Originally Posted by Ervin in Portland
Confirmed by scientific research. As a licensed psychotherapist who works in addiction medicine, I have seen SPECT scans (like a MRI) of brains from smokers and they have significantly less neuronal connecting and blood flow in many significant areas of the brain. They also have less car ownership, less home ownership and overall less social-economic growth compared to non-smokers. Smoking is very limiting.
Cause or effect? Smoking has for a long time been more prevalent the lower one goes on the economic ladder. Less car ownership would be an expected result of moving down the economic ladder. As would more physical and less intellectual ways of making a living.
Have know too many really smart skilled trades or academics that smoked to figure smoking was a determining factor to economic or mental abilities. It is at its core an addictive substance that is enjoyable to many, most often started without thinking of long term consequences.
I was always sort of annoyed at how easily the state raised taxes on tobacco products. It is a tax that typically borne by lower economic groups, voted on because it only screws over 25% of the people so the other 75% of the voting public is ok with it. Here in Mich. they even applied the full pack tax on rolling tobacco used by those who make their own cigarettes to save money. Knowing that because smoking is addictive increasing taxes may cause some minor reduction is use but won't hurt tax revenues because it isn't as though all the smokers will suddenly quit because taxes went up 50 cents a pack.
So a regressive tax, applied to an addictive product, secure in the knowledge it won't hurt revenue because the taxed product is addictive and people are unlikely to quit.
I will say the issue of is it bad for ones health that was certainly not a given when I was young, and smoking being "bad" was contrary to general opinion for those just a bit older than myself. Oddly enough smokers cost health insurance providers less. Health care gets very expensive for long term chronic conditions such as heart disease. Smokers don't survive as long. Same applies to health care later in life. Non-smoker may keep plugging away for 10 years with multiple health issues, smoker dies after the first or second episode much more frequently.
Canadian and Swedish study of long term costs of health care for smokers. Non smokers get a bypass and later stents, maybe another procedure or two. Survive two or three minor heart attacks. Smoker has single heart attack that is more likely to be fatal. And poorer outcomes from treatments translates into not living for as many treatments to be administered.