article, “CDC figures assert that smokers cost the economy nearly $94 billion yearly in lost productivity. An additional $89 billion is estimated spent on public and private healthcare combined.” That’s a total of $183 billion dollars spent by all Americans, in order to pay for the ones who can’t or won’t quit smoking. On average, American households spend around $600 a year in extra taxes to deal with the health care issues of smokers.

    • news.bio-medicine.org/medicine-news-2/Cigarette-smoking-cost-Medicare-program—2420-5-billion-in-1997—according-to-UCSF-researchers-10290-2/
      : Cigarette smoking cost Medicare program $20.5 billion in 1997, according to UCSF researchers.

    • www.google.com/search?q=smoking+high+medicare+cost&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7ADBF&start=10&sa=N
      : MEDICAID AND MEDICARE COSTS & SAVINGS FROM COVERING TOBACCO CESSATION… (see summary tables of estimated costs & savings for Medicare and Medicaid from smokers that stop smoking)

    • www.jci.org/articles/view/26421/version/1
      : The Price of Smoking

    • www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=2882
      : Smokers Already Are Paying a High Cost for Their Habit

    • www.associatedcontent.com/article/463214/smokers_could_save_medicaid_system.html
      : Smokers Could Save Medicaid System Around $10 Billion

    • www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0327.pdf
      : HEALTH COSTS OF SMOKERS vs. FORMER SMOKERS vs. NON-SMOKERS AND RELATED SAVINGS FROM QUITTING

    Or, perhaps you could help?
    If you are so certain that smokers don’t cost Medicare more than non-smokers, then perhaps you have some evidence to support that claim?
    The articles above support my argument that smokers (on average) lead to higher Medicare costs than non-smokers.
    A few article above state the very thing.
    One older artticle states the any savings due to smokers dying earlier is miniscule.
    And now that medical costs today are much more expensive, Medicare costs for smokers is most likely higher than non-smokers.
    Especially since smokers (on average) only live 1.6-to-3.9 years less (well beyond the age (65) of Medicare eligibility).

    • THEOREM: Overall (on average), smokers cause higher medical and Medicare costs than non-smokers.

      • PROOF:

        • FACT # 1: Smokers have more chronic, life-long illness and disease (on average; numerous studies prove this fact). In addition, since the illnesses are chronic, the final illness that results in death is not the only cost to consider. Costs due to chronic illness prior to the final illness increase total medical costs.

        • FACT # 2: While everyone eventually dies, and smokers die earlier, smokers have more chronic, long-term illness, and smoking exacerbates other diseases, which results in more medical costs (regardless of age).

        • FACT # 3: Since smokers have more illness, they cause more medical expenses.

        • FACT # 4: Enough smokers still reach Medicare eligibility age, because smokers live only 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers. About 75% of smokers, versus 85% of non-smokers reach age 65. Also, a small percentage of people who are smokers are eligible to receive Medicare prior to age 65.

        • THEREFORE: Overall (on average), smokers cause higher medical and Medicare costs than non-smokers.

    The only way that PROOF above can not be true is only IF:

  • (1) smoking is actually not harmful, or makes a person healthier (That is most likely impossible).

  • (2) and/or enough smokers die early before they cause Medicare costs to exceed the costs of non-smokers (not likely, since smokers live 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers, and the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 75 years for men and 80 years for women; well beyond the current Medicare/Social Security eligibility age of 65).

  • It’s not that complicated.

    Smokers are not dying in large enough numbers prior to (or soon after) age 65 to support the EARLY DEATH BENEFIT ARGUMENT for Medicare (not when smokers live only 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non smokers).
    There are reams of studies and evidence (see below and above) showing that smokers have more chronic illness which causes more medical costs (both before and after the Medicare eligibility age), and smokers live only 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers (well beyond age 65).

    Again, if you have data showing the opposite, I’d like to see it?
    If such data existed, I’d think some smokers would be all over it like stink on a skunk?
    That would most certainly settle this debate, eh?
    If you have some credible data supporting the opposite conclusion from those articles above (which say Medicare costs are higher for smokers than non-smokers), then I will be the first to admit I am wrong.
    Personally, I don’t think such evidence exists.
    The evidence provided above is substantial, and I also searched for articles to the contrary and only found an old book that the claim (before medical costs skyrocketed the last decade).
    While Medicare costs may have been less for smokers (due to early death) may have been true 10+ years ago, I don’t see how it could be true today with such high medical costs today, smokers only living 1.6-to-3.9 years less than non-smokers (on average), and increased longevity for everyone (both smokers and non-smokers).

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally beco

    Posted by: d.a.n at April 5, 2009 8:50 PM
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