tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves. Nicotiana rustica leaves have a nicotine content as high as 9%, whereas Nicotiana tabacum (common tobacco) leaves contain about 1 to 3%

tocacco cigar A cigar is a tightly rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco which is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Sumatra, Philippines, and the Eastern United States.

tocacco Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as an organic pesticide, and in the form of nicotine tartrate it is used in some medicines. In consumption it may be in the form of cigarettes smoking, snuffing, chewing, dipping tobacco, or snus.

tocacco
Tobacco-Facts ads

US’s AAA Rating Imperiled by Health Care Costs - Moody’s

Although Moody’s Investors Service has warned that the U.S. could lose its AAA credit rating if it fails to take “radical action” to curb health care costs, so-called “reform efforts” are focused on providing additional medical services to more people and shifting the costs, rather than taking any steps to significantly reduce the diseases and the expenses themselves, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, whose own actions have helped slash billions in health care costs.

More than a year ago Moody’s warned that the U.S. would soon lose its triple-A credit rating unless it takes “radical action” to curb health care costs, especially spending on Medicare and Medicaid, which have risen to 45% of total federal spending, up from only 25% in 1975; a dire warning it very recently repeated in light of the 2011 federal budget proposal.

Smoking is estimated to cost the American economy almost $200 billion a year — about twice the cost (one trillion dollars over ten years) of health care reform proposals — most of which is now paid by nonsmokers in the form of higher taxes to pay for diseases unnecessarily caused by smoking and covered by Medicare, Medicaid, veteran’s benefits, Indian benefits and other welfare programs, or in grossly inflated health insurance premiums.  Yet, although smoking and its huge related expenses could be slashed easily and at virtually no cost, this 800-pound gorilla of unnecessary medical expense is largely being ignored.

Unfortunately, despite much talk about health care reform and increasing health insurance coverage, there has been virtually no serious discussion about actually reducing escalating health care costs, even though methods to reduce the major cause (smoking) are very well known, have been proven successful in many areas, and cost virtually nothing to implement, complains Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the nation’s oldest antismoking organization.

For example, California was able to slash its smoking rate from 17.5% in 1998 to only 13.3% in 2006 — the national average today is about 20% — by banning smoking in virtually all public places, imposing a high cigarette tax, and using some of the proceeds to help fund effective antismoking messages, notes Prof. Banzhaf, Executive Director of ASH.

New York City is another example, since it was able to slash smoking among high school students from 17.8% to only 8.5%, its deaths from smoking-induced cardiovascular disease by 14%, and its mortality rate to an all-time low, by likewise becoming virtually smoke free and imposing high cigarette taxes.

Health care expenses can also be cut simply by making those who inflate them pay more of their fair share of these huge costs.  This could be done by further increasing taxes on cigarettes, since those taxes bring in only a small fraction of the total costs smoking imposes on society, and study after study shows that making smoking more expensive provides the added incentive many smokers need to quit and thereby reduce a major risk for heart attacks, cancer, strokes, etc.

Another method would be to require health insurance companies to charge smokers more for health insurance, just as most now do for life (and, in some cases, automobile) insurance, and as a small but growing number of companies are already doing on their own following a federal ruling Banzhaf recently obtained.  Indeed, at least ten states are already charging employees who smoke more for their health insurance.

But ASH has suggested that, instead of simply requiring health insurance companies to charge smokers more, and in many cases simply retaining the additional income as profit, Congress should incorporate “personal responsibility” into health care, as both President Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius have proposed, by imposing a surcharge on health insurance premiums paid by smokers, with the revenue going to help pay for health care reform.

Unlike other funding proposals which penalize individuals who are not a major cause of the health care crisis — e.g., union workers with comprehensive health insurance plans, entrepreneurs and other small businesspeople with large incomes, botox users, etc. — a smoker surcharge hits those who are in fact the major preventable cause of escalating health care costs.  Moreover, unlike all other funding proposals, it would help slash overall costs, not just shift them.

“It’s obvious that preventing diseases in the first place is a much more effective strategy for reducing overall health care expenses than simply improving treatment by moving to electronic records or evidence-based protocols.  Indeed, a recent report by the Brookings Institution recognizes that making the health care system marginally more effective at treating major diseases is much less efficient than preventing the diseases in the first place by providing financial incentives for adopting healthier life styles,” notes Prof. Banzhaf.

ASH’s proposal for a modest surcharge on smokers’ health insurance premiums to help fund health care reform, a plan MSNBC reported the public supports, can be found at: http://ash.org/proposalsurcharge

Prof, Banzhaf and ASH used legal action to get antismoking messages on the air, drove cigarette commercials from radio and television, started and promoted the movement to ban smoking in public places, encouraged the law suits against the major cigarette companies which led to a ban on Joe Camel and other cartoon characters in cigarette ads as well as the demise of cigarette billboards, etc.

PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America’s First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 ** (703) 527-8418 **  http://ash.org

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Technorati
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • MySpace
  • MyShare
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Simpy
  • Sphinn
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Blogosphere News
  • Mixx
  • Reddit
  • Propeller
  • MisterWong
  • LinkedIn

Related posts:

  1. Health Care Industry Adopts Big Tobacco’s PR Tactics At first look, one might not think that the health...
  2. Brewer would end health care for thousands to trim budget PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer wants to take away state-paid...
  3. Rising obesity will cost U.S. health care $344 billion a year If Americans continue to pack on pounds, obesity will cost...
  4. Smoke-Free Policy Triggers Strange Debate The decision by a Tennessee hospital not to hire smokers...
  5. Key E-Cigarettes Judicial Ruling Expected Shortly A key judicial ruling in a law suit involving e-cigarettes,...
  6. North Carolina state health plan to penalize smokers, obese The state health plan in North Carolina, home of cigarette...
  7. New Smoking Vaccine: Promise But Problems Almost half of all smokers will die as a result...
  8. Oil Pushes Up Manufacturers’ Costs LONDON - Manufacturers’ raw material costs rose at their fastest...
  9. Cigarettes harm financial health too Cigarette smokers have long been assailed for the damaging health...
  10. Child health legislation on medical devices, tobacco approved Two important pieces of legislation relating to children’s health and...

Tobacco-Facts ads
discount cigarettes online

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam word