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How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?

09:08 UK time, Monday, 27 September 2010

People could be given cash incentives to encourage them to give up smoking or to lose weight under proposals being considered by the health watchdog for England and Wales. Can cash incentives encourage better health choices?

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice) is considering ways to persuade people to take better care of their health, amid concern about the impact that unhealthy habits are having on the NHS.

The study examined a series of schemes, including one in Kent which pays dieters up to £425 for losing weight and another in Scotland which gives pregnant women shopping vouchers worth up to £650 for quitting smoking.

Would you be willing to lose pounds to gain pounds? Are there other ways to encourage people to take better care of their health? Would offering money as an incentive to improve health be cost-effective for the NHS or would the money be better spent elsewhere?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?

    Why don't you just leave people alone. Why the hell should money be spent on trying to clue people into something that is blatantly obvious anyway.

    If someone wants to die young, having existed on a diet of cream cakes and cola, that is their look out. Just leave them alone and leave them to get on with it.

  • Comment number 2.

    Will the money have to be paid back if people fail to stop smoking or put weight back on?

    When are we going to be responsible for ourselves again?

    I used to smoke. I managed to give up. The incentive was that within a few days I could do more before I began to run out of breathe, and I didn't smell like an ashtray.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm afraid more cash will simply boost the habit or even an incentive to trying new addictions.

  • Comment number 4.

    Nice - Now there is a Quango ripe for cutting!

  • Comment number 5.

    Certainly not by giving them cash incentives,perhaps the opposite might be the answer, charge them extra for the extra space they take up ; i.e. bus, train , plane and cinema seats resulting in discomfort for the person next to them. We also need to get it into their heads that they are not ill, they are fat, over indulgent , probably greedy and because of their inability to work effectively , lazy. Likewise with smoking, either you want to stop , and stop, or you don't want to stop. If you don't have the guts to stop then that's your problem, not ours. Why should society have to pay to indulge people who cannot look after themselves, not because they are ill, but by
    their own choice.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is there something wrong with just letting people get on with their lives.

  • Comment number 7.

    HYS - "The study examined a series of schemes, including one in Kent which pays dieters up to £425 for losing weight and another in Scotland which gives pregnant women shopping vouchers worth up to £650 for quitting the habit."

    !!! Perhaps I READ this wrong, but it sounds like a £650 voucher for giving up the 'habit' of pregnancy...

    Well at least it seems the UK IS dealing with over-population then ???

  • Comment number 8.

    I work in health and safety and have to give all new employees an induction including our no-smoking policy.

    In two years we have not recruited one single smoker. Only two out of fifty smoke. Admitedly we are a high tech engineering firm and you could argue that we recruit people of higher intelligence and motivation.

    I have worked for a charity helping young people back into work, and almost all of the young smoked.

    I do not think financial incentives will work, they will almost certainly be taken up, but I do not expect them to make any difference.

    I would stick to the tried and tested methods of making people stop, raise tax a great deal higher than they are and more restrictions on where you are allowed to smoke.

    And before any smokers start moaning about their 'rights' remember they do not have rights, they have an addiction.


  • Comment number 9.

    Well the recession will help, the McDonalds in our high street has just closed!



  • Comment number 10.

    No, that will not work! If given money, they will spend it on fags & food, they will then smoke more & eat more.

    The best thing would be for vouchers to join a gym & if they don't go 4 times in 2 weeks, take if of them & give it to someone else who REALLY want to lose weight!

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Well, I dont Think just anyone Can Be A Good Encourager Not Everyone Has The Right instinct , I Think I've A Very Strong humanitarian Instinct ,Because I love Encouraging Human So, There is Ways To Encourage The People Such As ,Appreciation, Thanking, Attraction,and etc

    I'd Like To Offer My Self As To Give an Encouragment My Brother

    Thanks,

    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 13.

    I get rather concerned about some people who make these suggestions! So how do you think it’s going to work? I loose weight I get cash… so do I visit the doctor who will monitor my weight and for every lb I get a £10. It would cost more money to set up and is a waste of doctor’s time. I’ll give up smoking but I’ll have a sneaky fag in my back garden but you can still pay me for giving up – In-fact, great you are paying for my cigs!

    No wonder why this country is in a mess. So called intelligent people, who are the cream of the crop, that make completely useless suggestions. Please go back to paper pushing desk where you belong.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Will the money have to be repaid if a person puts back the weight after receiving the money?

    I suppose it is cheaper for the NHS to make such a payment than to treat the persons health problems associated with obesity. I think a person should only receive a payment (say) after remaining at the correct weight for 5 years.

    Knowing the mentality of some people the money will be used to solve a pressing debt - then their weight will go up again.

  • Comment number 16.

    How about cashor other incentives for those who DO make good health choices?? I have never smoked/taken drugs/been obese but those who had would be better off than me - an incentive to take up smoking etc not a deterent.

  • Comment number 17.

    As a smoker, I wouldn't give up for cash.

    I have a fair job as does my husband. I pay more than enough in taxes and national insurance together with the extra duty on cigarettes to more than pay for any hospital care I may need in the future.

    Why are they just targeting smokers and the overweight. What about drinkers, drug takers bad drivers. All cost the NHS money.

    Let people live their lives for gods sake.

  • Comment number 18.

    People could be given cash incentives to encourage them to give up smoking or to lose weight under proposals being considered by the health watchdog for England and Wales. Can cash incentives encourage better health choices?

    Unfortunately it is highly unlikely that such cash incentives (to encourage weight loss/stop smoking/drinking/ druge etc.) are likely to work, quite the reverse is likely to be the result - especially at the lower end of the income scale.

    Unfortunately it is a fact of life that many young people try 'soft' drugs, some as we all know continue to try different drugs then get hooked - becoming addicts, this usually (not always) as a result of a phsychological trauma that has lead to a loss of self esteam and self confidence, the only way out of this is medical treatment.
    Almost the same for alcoholics.

    Another problem with this approach of a 'cash incentive' is when the cash given as an incentive dries up, what then? this in the case of drug addiction is certain to increase the crime rate.

    In the case of losing weight it should be looked at objectively and on a person to person basis, as we all know there are some medical conditions that increase body weight irrespective of the persons eating habbits.
    With Obesity (eating for the sake of it) this can be phsycological or 'comfort eating'.

    In all it is a very difficult situation to deal with, with people just wishing to lose weight, sensible eating along with a healthy diet and excersize - ie. if you cannot afford the cost of going to a gym, then walking or cycling (if you have, or can afford a cycle and of course if there is an area safe for cyclists - traffic) is really the only answer.
    But with the cost of healthy food going up and up, and salaries and benifits for the less well off getting lower and lower, along with that is their ability to pay for healthy food, which also diminishes.

  • Comment number 19.

