Smokers who die early save payouts of pension, Social Security, etc.

Published: February 15, 2014

Regarding Ted King’s “Time to end crusades against smoking, e-cigs” (Point of View, Feb. 7): I’m against smoking — it’s unhealthy and a waste of money. However, like many other activities, it’s one's own decision whether or not to indulge. The government ought to stay out of the issue. One of the arguments regularly put forward by the anti-smokers is the cost of treating lung cancer, the incidence of which is much increased by smoking. I believe this argument is nonsense. If I died four years earlier — the reported shortening of life due to smoking — society would save four years of my pension, Social Security, Medicare and other senior benefits. If one doesn’t die from lung cancer, one will die of some other ailment with attendant costs.

Further, the cost problems with Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. would all disappear if everyone died four years earlier. A cynic could argue that the government should encourage smoking for financial reasons! I’m not a smoker, but I’m a firm believer in individual liberty. Those who make the decision to smoke have a right to do so. They of course must not smoke where nonsmokers are affected.

Ted Rado, Oklahoma City

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