New Study Shows Smokers and Obese Actually Save Government on Health Care Costs

February 5, 2008

A new study from the Netherlands has empirically verified what many have pointed out for years against those who seek to justify arbitrary taxes on certain products deemed unhealthy: because unhealthy people have shorter life spans, they tend to save government money over the long-term. From the Telegraph:

Healthy people cost taxpayers more in medical bills over their lifetimes than smokers or the obese, a new study has found.

Because they tend to live longer, the savings that they make the state in youth and middle age are wiped out by the high cost of dealing with lingering diseases of old age like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

By contrast smokers – who pour millions extra into government coffers by purchasing cigarettes – cost the state the least because they tend to die younger.

According to the research, a person of normal weight costs on average £210,000 over their lifetime, a smoker just £165,000 and an obese person £187,000.

So the next time you hear somebody arguing that it’s right to raise taxes on cigarettes or “unhealthy” foods because the consumers of those products impose high government health care costs borne by other taxpayers, tell them flat out they are wrong. And then ask them what their true agenda is. More than likely you’ll find out that they merely want to to do two things: (1) find a minority to impose an arbitrary tax on to fund some new government program, or (2) impose their nanny-state view of the world on others.

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