It is now just under eight months since I quit smoking and although I have put on a few pounds I feel much healthier and am determined not to go back. I am delighted to see that the percentage of adult Britons who now smoke is at a modern era low of 17% and it is falling. That is a good thing in that death from smoking related illnesses tend to be ghastly and I'd wish that on no-one.
Notwithstanding that, I defend the right of a smoker to continue with his filthy habit to the hilt. What you put into your own body is your business and not that of the state be it smoke from a fag, the todger of a chap you just met at a gay bathhouse or numerous deep fried Mars bars. All come with clear health risks and it is not up to the State to say that one is morally acceptable and thus should not be discouraged with taxpayers cash while the other is not.
Health Nazis maintain that the State makes this judgement on financial grounds not moral grounds but that is patent nonsense. A 20 a day smoker "coughs up" circa £2,500 a year in taxes which will easily fund the cost from diagnosis to death of a lung cancer sufferers ,many times over. By contrast someone catching AIDS from the intake of too many unproteced todgers will cost the taxpayer and average of £400,000 from diagnosis to death with no tax benefit. The real villains are those non smoking, non drinking , safe sex folks who pay sod all "sin tax" and then die from Alzheimer's after spending eons in an old folks home.
Notwithstanding this the State, via the NHS, is now funding Stoptober but data out this week showed that the cost of this campaign is £650 per smoker quitting. The campaign always used to annoy me when I was on the weed as I do not like Nanny State telling me what or what not to do but I accept that it does help some smokers stop. But it does so at a great cost to the taxpayer.
Those who believe in the Money Tree do not stop to think of any sort of cost benefit analysis but with the NHS demanding more and more cash to pay greedy junior doctors, sorry I meant to provide hair transplant removal for transgender patients, it needs to save every cent it can.
What has really helped slash smoking is not the dead hand of the nanny State but the private sector. Sensing a demand from smokers who wanted to stop but did not have the willpower as I did to go cold Turkey, wicked capitalists have made a killing with products to help. E-cigarettes, patches, mints, sprays have all played their part in slashing smoking rates. It is the advent of these new products that has seen smoking rates really tumble not years of lecturing by the nanny state.
Yet still the State at both a national and a local authority level employs an army of folk t run campaigns getting folk to quit with Stoptober being the flagship effort. These folks should all be let go and Stoptober scrapped because they are simply far less effective in getting folks to quit than the innovation of the private sector, innovation which costs the taxpayer nothing.
The fact that fewer and fewer of us are hooked on the evil weed is bad enough news for the State Finances. We should not compound that deficit issue by wasting taxpayers' cash on campaigns that are quite simply extremely bad value for money.