    (!!! Perhaps I READ this wrong, but it sounds like a £650 voucher for giving up the 'habit' of pregnancy...)

    And perhaps you read it correctly, either way, it might not be such a bad idea!!! I don't think!

    What a crackpot scheme, who comes up with these daft notions? Leave us all alone.

    Knownought


  • Comment number 20.

    A way to encourage a healthy eating regime might be, to remove all taxes, on products approved by the government. By this I mean from concept to customer, not just VAT at the point of sale. Then maybe healthy foods would end up cheaper than alternatives.
    To target unhealthy eater's with money would be impossible to control.
    For years they have tried to deter smoker's and drinker's with higher taxes, without success. I'm not sure that governments care whether this method works or not, because they gain either way.

  • Comment number 21.

    How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?

    They can't.

    There are too many people like me who smoke and drink and eat what we like, regardless of the fact that we know full well it will shorten our lives.

    There's just no helping some people.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have a better idea they probably didnt think of. Let people live. Dont interfere. Leave them to enjoy life.

    Telling people the risks they are taking is good and helpful. Telling people how to live their lives is anoying and unwanted. Leave personal choice and freedom alone.

  • Comment number 23.

    The best thing for the NHS financially is to encourage people to smoke and eat as unhealthily as possible. From a national finance point of view, it would be much better if everyone worked until they were 65 then immediately died of a quick, inexpensive disease (like a massive heart attack without any previous treatment required).

    The financial argument for healthcare improvements is never a valid one, people who wish to improve their health by restricting their lifestyle must do so in order to gain personal benefit from being less ill or living longer - as long as everyone is well informed then they should be allowed to make whatever choices they want to.

    Also, doughnuts taste good.


    mmmmmm....doughnuts.

  • Comment number 24.

    Its a simple idea but if the govt have got this spare cash then organise a plan where the obese people rent an alotment grow healthy veg and sell it back to the hospitals for cash. The hospitals benefit, the councils benefit, the obese people benefit because even if they buy cream cakes with the money they will lose weight by working the land so eventually the country NHS also benefits. and it costs nothing vecause its self sustaining once set up simples eh

  • Comment number 25.

    Reading the pompous self-righteous drivel here from the Holier-Than-Though "oh look I can bully smokers and fat people, aren't I clever" is enough to drive people to reach for the fags and a bacon buttie. How people live their lives is nothing to do with anyone else. Butt out.

  • Comment number 26.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Look, I smoke okay. I dont want any financial incentive to give up. Im not ready to give up and contrary to the governments idea, I am actually responsible for my own body arent I. Some HYS'ers seem to think raising tax on fags is the answer to stop us smoking. Well I can tell you I havent bought a cigarette in this country for 10 + years. I cant they are far to expensive. The pleasure of smoking in a pub has been denied so now I hardly go out. Just leave us smokers alone. The governement dont really want to stop people smoking they rely on the tax and the early death rate as we are overpopulated !!

  • Comment number 30.

    This 'cash incentive scheme' was run as 'pilots' across the country under the last Government.

    So, unless the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence - NIHCE - are prepared to publish their audited stats on success or failure, to the public who paid for these pilot schemes .... then I have to agree with posts #01 through to #13 as read thus far.

  • Comment number 31.

    While I am generally in favour of using a carrot rather than a stick in behaviour modification, right now - with the government unable to meet core obligations to its citizens - we don't have the money for such frills.

    More use to arrange free gym membership and coaching in both healthy eating and exercise for those attempting to lose weight if you believe there is any money available for such a purpose. But I'd rather see people who are ill receiving the treatment that they need to stay alive first: it's a far higher priority.

    And to those who've suggested it, I say NO to social engineering by taxation. That's not what it's for: it is nothing but an abuse of the system and should be rejected out of hand.

  • Comment number 32.

    Can we pay paedophiles to stop raping children? It sounds distasteful, but if money is considered to be such a strong motivator that will effectively counter obsessive behaviour (such as smoking and over-eating), then why not consider a more widespread application of this policy?

  • Comment number 33.

    Please let's have a break from the endless so called news stories about obesity. There is a huge increase in the numbers, particularly young girls, who are anorexic. This condition has serious long term effects. Of course being hugely overweight is not good but those who are slightly overweight, particularly in middle age, are the heathiest. Looking at my friends and family the very thin have died younger than those a little fatter
    In third world countries and amongst the poor in the UK those who could use food efficiently were the ones who survived. When the descendants of these people come to the UK or have the means to eat more they will still have the genetic tendency to put on weight quickly. These people should not be stigmatised. Perhaps if councils reduced the entrance prices to gyms and pools more would make full use of these facilities and we could lessen the problem. Our local swimming pool is expensive parents can only afford to take their children occasionaly. Most children here are no fatter than when we were young but in this rural area they get more exercise. In inner city areas exercise for children is a real safety issue and these children should be given cheap access to exercise instead of throwing away money on incentives after it has got to the point of being a health problem

  • Comment number 34.


    I'm in two minds about this... I think it might be a great idea in poor areas, to reward the people who actually "want" to be healthier and "will" give up their vices.

    But I think the money could be better placed. If you look at helping people quit smoking, long time smokers, no expense has been spared. You can get free nicotine patches/gums/inhailers, group theropy/council, acupressure/acupuncture, all of which would cost someone £hunreds - maybe thousands if paid for themselves.

    I think we need to focus on offering direct and personalised services for each target group and substadise or absorb the cost of rehabilitation.

    So for example, for overwieght people, get them on replacement diet schemes, give them a weightwatcher style service, physcotherapy to help with confidence, and at each level of achievement, extend the service offering, give them gym membership while they are on the scheme to further help the cause.

    The key thing is rehabilitation and education, to keep Britain healthy...

  • Comment number 35.

    4. At 09:40am on 27 Sep 2010, Jim wrote:

    "Nice - Now there is a Quango ripe for cutting!"

    Recommended! The irony being that the acronym spells a word they seem to be anything but.

    My experience is generally that the more you try and force something to be bad and bully people into not doing, the more likely they are to rebel and do it anyway.

  • Comment number 36.

    There's (yet again) a lot of stupid people loose on the board.

    If we scrap NICE to "save money" who decides whether the cancer drug costing £30,000 a year works and is worth prescribing? I remember when Herceptin was first made available a load of HYS-ers demanding that all breast cancer patients get it....even though it only works on the 5% of tumours that are Her2 + and side effects include heart damage (so if the person has a history of heart problems it can kill them). If we replaced NICE with HYS we'd be giving people drugs that are incapable of treating their disease which can kill them with severe side effects and paying thousands to do so.

    Likewise... ONE DAY in intensive care costs the NHS £10,000. Someone dying of cardiac failure or lung cancer costs the NHS tens of thousands of pounds. If paying them £400 to quit smoking (money they'll spend and put back in the economy anyway...) works then its the deal of the century. Even 'minor' conditions like diabetes leach cash from the health budget like you wouldn't believe.

