Cigarettes Should Be $30 Per Pack

Is there anyone left in the world that doesn't know cigarettes are bad for you?  Just in case: A quick perusal of the American Lung Association website gives all the necessary startling statistics.  The NIH estimates that in 2015, lung cancer-related care cost $13.4 billion.  20% of Medicare's cost for cancer is spent on lung cancer treatment.  

Cigarettes are a slow, ruthless killer.  Lung cancer is insidious, often presenting at a late stage, carrying great treatment morbidity.  The individual and societal burden is enormous.  The vast majority of lung cancers are caused by smoking, and thus are preventable.  Second hand smoke also increases risk of lung cancer dramatically, and leads to a young generation of future smokers.

Smoking is incredibly addictive and hard to quit.    Any daily smoking increases risk of lung and cardiovascular disease, but less is still better.  

So, cigarettes should be $30 per pack. 

If a pack was more expensive, society could afford less cigarettes, and promote less total smoking and eventual abstinence.  If you occasionally have a cigarette, you can still indulge.  It won't kill your bankroll.  And you can feel better knowing you are contributing to national welfare. 

Where to put all the extra cash?  A fund for treatment of lung cancer.  Medicare is bankrupt, services are lacking, additional insurance is needed for adequate elder care.  Why not help cut a chunk out of the financial burden of treating lung cancer with the monies used to cause it? 

Would love to hear your comments below.

  • American Lung Association, www.lung.org.
  • Yabroff KR, Lamont EB, Mariotto A, et al. Cost of care for elderly cancer patients in the United States. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2008;100:630–41. [PubMed]
  • Schane RE, Ling PM, Glantz SA. Health effects of light and intermittent smoking: a review. Circulation. 2010;121:1518–1522. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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