Tobacco Essay

2392 words - 10 pages

My son recently turned 18-years old and became a primary driver of a vehicle covered by our insurance. Oh my goodness! I flipped when I saw how expensive it was. His car was a 2000 sedan with good safety ratings and he had every discount imaginable: good grades, no prior vehicular accidents or infractions, participation in the insurance company’s “Teen Driver Safety Course”, and so on. When the shock on my face dissipated, my insurance agent told me it’s because of his age and his perceived propensity to engage in unhealthy behavior like drink, smoke, and drive distracted and/or reckless. She stated alcohol and distracted driving, which includes smoking, are huge risks being taken by motorists, insured and uninsured alike. She explained to me exactly how and why insurance premiums are so high when we, including my son, had such a clean record and had done everything to keep our premiums down. It was because in addition to paying for ourselves, we were paying into a big pool for others who choose not to do things in the best interest for themselves or others around them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2011), the acute and chronic health care costs associated with smoking and excessive alcohol use is approximately $120 billion each year. My take on this is if people choose to do harmful things to themselves then they should also choose to have adequate vehicle, health, life insurance, and excess funds to pay for whatever acute and chronic health issues arise from those harmful actions. If they choose not to have these financial protections in place then one simple way to ensure they foot at least some of the bill is to raise the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products which in turn will help defray the rising medical costs associated with emergency medical services, long term illness treatment, and educational awareness programs.
There are literally millions of people in America who use tobacco and alcohol products every day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (2011) and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2012), there are 234.6 million adults in the United States age 18 and over of which 19 percent (44.6 million) are reported to be smokers “defined as smoking more than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and are currently smoking cigarettes every day,” 17 percent (39.9 million) are reported to be binge drinkers defined as a “male who drinks 5 or more drinks and a female who drinks 4 or more drinks on any one occasion,” and 5 percent (11.7 million) are reported to be regular drinkers. The Surgeon General (2010) and CDC (2011) reports that smoking and/or excessive alcohol use significantly contributes to lung, oral and pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal and liver cancers, heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and death, to name some of the most common diseases. The...

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