  • Comment number 37.

    HYS - "How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?":

    We can advise them and give tham ALL the reasons WHY they should make better health choices - but this alone - will never succeed - until:
    People have more pride & respect, both in themselves AND within Society - but over the last decade, I haven't seen much evidence of this - especially in the UK.

    Perhaps Government can help us get these 'lost' attributes back, rather applying 'sticking-plasters' on a GAPING wound?

  • Comment number 38.

    23. At 10:19am on 27 Sep 2010, Simon Hill wrote:
    The best thing for the NHS financially is to encourage people to smoke and eat as unhealthily as possible. From a national finance point of view, it would be much better if everyone worked until they were 65 then immediately died of a quick, inexpensive disease (like a massive heart attack without any previous treatment required).



    Very true... however most people don't drop dead on the spot. They linger in intensive care.

  • Comment number 39.

    17. At 10:03am on 27 Sep 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    As a smoker, I wouldn't give up for cash.

    I have a fair job as does my husband. I pay more than enough in taxes and national insurance together with the extra duty on cigarettes to more than pay for any hospital care I may need in the future.

    ######################################

    Dream on.

    One of the pro-smoking myths is that they 'pay' for the medical care they all get as a result of their addiction.

    Not so.

    Almost every smoker, after ruining their health with a lifetime of smoking, needs almost constant medical treatment in later life. The money they have paid in taxes does not cover the medical treatment that is usually much more expensive due to inflation and new (and more expensive) treatments.

    If we allowed for future increases in health care costs then smokers shoul;d have to pay an awful lot more.



  • Comment number 40.

    8. At 09:49am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:

    I work in health and safety and have to give all new employees an induction including our no-smoking policy.

    In two years we have not recruited one single smoker. Only two out of fifty smoke. Admitedly we are a high tech engineering firm and you could argue that we recruit people of higher intelligence and motivation.

    And before any smokers start moaning about their 'rights' remember they do not have rights, they have an addiction.
    _ _ _ _

    This is an awful attitude to adopt. You may dislike smoking, but to claim that those who smoke are somehow inherently less intelligent than you is staggeringly offensive. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

  • Comment number 41.

    "8. At 09:49am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:
    I would stick to the tried and tested methods of making people stop, raise tax a great deal higher than they are and more restrictions on where you are allowed to smoke.
    And before any smokers start moaning about their 'rights' remember they do not have rights, they have an addiction."

    What a truly applingly arrogant and patronising man you are John. Living proof of the majority's horror at the Health&Safety Brigade!!!

    Yes, we smokers DO have rights, like drinkers, motorcyclists, mountaineers, skydivers, and even people like you. And we more than double fund our cost to the NHS.

  • Comment number 42.

    So where do i apply for my payment in retrospect i've given up smoking and booze all without the NHS getting involved or costing the country a penny. The two EASIEST things i've ever given up however coming off the pain killer addiction caused by the NHS was a lot harder and has left me with a considerable allergy to all things pain killer, wheres my payment gor that?

    Get a grip people if smoking is effecting you or over eating is then stop and grow up take responsibility for your own actions.

  • Comment number 43.

    As long as no one can say "I didn't know it was bad for me" then the Government has done it's job.
    Leave people alone to drink, smoke, get fat if they want to. But at some point, you have to say that the NHS will not treat people who develop serious illness as a result of their self harm. We are all susceptible to accident and illness; but if you deliberately ignore the advice of your doctor, then you should not get treatment.
    Incentive enough for you?

  • Comment number 44.

    Alright England, try thr following:
    LET PEOPLE GET ON WITH THEIR LIVES!!
    If they wanna smoke themselves to cancer and drink all brain cells dead, so be it. Why give money?? Is there so much extra in the pot that you can just give it out to people? Lets face it, England has a high obesity and alcohol rate... there must be a reason behind that. Try figuring out why folks here are getting bigger or why folks are not as health conscious as there european counterparts. But giving money to lose weight..? You got to be kidding me! English people pay SO MUCH tax and work the longest hours in europe and that tax money should not be spent on rewarding obese folk if they lose weight. If you EAT yourself fat, deal with it but dont expect moeny for it! I'm a smoker myself and I wont find it acceptable to receive money for kicking the habbit. What great did I do to deserve the extra few quid?? This is too much.

  • Comment number 45.

    At 10:11am on 27 Sep 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    I have a better idea they probably didnt think of. Let people live. Dont interfere. Leave them to enjoy life.

    Telling people the risks they are taking is good and helpful. Telling people how to live their lives is anoying and unwanted. Leave personal choice and freedom alone.

    --------------------------------------

    Can one actually enjoy life in Britain anymore? We're spied on, told what to do, trampled on, reported, not to mention rotten weather....maybe that's why people smoke and eat too much as thy're so depressed!

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    How about refusing treatment for lifestyle realted conditions?
    At present diabetics get free prescriptions, not just for their insulin but for everything. Why? Sufferers of other long-term conditions don't, and as type 2 diabetes is very arguably a self-inflicted wound it is hardly fair to treat sufferers as utterly blameless and effectively reward them.
    Make the obese pay for weight loss programmes, cut the benefits of obese where applicable.

    In our soft mollycuddled society everyone is treated with kid gloves except the poor old taxpayer who is expected to underwrite all this lily livered nonsense.
    Apportion blame for a change, something long ago forgot about, and punish laziness and poor choices, good choice have their own reward.
    Tax junk food out of the range of most of the population, make the obese pay extra for travel, tax oversize clothes. Make smokers pay for health treatment.

  • Comment number 48.

    A brilliant ideas: pay people to make health choices that will help them avoid illnesses.

    1.I will pack up drinking and claim.
    2. However, drinking small amounts of alcohol is beneficial so I will claim for only drinking a little.
    3. Too much sex is harmful. I will cut down and claim.
    4. Too little sex is harmful. I will increase and claim.
    5. Overwork is harmful. I will cut down on work and claim.
    6. Not enough work is harmful. I will do a little more and claim.
    7. Obesity and anorexia are harmful. I will avoid both and double claim.
    8. Driving can be a health risk. I will move my home nearer to work, and claim.
    9. Moving home causes stress related illness. I will not move home and claim.
    10.Hospitals are said to be the sources of cross infection. I won't seek treatment if ill and claim.
    11. Over exercise is harmful, jogging is harmful. I will stay in bed and claim.
    12. Not enough exercise is harmful. I will mow the lawn and claim.
    13. Smoking is harmful. I don't smoke but if I swear that I won't start, can I claim? If not I will buy a packet of fags.

    If I had time I would extend this list to around 200 and publish it as a guidebook on how to become a millionaire in the big society.

  • Comment number 49.

