Letter: No smoke without taxes - the case against prohibition

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (20 May) suggests that the NHS should consider discriminating against smokers on the grounds that their illness is self-induced. Such a punitive system in health care would require very elaborate judgements to decide exactly how much an individual is responsible for his or her illness.

First, individual responsibility for health has a social context insofar as some people find it difficult to make healthy choices in situations of deprivation. Second, where do you draw the line? There are many other situations where people knowingly take health risks: dangerous sports, drug abuse, unsafe sex and alcoholism are examples.

LYNN FIELD

Droitwich, Worcestershire

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