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Smokers to be paid for quitting

Discussion in 'Psychiatry' started by BabyPsychDoc, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. BabyPsychDoc

    BabyPsychDoc 2+ Year Member

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  3. michaelrack

    michaelrack All In at the wrong time Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2007
    Memphis TN
    There is fairly good evidence that contigency management, using cash or prizes as a reward for sobriety, is an effective treatment for addictions.

    However, as a taxpayer, I would rather pay (through Medicaid/Medicare) the increased healthcare costs of addicts rather than giving cash directly to them.
  4. mgdsh

    mgdsh 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    I'd personally rather they ban smoking all together. I still to this day can't think of one truly positive outcome from smoking.
  5. BabyPsychDoc

    BabyPsychDoc 2+ Year Member

    Tax money. In the UK, one pack costs over 5 pounds, and two-thirds of the price is said to be taxes. I do not think any government is going to ban smoking altogether any time soon, because firstly, one-quarter of adult population will vote them out of office and secondly, a significant source of tax revenue would be lost.
  6. mgdsh

    mgdsh 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007
    True, but the question is how much of that tax money is left over once you are to pay for all the adverse effects of smoking? It would be interesting to see what the figures are for a year and over the long term.
  7. Solideliquid

    Solideliquid Members Only 5+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2005
    Closer than ever
    Can we get paid for eating < 2500 KCAL daily?
  8. ApolloDok

    ApolloDok Carpe diem - Carpe noctem 2+ Year Member

    Jan 6, 2008
    Fort Worth, TX
    That's pretty funny...

    ...maybe it "works," but doesn't seem like an efficient use of funds to me.

    And the psychology of the situation is frustrating. Isn't that like the baby that cries in the restaurant whose mother gives him a cookie to placate him, thinking she has conditioned her child...when it's really she that is conditioned?
  9. mgdsh

    mgdsh 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2007


    Depends on your height and weight :)
  10. BabyPsychDoc

    BabyPsychDoc 2+ Year Member

    It is an interesting argument, and I would love to learn more on this topic. One way of looking at it is to assume that smokers do not live for as long as non-smokers, and therefore they would use up less of social security benefits, etc; this, taken together with tobacco tax would mean that smokers actually benefit the economy. The opposite argument is that smokers would use up all their social security entitlement (plus some... ok, plus A LOT) during their shorter lives, just because their shorter lives are also less likely to be healthy lives. I am not aware of any data supporting either side of the argument, but I have not really researched the subject. I would be shocked if the government has not already conducted studies on the topic.
  11. whopper

    whopper Former jolly good fellow Physician Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    I have researched this topic in a past thread where this issue was debated. I did another google search & came up with 3 hits that seem pretty good.

    I have seen some reports claiming it could save money because of shortened lives--meaning less social security payments. Unfortunately I cannot find any hits for it. I do though want to factor that people just don't die in a zip. There's often times several hospital visits, & several medical treatments that can extend life.

    I would be against banning tobacco altogether because I believe that would just lead to an underground economy similar to prohibition of alcohol--> it'll happen anyways but now its untaxed, unregulated & funding organized crime.

    And people may find this surprising--NYC & NJ banned the use of tobacco in restaurants & bars, and I was actually opposed to that. The big argument was an overwhelming majority of restaurants & bars backed the ban--so it ought to be made into law. My argument? If you run one of those places & wanted a ban, then ban it from your own place. Why force the places that want to keep it from having it banned? If I like vanilla, doesn't mean everyone else has to like it.

    I smoke--a cigar maybe 2x a year. I enjoy it. Funny thing was that even smoking it at that low a rate--I had a craving to smoke about 1 week after a cigar. Geez.

    Anyways, getting back to this original post, (without knowing every single detail about it) I can see problems with it. E.g. a non-smoker can pretend to be a smoker, then sign up for this program & then get free credit to buy groceries. It'll happen, especially if its being offered to people who are in the lower SES.

    I'd be for offering incentives to people to lead healthier lifestyles--but this to me seems too close to the free government cheese thing.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008

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