    Nothing new in this idea, we've been financially supporting drug addiction for years so why not fatties? The problem with financial support or incentives is, where does it stop once these gates were opened to this form of possible cure? Maybe someone will get the idea that incentives might work for alcohol addiction also, or maybe paying smokers to stop their habit(bearing in mind that the government openly encouraged smokers both during and after WW2).

  • Comment number 50.

    22. At 10:11am on 27 Sep 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    I have a better idea they probably didnt think of. Let people live. Dont interfere. Leave them to enjoy life.

    Telling people the risks they are taking is good and helpful. Telling people how to live their lives is anoying and unwanted. Leave personal choice and freedom alone.


    That's all very well up to a point but when someones lifestyle choices impose huge costs on the rest of us, then we have a right to constrain that freedom of choice. If someones lifestyle choice to have highly visible tattoos and facial piercings means they can't get a job and so are on benefits, then surely we have to intervene? When a man has 10 (or is it 15) children by different mothers that he has no responsibility for and costs the rest of us £2.5m, then surely we have a right to intervene? When someone eats what they want and becomes obese, requiring a lifetime of medical interventions all funded by the rest of us, surely we have a right, if not a duty, to intervene?

    I don't believe paying people to make the "right" choices is the right thing to do, but we have to do something about those whose behaviour and lifestyle choices costs the rest of us a fortune over their lives.

  • Comment number 51.

    #7 Tez

    I must admit I had to do a double take too. Bad word choice BBC....and not the first time either.

    I admit I'd quite like £650 for every time I avoid pregnancy, although I dread to think what the criteria for qualification may be. I also believe, because I am fair minded, the fella involved should get his share too, after all without one what is the other?

    I also liked the NICE one by Jim at #4.

  • Comment number 52.

    Agree with post #36 @ 10:37am on 27 Sept - Peter_Sym.


    I would also defend NIHCE to remain, in spite of all it's faults - actually, I didn't know that NIHCE was a quango?

    However, reiterate my concerns in my post #30, that NIHCE should publish their stats on pilot schemes undertaken on this issue of cash incentives for 'healthy choices'? Until then, all debate will be speculative and much resentment caused without emperical evidence?

    However, there's nothing like a good row on HYS!

  • Comment number 53.

    "38. At 10:39am on 27 Sep 2010, Peter_Sym wrote:

    23. At 10:19am on 27 Sep 2010, Simon Hill wrote:
    The best thing for the NHS financially is to encourage people to smoke and eat as unhealthily as possible. From a national finance point of view, it would be much better if everyone worked until they were 65 then immediately died of a quick, inexpensive disease (like a massive heart attack without any previous treatment required).



    Very true... however most people don't drop dead on the spot. They linger in intensive care."

    But playing the long game, although their intensive care treatment is expensive, their shortened lifespan means their whole life's worth of healthcare is cheaper. There is an interesting piece of research here:

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199710093371506

    To pick out some of the conclusion:

    "Health care costs for smokers at a given age are as much as 40 percent higher than those for nonsmokers, but in a population in which no one smoked the costs would be 7 percent higher among men and 4 percent higher among women than the costs in the current mixed population of smokers and nonsmokers. If all smokers quit, health care costs would be lower at first, but after 15 years they would become higher than at present. In the long term, complete smoking cessation would produce a net increase in health care costs, but it could still be seen as economically favorable under reasonable assumptions of discount rate and evaluation period."

    So in other words, it would be cheaper for right now to stop smoking but then, when all the smoking quitters were older, it would be more expensive.

    You should give up smoking because you will live a longer, healthier life but for the government to claim financial justification for paying people to stop smoking is misleading.

  • Comment number 54.

    Giving them money is not the solution. It has to be by hard nosed persuasion. I suggest charging obese people more to fly and for smokers and drinkers just keeping upping the price. We have to make life difficult for these people in any way possible.

  • Comment number 55.

    Why should I bail out (yet again) people who have made duff choices? I don't mind helping those who have some problem not of their own making but I do object to continually bailing out those who deliberately do the obviously stupid!

    What I would far rather see is the government stepping in and doing something about the supermarkets.

    Why at this time of year is there only one type of English apple for sale in Tescos (probably the same elsewhere, but it was Tesco I was in yesterday), while there are apples from South Africa (out of season), France, New Zealand...
    Similarly for many other products.

    Worse still, why are unprocessed natural products (fruit, vegatables, meat) so VERY VERY VERY expensive compared to the local market / butchers/ farmers stall when we all know the supermarkets pay rock bottom - often below cost - prices to the producers? The producers of milk are getting around 15p a litre from the supermarkets yet we pay close to a pound? Worse still with meat, flour, cauliflowers potatoes etc. etc.
    We keep having 'enquries' that continually tell us the supermarkets are 'competative' yet if you look at the prices they are all the same, go up at the same time, by the same amount.... this is NOT coincidence, or some price move on the market - the supermarkets ARE the market. They ALL put butter up from 57p 2 years ago to 80p last year to over a pound now - ALL of them.

  • Comment number 56.

    How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?
    The usual incentives of not being ill or dying
    The tax payers should not be funding this sort of thing, people should be more responible for themselves, I thought NuLabours stupidness was over and done with.

  • Comment number 57.

    "43. At 10:50am on 27 Sep 2010, sd wrote:
    We are all susceptible to accident and illness; but if you deliberately ignore the advice of your doctor, then you should not get treatment.
    Incentive enough for you? "




    The problem with that is that very, very soon your doctor will start saying 'don't drive a car... you might be in an accident' or 'dont stand on a chair to change a lightbulb.. you might fall off. Get an electrician in'. You can argue that almost any illness carries a degree of self infliction even if its travelling by bus or tube when there's a flu epidemic (you COULD walk or take the car etc and come into less contact with carriers....)

    Over half of us will die of heart disease or cancer. While obesity is a risk factor there are plenty of thin people with cancer or cardiac problems too. Simply saying 'you are overweight therefore we will not treat you' is contrary to the whole ethos of the NHS.

    Worse (and I'm sure I'm not alone in this), I had a 36" waist (which at 6 foot tall is hardly excessive), swim a couple of kms a week and eat very healthily. At the last workplace medical I took (because of potential exposure to poisonous chemicals at work I get heavily monitored) my body fat measurement was taken and was well within normal safe limits. As ex-tank crew I am extremely heavily built across the chest and shoulders (and its kept that way by the swimming) so on a bog-standard BMI measurement I'm obese as are half the athletes at the commonwealth games. I can well imagine an NHS refusing treatment based simply on BMI without any common sense coming into it.

  • Comment number 58.

    I am appalled at the idea of paying people to give up smoking or lose weight.

    What kind of a message does that send out to people who have looked after their health, or indeed to young children? Would this not just be like saying "its OK to get fat/smoke/totally disrespect your health and wellbeing because then you'll get paid to try and stop doing those things"?

