The Case For Smoking

This has just appeared in my ‘Oldie’ in box. A piece written by Auberon Waugh in the '90s.

Smokers die, on average, three and a half years younger than non- smokers, but what is wrong with that? By the additional tax they pay, which non- smokers do not pay, smokers provide for half the entire hospital service in Britain. Tobacco is the only known prophylactic against Alzheimer’s Syndrome, also known as senile dementia. It has other beneficial effects, as a stimulant of the central nervous system and as an appetite- suppressant, but its greatest is surely to keep the population moving. Smokers die younger and saner than most, without cluttering the welfare services or damaging the economy by years of unproductive dependency. Smokers should see themselves as the heroes of our society, even if no one else will acknowledge their heroism.

The greatest refutation of our health philosophy, which is scarcely ever mentioned by the medical profession except to demand more money, is to be found in the geriatric explosion. We are never shown the pathetic and horrible sights of our geriatric hostels where rows and rows of patients lie for months and years, helpless and confused, often insensible. That is the medical scandal of our time, not the fact that some choose a shorter, pleasanter life by smoking.

I am not endorsing it of course, just thought it was amusing. BTW he died of heart disease caused, it is thought, by a war(?) wound, not from smoking, at the age of 61. Very generous of him I say, just at the point of retirement when he was about to become a taker not a giver. :rofl:


I would sort of agree, except for the millions that are spent on keeping them alive until they die young. So not sure that there is a net gain to NHS.

I used to say that when I hit 85 I will take up smoking, and drinking, and eat completely unsuitable foods!


Is that all you can manage? :astonished: I can think of lots more unsuitable things to get up to. :rofl:


To borrow a phrase, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. :wink:

Covid did try to help us out more recently, but look at all the fuss that caused!


Why dinosaurs died out…


I’ve seen a few interesting statistics in the UK financial press in the past week.

The government’s take of inheritance tax has increased by 1/3rd year on year. Presumably 2021-2022. That can’t all be due to Rishi freezing the threshold value for inheritance tax in early 2022.

The government’s take of capital gains tax has increased 25% year on year. Ditto can’t be just due to the freeze. Although inflation being high, might have helped.

Something like 630,000 over 50’s didn’t return to work after covid. So they are “missing” workers that are needed for the British economy, the press have been saying for a while. There’s been a lot of comment in various press in the past year about it’s because people are deciding to retire early.
Apparently people thought about their lifestyle in covid lockdowns, remote working etc., and chose to make changes.

However yesterday I saw there are 330,000 people over 50 on longterm sick leave, as part of the 630,000. All this is in publications for the finance industry such as owned by the FT

And in another article it said actually there are more over-50’s working now than immediately before covid. So I guess the 630,000 “missing” aren’t the same people, just people the statisticians expected to be working at this time by age ranges moving up.
So the "missing"could have only been 47 or so, 3 years ago at the start of covid. Confusing, it feels like there is more going on.


Auberon Waugh: great writer but a lousy epidemiologist.

Smokers do cost the NHS less on balance than non-smokers due to their earlier demise but that is not a compelling argument to smoke!

Chest injuries not well known for causing heart disease except at the time which is usually pretty spectacular and binary. Smoking however definitely is the commonest cause of coronary arteries furring up leading to angina and heart attacks in the later stages. Even Wikipedia will support that.

Yes that occurred to me when I saw on Wiki that heart disease was his cause of death, but attributed to a previous chest injury.

I put that down to having to work with the youngsters of today :joy:


His health was pretty bad due to an accident he had during national service, some rifle or machine gun accident where he shot himself or was shot, anyway he almost died and I don’t think was ever really fit thereafter. Great friend of one of my uncles who has exactly the same views on smoking and is the same age only still going strong.

The threshold has remained unchanged since 2009.

It doesn’t greatly affect the very rich, but anyone who has a house in most of the UK will pay more IHT.