In a May 5 commentary, Dr. John A. Ambrose proposes to tax tobacco out of existence.
Recent research by the Rand Corporation has found that obesity is linked to higher rates of chronic conditions than smoking, drinking or poverty. By following the doctor’s reasoning, the cure for obesity is to tax food 250%. Do the same with alcohol, tax it out of existence.
Another study found that smokers die 10 years before nonsmokers. The cost of taking care of a smoker from age 20 on is $326,000. For skinny non-smokers, it is $417,000. They live longer and cost more to the health system. I don’t think old, skinny people are being real productive in a nursing home. Since smokers are taxed so heavily already, they basically pay for their health care, where obese people cost society way more, let alone the old non-smokers.
A recent report by the Institute of Medicine estimated that $750 billion, about 30% of all health spending in 2009 was wasted on unnecessary medical services. How do we solve this problem? If we follow the doctor’s logic of taxing smokers, more we should therefore put a major tax on doctors.