Should smokers be paid to quit?

6 May 2009 had the 'death warnings' printed on the back of every packet. Now, they have been replaced with graphic pictures showing us the effect smoking has on our bodies. Yet, despite all efforts made, the habit is costing many.

Just recently, I saw a man, wearing pyjamas, hooked up to a chest drain, pushing the apparatus across the hospital car park in an effort to find a secluded spot to enjoy his 'fag'. Since the 1950's, people have used the morbid joviality 'put another nail in your coffin' when offering someone a cigarette, so it is not exactly 'news' to discover that smoking is bad for you. But if the real motivation for smokers to give up isn't health, it should be cost.  Even people who buy the relatively cheap, and often illegal 'imports', know what 'mort' implies on the back of a packet.

Not only will the 'moderate' smoker (between 10 and 20 per day) save approximately £1,500 per year on buying cigarettes, but they can save as much as 55% on life assurance and 25% on health insurance. Now that it has been calculated that cigarettes account for 40% of accidental fires, it will not be long before home insurance companies follow suit.

The issue that puts many people off quitting is the high cost of items such as nicotine patches and gum. It is true that they work out cheaper then feeding a moderate smoking habit, but smokers resent paying so much money for something that is not exactly enjoyable. Non smokers may also be alarmed at the fact that nicotine replacement products are prescribed to smokers, costing them no more than a standard prescription charge. But before we protest too much, let us bear this fact in mind: last year, smoking costed the NHS 2.7 billion pounds, and in 2006/2007 the revenue from tobacco earned the government £8.1 billion in excise duty and £1.9 billion in VAT to the British Treasury, netting a profit of £7.3 billion. So smokers have certainly paid for their extra health benefits!

TOPICS:   Health


  • Mike H.
    Sounds good to me, I'll take up smoking so I can get paid to quit. What about all the people who donate organs that get used by people who smoke? If you're a current smoker and you want medical help, it's tough shit. Although, having said that, there is still no proof, that smoking causes any illness.
  • Amanda H.
    "Although, having said that, there is still no proof, that smoking causes any illness." Jade Goody had a fag (JT) and she's dead?
  • Schexy S.
    I wouldnt mind quitting if someone paid me a million pounds
  • Mike H.
    "Jade Goody had a fag (JT) and she’s dead?" The only good thing to come from cigs
  • James R.
    The current UK Police state junta regime seem to think that smokers will quit when they reach a point of tobacco taxation that makes then too expensive.
  • Trinsalto
    "But if the real motivation for smokers to give up isn’t health, it should be cost. " I've never smoked but my friends who smoke certianly seem more concern with the costs than health. Also with the billions smoking is costing the NHS, the war was costing us less than what smoking costs in the NHS. if only the government had their priorities straight!
  • Nobby
    Take the cash, and spend it on ferry ticket and cigs in France.
  • dude
    Wow what a crock of shit. So let me get this straight. Smokers net the government £7,300,000,000 in profit after the suspect costs that they incur. Im sorry, but don't you brits have any backbone? You let your government tell you what to do. This isnt about money, this is about control. If it was actually costing the government money then sure a debate should be held. I know, lets also ban drink because of a few little pricks that abuse it. Lets now put black boxes which record our speed in cars because of a few people. Lets monitor all communications because it may help save a few lives. Takes the piss.
  • Commercial B.
    [...] today, we posed the question ‘Should smokers be paid to quit?’ It’s one way of looking at the situation. Maybe the government need to come down harder on the [...]
  • Dan
    HAHAHAHA thats made my day, you idiotic smokers are giving all your money to the government!!! What fools you are, enjoying your foul tasting and smelling burning cancer sticks. what the hell is wrong with people!?

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