Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Not Their Fault

I read in the paper the other day that smokers were demanding that Phillip Morris pay for their health screenings and finally decided that I have heard enough out of smokers. Phillip Morris has paid hundreds of billions to people who thought that inhaling smoke into your lungs wouldn’t be harmful (after all fireman just wear those masks because they look sexy). Smokers are on the path to creating universal health care in the US. The system works as such; start smoking and assume no responsibility for it, realize that it is bad for you when you become sick, blame Phillip Morris and wait for the courts to hold them, not you, responsible for your illnesses, become a millionaire in a class action suit and get all the health care you need.

I am 33 years old and in the 3rd grade I remember people calling cigarettes “cancer sticks”. This meant to me that cigarettes caused cancer. By the 6th grade they were called “death sticks”, which meant that if I smoked them I would eventually die (although I knew that this will happen anyway, I assumed that cigarettes would just accelerate the process). As I became older I saw people who smoked and said to them “smoking is bad for you” which usually brought on a “no shit Sherlock” or something to that effect. What I am getting at is; are there really people that don’t know that smoking is bad for your health? So much so that they still expect Phillip Morris to help bail them out of their choice to inhale.

The education campaigns are working, laws are being passed to ban smoking in about every available open air environment, and cigarettes are being taxed so much that you almost have to take on a second job just to continue your habit. Where do we go with smokers from here? I say we cut them off and hold them as responsible as they have held Phillip Morris for the past 20 years. A simple message should be sent, if you smoke you most likely will die of lung cancer at a young age and it will be your entire fault, enjoy if you choose to do so. Then I say we go after fast food and candy.

Obesity is no less of a problem in North America than smoking, the only difference is that obesity numbers continue to increase and are starting at a younger age (yes children in preschool are becoming obese at alarming rates) leading to more and more obesity related health issues. The only real difference between obese people and smokers is that smokers have someone to legally blame for their condition.

I say we sack smokers and start to treat the main contributors of obesity the same way as we’ve treated cigarettes. This means that we would tax the hell out of candy, soda pop, juice boxes, and fast foods. The money we get from the taxes we would use to get every kid involved in some type of movement activity, start an obesity education campaign, and get those preschoolers to find joy in a healthy and nutritionally balanced lifestyle.

Dollar menus would become $5 menus, candy bars would finally be more expensive than apples, and soda pop would become “Cristal” in an aluminum can. We can sue Ronald, the King, Carl, Jack, and that Chihuahua, so they have to give health care for everyone with high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. The wrappers on fries and burgers can say “Warning: This product may cause serious obesity related health issues and premature death”.

As long as we are going to be a society that will always hold others responsible for our own personal choices, then the least we could do is get the smokers off of lifetime scholarship and share the wealth with others in personal responsibility void.

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