    Come on, Government, I thought we were looking for sensible cuts, not more idiotic ways to spend money on people who really couldn't care less about themselves.

  • Comment number 59.

    Losing weight or stopping smoking is a cash bonus anyway, surely?

    How much is a pack of smokes these days? Surely everyone knows that's money in pocket if you quit.

    Food is a slightly more awkward issue because much 'cheap' food is unhealthy, but for me at least, doing something about my weight means more home made food and less takeaway junk. It helps my pocket as well as my waistline.

  • Comment number 60.

    47. At 10:55am on 27 Sep 2010, fishinmad wrote:
    How about refusing treatment for lifestyle realted conditions?
    At present diabetics get free prescriptions, not just for their insulin but for everything. Why? Sufferers of other long-term conditions don't, and as type 2 diabetes is very arguably a self-inflicted wound it is hardly fair to treat sufferers as utterly blameless and effectively reward them.



    This backs up some of what I'm saying in my post #36.

    Type II diabetes is not treated with insulin. Type 1 diabetics take insulin because of an auto-immune disease in childhood. Its not 'lifestyle related' at all and they get free prescriptions because if they don't take their insulin they die in 24 hours.

    Yet you'd withdraw their treatment because you think they've induced it themselves? They ARE utterly blameless.

  • Comment number 61.

    Sticks and carrots.

    If they won't stick to carrots, use the stick on them.

    Increase taxes on tobacco dramatically (and because you are doing it for health reasons, claim exemption from the EU law which allows people to import the stuff 'for their own use'. [ha ha])

    Increase taxes on foods high in sugars, foods high in salt and 'prepared' foods (which are often high in both.)
    Use the revenues generated:
    (a) to subsidise fresh foods (Grains, fruit and vegetables) and
    (b) to help to pay for the cost of treating people for obesity and smoking-related disease.

  • Comment number 62.

    52. At 11:05am on 27 Sep 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    Agree with post #36 @ 10:37am on 27 Sept - Peter_Sym.


    I would also defend NIHCE to remain, in spite of all it's faults - actually, I didn't know that NIHCE was a quango?




    Most things are QUANGO's. Even the BBC effectively are. (if it was called the TV tax rather than the licence fee then they'd be an unelected body funded by the taxpayer and outwith direct govt control). It always amuses but depresses me (as these people have the vote) those who shout 'ban all Quangos' when that includes the Bank of England and the people in charge of the nuclear power stations!

    Incidentally NICE publishes more than Harper-Collins. Its just that few members of the public ever read what they write and just repeat tabloid headlines.

  • Comment number 63.

    43. At 10:50am on 27 Sep 2010, sd wrote:

    ... at some point, you have to say that the NHS will not treat people who develop serious illness as a result of their self harm. We are all susceptible to accident and illness; but if you deliberately ignore the advice of your doctor, then you should not get treatment.

    Where do you draw the line defining 'self-inflicted' injuries/illnesses?

    Sunbathing can (so we are told) cause skin cancer. Would anybody guilty of sunbathing be denied treatment on the NHS for skin cancer?

    HIV is usually transmitted by needle-sharing or by unprotected sex. Would anybody who contracts HIV be denied treatment on the NHS?

    Riding a horse is a potentially dangerous activity. You could fall off and break your neck. Would anybody who injures her/his self horse riding be denied treatment on the NHS?

    How about cyclists who injure themselves? (Dangerous activity, riding a bike.) - Particularly those who refuse to wear a helmet, gloves and protective clothing? (contributory negligence?) Should the public purse pay to treat those who can't be bothered to protect themselves?

  • Comment number 64.

    50. At 11:01am on 27 Sep 2010, Total Mass Retain wrote:

    That's all very well up to a point but when someones lifestyle choices impose huge costs on the rest of us, then we have a right to constrain that freedom of choice. If someones lifestyle choice to have highly visible tattoos and facial piercings means they can't get a job and so are on benefits, then surely we have to intervene? When a man has 10 (or is it 15) children by different mothers that he has no responsibility for and costs the rest of us £2.5m, then surely we have a right to intervene? When someone eats what they want and becomes obese, requiring a lifetime of medical interventions all funded by the rest of us, surely we have a right, if not a duty, to intervene?

    I don't believe paying people to make the "right" choices is the right thing to do, but we have to do something about those whose behaviour and lifestyle choices costs the rest of us a fortune over their lives.

    --------------------------------------

    I disagree that the tatoos should stop them from employment. They are being paid by the welfare system so they should be pushed to clean the streets or other community work for their payment. Also for someone to have many children is their business. But as their business they should be paying toward them, so it is for the gov to sort out their problems and deal with these people.

    I do eat whatever I want (pretty thin tho). To be honest I dont want to make it to old age where I lose control over my body, just as I dont want to live if I become paralysed from the neck down. Euthinasia should be allowed in this country as control over our own lives.

    Smokers pay much more towards taxes than the rest of us and the NHS used to rely on smoking taxes to exist. When the anti smoking campaigns kicked off the NHS had to join in but were in fact campaigning against their own funding!

    Personal choice should not be interfered with but responsibility for your own choices should be enforced. For example a smoker should be behind a healthy person in a queue for healthy organs just as I should because of my eating.

  • Comment number 65.

    I have long believed that those who are aware that they have unhealthy habits, e.g. smoking or overeating, yet carry on regardless, should actually have to pay for their own healthcare.

    I dare say it would save the NHS millions and free up room for those of us who are ill through no fault of our own.

    I think these "incentives" are insulting to those who are healthy and look after themselves. What about rewarding the people that actually care about their health?!

    For arguments sake, would you reward a criminal over a law abiding citizen? The logic is just wrong and disgusting!

    And who is going to pay for this? No doubt the tax payer? And at what cost? Will we have to pay more tax, or will we see other public services declining?

    Shocking truly shocking! What is wrong with the world? Use some common-sense and make the right long-term choices! e.g. You will have more money in your pocket if you give up smoking anyway, and if you eat less and become more active your food and electrical bills will decrease because you won't be sat infront of the box eating all day!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    40. At 10:43am on 27 Sep 2010, Richard Holman wrote:
    8. At 09:49am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:

    I work in health and safety and have to give all new employees an induction including our no-smoking policy.

    In two years we have not recruited one single smoker. Only two out of fifty smoke. Admitedly we are a high tech engineering firm and you could argue that we recruit people of higher intelligence and motivation.

    And before any smokers start moaning about their 'rights' remember they do not have rights, they have an addiction.
    _ _ _ _

    This is an awful attitude to adopt. You may dislike smoking, but to claim that those who smoke are somehow inherently less intelligent than you is staggeringly offensive. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    -----------

    Actually I re-wrote this post to eliminate as much as possible the claim that people of lower intelligence are the only people who smoke. I have encounted several highly intelligent people who smoke.

