Explore an Issue: Responsibility for Heart Disease Should cigarette smokers have to pay for their own health care in a place where free health care is offered? For example in Canada.

Essay by johnmauryHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2009

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Cigarette smoking is a nasty habit that is shared by millions of people worldwide. It is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada and America (AADC, 2008). In addition, it has been proven to raise an individual’s blood pressure and cholesterol, increase chances of having a heart attack, and it is highly addictive which makes it hard to stop. There is no question as to whether or not smoking is bad for people, the only question is whether or not smokers should have to pay more for their medical bills should they end up with coronary heart disease. Having stated all of the health risks that smokers expose themselves to, it is unfair to single out smoking as the only unhealthy habit that would cost people their entitlement to health care. By the same principles, unhealthy eaters that have eaten themselves into obesity should also have to pay extra for their health care, as well as the many other people who partake in other unhealthy or dangerous activities.

Additionally, it cannot be proven that a specific individual’s disease was a result of smoking more than it was a result of other factors such as genetics or a faulty diet. It is also impossible to say what would have happened if an individual had not taken up the habit of smoking, they may have cost the government more money in health care if they lived a long life and consistently relied on the public health care funds. There are just too many variables that come into play when trying to implement a financial punishment on a specific group of people that you cannot do it without discriminating against someone.

Singling out smokers to pay for their unhealthy habit is very discriminatory. There are a number of other harmful things that...