Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Cost of Smoking

"Smoking disease costs NHS £5bn" has been the headline repeated all over the main-stream media for the past couple of days. The report that came to this conclusion was funded by the British Heart Foundation and led by a Dr Steven Allender. Curiously, all the reports I have read state that Dr Allender is a senior researcher at the University of Oxford and that the BHF funded the report. Both of these statements are true but the one fact that is omitted* is that Dr Allender works for the BHF in the BHF funded Health Promotion Research Group. I am not suggesting anything untoward; I am just fascinated that this arrangement is not made explicit.
Anyway, the point of this diatribe is that it may cost £5bn to treat smoking related diseases but the total revenue from raised from tobacco product sales in 2007 was £9.9bn. Since I believe that people should have the freedom to choose to smoke if they so desire then I think the country comes out of it rather well and the reports of this report are remiss in not mentioning the fact that smokers more than pay for their own treatment. Incidentally, some people believe that if nobody smoked we would all live longer and cost the NHS a lot more than £5bn in treating age related diseases.

Dr Allender has a qualification I have not heard of before, to wit a Bachelor Applied Science (Human Movement) from the University of Ballarat.

* Except here

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