Letter: Generous smokers

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The Independent Online
Letter: Generous smokers

SUZANNE MOORE is quite right to call smoking's bluff (Comment, 1 April). Of course it isn't rebellious.

If unselfishness can be called social, smoking is the most social activity I know. Smokers pay huge taxes - typically pounds 500 a year for 40 years - and ask nothing in return. They die 10, even 20 years before they otherwise would, saving the rest of us vast sums in state pensions and eightysomething nursing care. Even their diseases can be cheap, particularly when caught too late to treat.

Of course, lung cancer is a singularly unpleasant, painful and dispiriting way to die, and smoking deprives many millions of children of their much loved and needed grandparents every year. But think of the tax breaks the rest of us enjoy! My worry is that the effects of smoking are now so well known, and how-to-give-up techniques so far advanced, that advertising by manufacturers will not keep the habit going.

The Government should, therefore, intervene and encourage smoking in every way it can. Because when smokers finally get wind of how much the rest of us rely on their generosity, they'll stop.


London N8