No one discriminates.

Nope.  No one discriminates against smokers.  No mind that the addiction to nicotine in cigarrettes and cigarrette smoking is directly linked to an increase in lung cancer.  No mind that the insurance companies charged an increased rate or deny outright insurance coverage for certain diseases for people who smoke.

I wonder if obesity will be next?  This, according to the BBC:

Dr Colin Waine, chair of the National Obesity Forum, said a 10 kg weight loss reduced a person’s risk of dying from cancer by 40%.

“Obesity is linked with a number of cancers – post-menopausal breast cancer and endometrial cancer are the main ones in women and bowel cancer in men – and that’s something we’ve known for a while.”

I do wonder if you will be required to get on a scale before you get health insurance in a few more years.  The first step for smokers were incentives offered by health programmes to stop smoking.  The first step for obesity is a discounted membership to your local health club.  I wonder, what is next?

No, I don’t deny that the behaviors we choose have a much wider impact than just upon ourselves.  They impact our friends, family, co-workers, and cost society.  (That’s one of those pesky “externalities” that traditional economics doesn’t use in their models.)  I just also wonder how much regulation and control we’ll allow society to have over us?  So far it seems to be regulation by science.  At least in the area of health.

But hey, regulation? discrimination? control? exclusion?  Where on the spectrum do you want society to be involved?


~ by mud on August 9, 2007.

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