    However what I was pointing out was AN OBSERVATION. that what I have seen and come across is that smokers are more than likely to be a) young; b) unemployed and c) do not have any motivation not to smoke.

    So how can these be motivated? A bribe will not work, that is to say it will be taken up, thank you but in the long run most smokers are aware of the risks and do not care.


  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    41. At 10:45am on 27 Sep 2010, Chris mather wrote:
    "8. At 09:49am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:
    I would stick to the tried and tested methods of making people stop, raise tax a great deal higher than they are and more restrictions on where you are allowed to smoke.
    And before any smokers start moaning about their 'rights' remember they do not have rights, they have an addiction."

    What a truly applingly arrogant and patronising man you are John. Living proof of the majority's horror at the Health&Safety Brigade!!!

    Yes, we smokers DO have rights, like drinkers, motorcyclists, mountaineers, skydivers, and even people like you. And we more than double fund our cost to the NHS.

    --------------------------------------

    I have had to deal with the consequences of smokers for a long time. I have had endless complaints from people about workplace and eating areas made impossible for non-smokers to enter.

    You do not have the right to make either the workplace, or a dining area or indeed any public/working building out-of-bounds to non-smokers.

    The majority of smokers do not want to be smokers, so stop going on about 'rights'. We live in a democracy and the majority of people do not want your 'habit' anywhere near them.

    And please spare me the 'I pay enough in tax' rubbish. By the time your health is ruined and you go cap-in-hand to the NHS demanding treatment remember your contribution will have dwindled to a fraction of what you will end up costing the rest of us.



  • Comment number 69.

    Surely this is an incentive to put on weight or take up smoking? Why should the public be expected to pay out what is effectively a reward for taking bad care of yourself in the first place.

    Perhaps a reward for those who are healthy, don't smoke and eat appropriate amounts would serve as a better incentive to those who wouldn't receive it until they change their lifestyle. A tax reduction for those who don't put a strain on society's resources through poor lifestyle choices would certainly prove more popular.

    Of course there are those few who are genuinely obese because of health conditions but if they can't lose weight how is paying them going to change that? Use our tax contributions to help them rather than paying incentives.

  • Comment number 70.

    How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?

    How about evolution, survival of the fittest and all that. Education is all very well but some people can't be educated or are just too stubborn - frankly they deserve illness in their later years, trouble is we pay for their treatment.

    The government and law makers could encourage the food industry to make food healthier (unlikely - too much money involved) or maybe this is the straw that broke the back of the western world camel (along with it's addiction to oil).

    Maybe the government should pay me as thanks for eating healthily and trying to be as environmentally responsible as possible - what a crazy, mad idea!

  • Comment number 71.

    I can see the point of it, but there are things that are just a step too far, and this is one of them.
    Perhaps we should have DISincentives. So that when somebody seeks medical help for the sort of things we're talking about here, a doctor makes an assessment of how likely the case is to be due to an unhealthy lifestyle,and for anything over 50% likelihood the patient pays half the costs of treatment, with the money normally up front, before the treatment starts.
    Otherwise we might as well do nothing. We can't pay people for not having any common sense..

  • Comment number 72.

    I tried every 'cure' for smoking for 20yrs. I once went 3 months without a cigarette but started on a night out. Eventually I stopped 3 years ago using Champix which were supplied by the NHS smoking cessation program. They worked but I still miss smoking so much.
    When I pass someone smoking it still smells good to me. People can't imagine how strong the addiction to tobacco can be.
    Being patient and offering help of various kinds is the answer.
    Giving people money is silly. It is typical of some so called problem solvers, they think that throwing more and more money at it will make the problem go away.

  • Comment number 73.

    39. At 10:42am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:
    17. At 10:03am on 27 Sep 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    As a smoker, I wouldn't give up for cash.

    I have a fair job as does my husband. I pay more than enough in taxes and national insurance together with the extra duty on cigarettes to more than pay for any hospital care I may need in the future.

    ######################################

    Dream on.

    One of the pro-smoking myths is that they 'pay' for the medical care they all get as a result of their addiction.

    Not so.

    Almost every smoker, after ruining their health with a lifetime of smoking, needs almost constant medical treatment in later life. The money they have paid in taxes does not cover the medical treatment that is usually much more expensive due to inflation and new (and more expensive) treatments.

    If we allowed for future increases in health care costs then smokers shoul;d have to pay an awful lot more.
    ........................................................................
    What if, by the off-chance, I am one of those who are not adversley affected healthwise, like my grandfather who smoked for 60 years yet was fit and well before he died in an accident.

    Whose vices does my money go to pay for. The drinkers (I don't drink), bad drivers (I don't drive), junkies (I have never taken any drug other than nicotine).

    Why is it always the smokers that get targeted.

  • Comment number 74.

    I would like the BBC to try to trace back the person who came up with the idea to pay people to stop smoking or lose weight.
    Yes, give us the persons name, position and a big photo. Name and shame the idiot.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ridiculous idea. I can only hope that someone worked out the numbers and came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper in the long run than having to treat these people, but it really sends out the wrong message. People need to take more responsibility for themselves.

  • Comment number 76.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 77.

    9. At 09:50am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:

    Well the recession will help, the McDonalds in our high street has just closed!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Every cloud-----, However I have yet to meet any H&S manager who had any degree of inteligence, let alone common sense.

  • Comment number 78.

    All this talk of "the nanny state" is just knee-jerk reactionary piffle.

    It could be argued that obese people are less attractive and less likely to find a partner, so there are good reasons for adopting a healthy lifestyle.

  • Comment number 79.

    "At 10:50am on 27 Sep 2010, sd wrote:
    As long as no one can say "I didn't know it was bad for me" then the Government has done it's job.
    Leave people alone to drink, smoke, get fat if they want to. But at some point, you have to say that the NHS will not treat people who develop serious illness as a result of their self harm. We are all susceptible to accident and illness; but if you deliberately ignore the advice of your doctor, then you should not get treatment."

    Couldn't agree with you more. It's their life, let them live it. But they have to deal with the consequences.

    In all honesty, anyone in this day and age who doesn't undersatnd the risks of smoking/being obese is an idiot. Sorry, but it's true. Especially somkers when it is on the packet about the dangers!

  • Comment number 80.

    I think that this is an absolutely absurd and disgusting way to spend the public money.

    Obesity can be cured with two words - "I'm full" - this needs to be taught to them...

    I'm a 25 year old male, I have never smoked in my life, and I eat semi-healthily, but also partake in sports. Where are the incentives for me to keep doing this? Will I get money for staying fit, and not smoking and not being obese and therefore not costing the government and the general public more money because I won't be a drain on society? No I wont. I don't pay my taxes so that some obese lazy smoker can put the money in their back pocket...

