Originally Posted by BassDriver
I guess in the end of the day the health care costs outweigh the tax benefit the government gets.
Some years ago I did an analysis based on the reported health costs. Then I checked the tax revenue and it was much, much more. Now that smoking has reduced and the black market has built up, maybe that's change.
There's this cute gimmick where they attribute just about every other condition and death to smoking. Trouble is, people die anyway. Further, there's no taking into account the fact that a high percentage of the health budget is spent on intervention in people's last weeks of life. Everybody who doesn't die suddenly incurs this cost, whether a smoker or not.
Smoking does incur its own costs but there's a lot of false math going around.
As well, smokers die earlier than nonsmokers. Around 10 years earlier on average. Which ten years do they lose? The last 10. Nearly all the time society gets all the productive work out of smokers but pays fewer pensions than for non-smokers.
The sooner people die post-retirement, the better it is for the economy (less infrastructure costs, health burden, the person's estate flows on, no costs for seniior's cards etc). None of this is taken into account.
If governments were serious about reducing the number of cigarettes smoked they'd allow smokers to register as addicts so they could buy cigarettes singly. What makes it hard for every smoker trying to cut back (be it just a cutback or preparing to quit) is that if they crack they have to commit to a full 20 cigs (at least).
Obviously, the more stuff you put in an addict's hands, the more they will consume. I speak as a nicotine addict.
Trouble is, this would make it easier for pirate cigs to slip through the net and the govt doesn't get any tax for black market cigs. Hence the ban on singles (masquerading as preventing kids from buying them - never mind that it's illegal anyway).
Governments win brownie points for fighting smoking, but they are just grandstanding and pulling in tax $$.