Personal Position on the Proposal to Withdraw Coverage on All Tobacco-Related Illnesses The ill effects of tobacco and cigarette smoking have been well documented and studied for over half a century now. It is already an accepted scientific fact that smoking leads to a wide array of terminal diseases such as cancers, lung and cardiovascular diseases. In fact, more than 7000 literatures since the 1940s support the claim that smoking is indeed dangerous to ones health. Additionally, smoking is regarded as the single most preventable cause of death, disability and morbidity in the United States.
With this in mind, it then becomes quite intriguing why smoking – and the products that propagate it – is still a prevalent practice. Though risk reduction practices such as developing low-tar/low nicotine cigarettes and imposition of graphic health warnings and advisories have been made in the recent years, complete deterrence has not yet been achieved. However, the proposal to withdraw coverage on tobacco-related illnesses might just be the needed deterrent that can effectively reduce the detrimental behavior and health risks smoking brings with it.
The proposal is built on sound information. Most of the statistical, demographical and epidemiological data mentioned in the proposal are widely accepted scientific and social facts. Even with the small amount information provided, the proposal manages to paint a graphic picture of how smoking affects the lives of average Americans. The idea of withdrawing or non-coverage of diseases related to tobacco use can be a very strong deterrent, especially in a society that values its healthcare privileges now that healthcare costs are at its all-time high.
However, the proposal has several weaknesses that may limit its implementation and success. For one, though the proposal is founded on widely accepted facts, it fails to paint a detailed picture of the health risks associated with smoking. Even though most scientists and doctors would agree that smoking is related to the development of several chronic and terminal diseases, direct causality has always been in question.
Several, if not majority, of the diseases associated with smoking are multifactorial – meaning several factors may contribute to the development and progression of these diseases – regardless of and possibly aggravated by smoking. Secondly, the proposal somehow threatens to trample on the basic rights of every American to avail of healthcare. Somehow the proposal would curtail the individual’s right to self (health) determination. Personally this author is in favor of this proposal.
The threat of smoking and second-hand smoke has been a long standing and tolerated danger to the health of the general public. Though it is not fitting to say that smoking and the cigarette industry per se has not been policed effectively, the continuing tolerance for its practice and products continue to breed its dangers. However, as sound as a deterrent the proposal is, its implementation might be unsuccessful since a) the science leaves room for doubts in terms of direct causality and b) the proposal threatens certain civil liberties and rights which could be a major source of opposition.