    Again, an absolutely disgusting idea!

  • Comment number 81.

    The incentive should be that they pay for any related NHS treatment of they choose a bad lifestyle! Why should we, in effect, pay for these idiots to give up?

  • Comment number 82.

    "71. At 11:46am on 27 Sep 2010, deanarabin wrote:

    Perhaps we should have DISincentives. So that when somebody seeks medical help for the sort of things we're talking about here, a doctor makes an assessment of how likely the case is to be due to an unhealthy lifestyle,and for anything over 50% likelihood the patient pays half the costs of treatment, with the money normally up front, before the treatment starts."

    So, on the opinion of one GP, who almost certainly lacks most of the information he'd need to make such a decisions (like how much the person REALLY eats, drinks, smokes and excercises, never mind any underlying genetic problems... and cancer is ALWAYS in some part genetic) our 'universal health system' becomes painful death for the poor and treatment for those who can afford it.

    More to the point if we're going to be arbitarly refused treatment on whim can you explain why we should continue to pay taxes for a service that can be withdrawn at the drop of a hat? Based on the size of income tax and NI I pay a month I could easily afford full BUPA coverage.

  • Comment number 83.

    Responsible politicians would be a good start.
    The Scottish government's plans for minimum drink pricing have been defeated at Holyrood, despite a last-minute offer to save the measure.
    Lab , Lib Dem and the Tories placed party politics before public welfare.
    "DISGUSTING"

  • Comment number 84.

    This is not a good use of my money.

  • Comment number 85.

    The NHS is a Health Insurance Scheme run by the Govt. Insurance schemes run by commercial organisations ration cover both by outputs (what you can claim for) and inputs (what risk you present). People prepared to "opt out" of some entitlements, and people who present less risk as they are not overweight/don't smoke or whatever pay lower rates. We have Nationalised the process (which is good in many respects) but in so doing have removed the carrot and stick so there's no downside if people increase their self-inflicted level of risk. QED the strain on the system. It'll never be resolved while it supports a total lack of responsibility for your own actions. As ever we're terminally confused between "can't" and "can't be bothered".

  • Comment number 86.

    How can people be encouraged to make better health choices?

    EASY.

    MAKE THEM PAY FOR ASSOCIATED COSTS WHICH ARE A DIRECT RESULT OF FREEDOM OF CHOICE DECISIONS.

    If you want to excessively eat, or smoke, or drink alcohol or take drugs, fine, but PAY for it and ALSO for the detrimental health cost consequences and do NOT expect ME to pay for it.

    At the moment, health concious people are SUBSIDISING obese people, heavy drinkers, smokers and drug users.

    The NHS has turned into an IMORAL QUANGO which WASTES £BILLIONS UPON £BILLIONS of decent peoples money on SELFISH, GREEDY IGNORANT PEOPLE who expect and DEMAND that others subsidise their ignorance, stupidity and self righteous selfishness.

    PUT A STOP TO IT.

    IF YOU LIVE BY THE PIE, THEN SUFFER and DIE BY IT, your choice, NOT MINE!

  • Comment number 87.

    It makes me angry that some high paid individual comes up with such lame brain ideas as paying taxpatyers money to someone in the hope that he or she will go on a diet. I am obese. My diet is based on salads, vegetables and meat. I do not eat butter or other dairy products, chips, chocolate, biscuits, fast foods and I do not drink pops or alcohol and neither do I smoke. I can't follow a more healthy regime, so leave me alone.

  • Comment number 88.

    73. At 11:48am on 27 Sep 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    39. At 10:42am on 27 Sep 2010, JohnH wrote:
    17. At 10:03am on 27 Sep 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    As a smoker, I wouldn't give up for cash.

    I have a fair job as does my husband. I pay more than enough in taxes and national insurance together with the extra duty on cigarettes to more than pay for any hospital care I may need in the future.

    ######################################

    Dream on.

    One of the pro-smoking myths is that they 'pay' for the medical care they all get as a result of their addiction.

    Not so.

    Almost every smoker, after ruining their health with a lifetime of smoking, needs almost constant medical treatment in later life. The money they have paid in taxes does not cover the medical treatment that is usually much more expensive due to inflation and new (and more expensive) treatments.

    If we allowed for future increases in health care costs then smokers shoul;d have to pay an awful lot more.
    ........................................................................
    What if, by the off-chance, I am one of those who are not adversley affected healthwise, like my grandfather who smoked for 60 years yet was fit and well before he died in an accident.

    Whose vices does my money go to pay for. The drinkers (I don't drink), bad drivers (I don't drive), junkies (I have never taken any drug other than nicotine).

    Why is it always the smokers that get targeted.

    #######################################

    If I hear just one more 'my gran/grandad/auntie polly etc smoked for a hundered years and could jump over a five-bar gate the day before they died at 120 years old' I will lose it I really will.

    Understand this, it is more than likely that you will suffer in later life because of your smoking. It will affect your lungs, your heart, your circulation and numerous other afflictions.

    That occasionally someone can survive to old age after a lifetime of smoking is a certain statistical possibility.

    However, it is unlikely that you will achieve this. For every Aunt Polly who lived forever there are thousands who do not. One in three people who die of cancer die from lung cancer or heart failure through smoking.

    Smoking cost society a great deal, and not just money. It is a waste of resources, both financial and time. As an example, companies in the major cities are now not recruiting smokers as they are away from their work for endless 'five minute fag breaks'.

    Society has run out of patience with this vile habit.














  • Comment number 89.

    A better option would be to charge them for treatment which is necessary as a direct result of their poor life-style habits.
    If I get drunk and fall down a cliff I expect to be charged for the cost of my rescue and treatment. The fact that I don't is in my opinion, a fault with modern-day health provision.
    I pay National Insurance to treat unavoidable health problems, not to allow me to lead a wreckless and foolish life.
    Similarly, if I'm vain enough to want cosmetic surgery to improve my looks (and many say I should) lol, I should have to pay for it.
    There is too much reliance on the NHS to provide free treatment whatever the reason. It should be stopped.

  • Comment number 90.

    It might help if we had information instead of screaming opinionated drivel from marketing types who think the only way to get a message across is to show dead bodies. Its time the health lobby grew up in this country. No one listens because no one can believe any of it. We could make a start by ensuring that risk evaluation is taught in schools. The media could help by being given a standard way of expressing it - we have centigrade as a measure of temperature and we should have a standard way of expressing risk in the media - or they should shut the heck up.

  • Comment number 91.

    Why don't these do-gooders and doom merchants just mind their own business?

    Let us make our own choices.

    We all know that drinking, smoking, overeating and drug abuse damage us. So does riding powerful motorbikes. It's no good arguing that this abuse causes increased costs to society because the worst abusers will die early anyway. And what about the cost of the sports and keep fit fraternity with their early joint damage, broken bones and torn ligaments?


    If there is a situation where a health problem is best addressed by lifestyle change, fine, don't offer medication instead. As an ex-smoker, I do agree with the controls we now have, but if someone wants to smoke and can do so without affecting other people, that's fine by me.

    These control freaks will not be happy until the whole population look and behave like clones, clones that they have drawn up the specification for.

  • Comment number 92.

    72. At 11:46am on 27 Sep 2010, uptotherewithit wrote:
    I tried every 'cure' for smoking for 20yrs. I once went 3 months without a cigarette but started on a night out. Eventually I stopped 3 years ago using Champix which were supplied by the NHS smoking cessation program. They worked but I still miss smoking so much.
    When I pass someone smoking it still smells good to me. People can't imagine how strong the addiction to tobacco can be.
    Being patient and offering help of various kinds is the answer.
    Giving people money is silly. It is typical of some so called problem solvers, they think that throwing more and more money at it will make the problem go away.

    #############################################

    At last a (very) worthwhile post from a smoker.

    This post should be printed on every packet of cigarettes.

    The daily suffering that you have to go through I would not wish on anyone.

    That we do not use harsher methods to stop people from STARTING smoking is the untold crime here.

    I believe that if a person gets to 18 years old without smoking the odds are against them EVER taking it up.

    Lets tackle this nasty vile habit at the source, once and for all.



  • Comment number 93.

    Smokers and the obese cost the NHS less per person over their entire lifetime.

    Lifetime Medical Costs of Obesity: Prevention No Cure for Increasing Health Expenditure

    Source: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050029


    Treating disease directly caused by smoking produces medical bills of more than £5bn a year in the UK.

    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8086142.stm


    But...

    The government recieved a total of £10 billion in tobacco related taxation in 2009.

    Source: http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-figures/tax-revenue-from-tobacco/

  • Comment number 94.

    People who eat too much, drink too much alcohol, take drugs and smoke, are NO LESS obnoxious and self righteously greedy and selfish than those bankers who have recently cost so much loss to UK taxpayers, economy/businesses etc.

    They have been bleeding our nation dry for decades, year on year the costs are increasing and are TOTALLY unsustainable.

    The total costs to taxpayers is over £30 billion a year, via NHS treatments/medication, counselling, drug/alcohol rehab centres, social security benefits, losses to taxation, employment of all those who deal with them, losses to business, crime, and many many other cost areas, including increased emissions of food transport, bigger clothing, policing and justice systems.

    The lists of expense goes on and on and on and on and on.

    If it was NOT for these people, then FACTUALLY, Labour would NOT have had to spend so much money on NHS and drug rehab and so many OTHER expenses, including over £100 million just on advertising AGAINST obesity etc.

    Lets build a MORAL society.

    Those who act and behave IMMORALLY, can receive benefits which THEY contribute to, which their contributions can afford, nothing unfair in that.

    The rest of us should receive any benefits which we contribute to.

    There is FACTUALLY a class society.

    It is distinctive and seperated by morals/decency and by obnoxious ignorance, NOT by wealth or race or position in society. It is a class society based purely and fundamentally upon GOOD DECISIONS/CHOICES and BAD DECISIONS/CHOICES.

  • Comment number 95.

    Here's an idea. If you fall pregnant and you smoke then either you:-

    a) Quit
    b) Have the baby taken off you as soon as it's born and you're sterilised.

    I will not have my tax contributions used to make stupid people aware of the bleedin' obvious!

  • Comment number 96.

    smokers pay a hell of alot over here i could go to france or spain and get the same ammount of fags for a fraction of the price we already pay through the nose compared to anywere else so dont give me that rubbish we dont pay our way im scure we actually pay 2 or 3 times the ammount we "drain" from the nhs.
    its my life its my choice i didnt agree to anything i signed no contracts when i was born you tell ME what right you lot have to tell me how to live? especially the gov who have probably never had it hard in the life ONCE there views are not my views and the fact your forcing your views onto me is wrong!!!
    also alot of people who works shifts smoke its definalty when i started smoking its a proven fact people on night shifts are much more likely to start smoking. also im 23 ive been to hospital only a few times in my life and ive never really had anything other than an x ray so im paying all this tax yet not using it but when i eventually want to use it im told no? because i chose to do a completly legal?? thats like telling somebody who fell of a horse erm well you chose to go on the horse so tough?
    please get a grip people were not all boring people some of want to enjoy it while we can because it doesnt last long anyhow and i personally dont want to get old frail using a bag for my bodily functions so treat me and take my pension money when im dead because even if i make it to 70 what use is all that money then??

  • Comment number 97.

    17. At 10:03am on 27 Sep 2010, suzie127 wrote:
    As a smoker, I wouldn't give up for cash.

    I have a fair job as does my husband. I pay more than enough in taxes and national insurance together with the extra duty on cigarettes to more than pay for any hospital care I may need in the future.


    This may or may not turn out to be true. If, as a result of smoking, you die suddenly of heart disease then you may well be paying more in tax than you cost the NHS. In the more likely case that you contract cancer or some long term heart ailment or require limbs amputated, then however much you think you're paying will unlikely be enough.

    More important, as a smoker in work you are a small minority. Smoking predominates in low paid occupations and those on benefits )some 75% of those who live largely or entirely on benefits smoke according to ASH). The taxes these smokeers pay has been provided by the rest of us taxpayers in the first place, so are not contributing net positive taxes.

  • Comment number 98.

    63. At 11:27am on 27 Sep 2010, M de Vol

    Exactly where on earth would you draw the line at self inflicted illness and how much would it cost to set up decision making department. Crossing the road is dangerous, going to a shopping centre and mixing with others can give you 'flu, and as for playing sport, very dangerous
    Leave people alone, the media moan because we get ill young and then they complain that we are all living too long and causing a pension crisis. Ok if people get ill young they cost the NHS when they die but we all die sometime and more is spent on us in the last few weeks of life however soon or late. We can't complain that those who die young cost the NHS more they have saved us a lot in pension, so are doing us all a favour

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    I gave up smoking in July so that I can breathe. I'm not standing on any moral high ground here. People can choose to smoke, drink and eat too much if they like but they are the ones that are paying a huge amount of tax (Smoking - cost £1.7bn to treat smoking related illness with revenue of £9bn so you sanctimonious lot spouting about the cost better realise that if everyone stops smoking your tax burden WILL increase to the tune of £7.3bn). It's a price I'm willing to pay... are you?

    As for 'rewarding' people that stop smoking or lose weight I completely disagree with this approach. People should live their life how they choose and if they want to live longer and reduce the risk of an early death that should be incentive enough. There's no guarantee you'll live to a ripe old age if you lose weight or stop smoking but we've all seen the medical evidence. It's a choice the individual should make.

 

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