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Want Govt Healthcare? Then plan for intrusions like this ...
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 22, 2005

Seriously. If the government is the health care provider, then, with pressure to keep costs down, it will most certainly lead to intrusiveness like this, or worse:
THE public are to be told not to smoke in their own homes as part of plans to protect public sector workers from the effect of passive smoking.

The move is the latest part of the Scottish Executive's ban on smoking in public places, which will come into force on 26 March next year.

Ministers have told councils, health boards and social work departments that they should compile a "smokers' map" of Scotland, focusing on those who regularly receive visits from officials and carers. This would identify individual households where a smoker is resident.

The smokers would then be sent letters asking them not to smoke for one hour before a council worker or health worker called round. Public bodies have also been advised to use the smokers' map to ensure that any workers who suffer from breathing problems are kept away from the homes of smokers.
After gathering this personal information, is there anyone who truely believes step 2 won't be a rationalization for banning smoking in the home altogether? After all, if, as is obviously believed above, 2nd hand smoke is dangerous for "officials and carers", how long will it be before the claim is extended to those who live in the household?

I can see a "for the children" right on the horizon.

Then we can talk about fatty foods, sugar, lack of exercise and any of a number of other health risks which may become the "business" of the government.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Here it’s a non-controversial statement, but elsewhere it isn’t. When you give up responsibility for something to another person, you give up your freedom to that person. If you make ME responsible for your health care, then I will probably tell you how to live your life. I pick up the tab, I’ll set the parameters in which you can live. This seems so OBVIOUS, yet some how it’s overlooked every time someone wants a new program to help the poor, the children, the disadvantaged, women, etc. etc.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Look north; It’s already happening.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Thats typical smokers-arguments who compare second-hand smoke with sugar, food or other things. But i haven’t seen people killed by second-hand sugar.
 
Written By: Martin
URL: http://
You haven’t seen any killed by second-hand smoke either. You should really check out the ONLY thorough and comprehensive study on the subject, which was conducted by the WHO over seven years. The sole effect of second-hand smoke with any degree of statistical significance was with respect to children of smokers—they were found to be less likely to contract illnesses normally associated with smoking. Every study that touts the harmful effects of second-hand smoke cites this study, and no single one of them is supported by it.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Thats typical smokers-arguments who compare second-hand smoke with sugar, food or other things. But i haven’t seen people killed by second-hand sugar.

Huh? Talk about missing the entire point.

If it is all right to decide whether you can smoke or not (they’ve decided for health reasons it isn’t) why is it such a stretch to believe that for the same health reasons those making your health decisions for you couldn’t decide you shouldn’t eat sugar (afterall, your family has a history of diabetes) or fatty foods (a history of heart ailments).

As Joe points out, once you give responsbility to others for something, they make the decisions for you that you once had the freedom to make. Their leverage? The law.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Martin, well as an EX-Smoker, 11 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, 1 day, 1 hour and 4 minutes (but who counts???)I’d have to ask you, who’s been killed by second-hand smoke? There are no VALID studies linking ETS with increased death.

And it doesn’t really matter about that much either. It is a also a matter of your Liberty. It’s your place why can’t you smoke there?

Finally, be thou careful of talking aobut sugar or fatty foods, in such a way. Banzhaf and others make the case that sugar and fatty foods DO affect you and me, whether we eat them or not, as they drive up health costs and make your health insurance and mine or our taxes higher do to increased helath care costs, brought on by fatty foods, poor diet and obesity. I don’t buy it, but there are those saying it and so it may well be that today they come for yor Camel non-filters/Marlboro’s/Dunhills/Gaulois but tomorrow they may come for your Cinabon or Big Mac’s.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Here’s a great place to start with respect to what the WHO study actually found.

Excerpt:
Fact: The World Health Organization conducted a study of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) and lung cancer in Europe.

Fact: ETS is commonly referred to as Second Hand Smoke (SHS). The two terms are interchangeable.

Fact: This was a case control study using a large sample size.

Fact: The purpose of the study was to provide a more precise estimate of risk, to discover any differences between different sources of ETS, and the effect of ETS exposure on different types of lung cancer.

Fact: The study was conducted from twelve centers in seven European countries over a period of seven years.

Fact: The participants consisted of 650 patients with lung cancer and 1542 control subjects. Patients with smoking related diseases were excluded from the control group. None of the subjects in either group had smoked more than 400 cigarettes in their lifetime.

Fact: Three of the study centers interviewed family members of the participants to confirm the subjects were not smokers.

Fact: The study found no statistically significant risk existed for non-smokers who either lived or worked with smokers.

Fact: The only statistically significant number was a decrease in the risk of lung cancer among the children of smokers.
Moreover, whenever someone tries to tell you that the EPA study confirms that second-hand smoke kills people, ask them about that study being flatly rejected as unscientific by a court of law. Essentially, that study was placed on par with Intelligent Design as far as being "scientific."

 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
It is a also a matter of your Liberty. It’s your place why can’t you smoke there?

If you paid for your own health care, you could. Scotts wouldn’t really have a leg to stand on. But that’s not the case, so they do.

I would like to recommend The Unrepentant Individual’s post on this for those who are having trouble with this story because of the "rights of the smoker". I would recommend my own article as well, if that’s not bad form. Don’t let the rights of the employee block your view of the rights of the employer.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
This isn’t ENTIRELY a rights of employer case... at least from the smoker’s view. These are GOVERNMENT workers, being sent out to do their jobs. The smokers in question are the recipient of the government’s inspections. This isn’t about the Scots government restricitng the rights of ITS employees, but restricting the rights of its citizens.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Fair engouh, Joe. But my general point is that the smokers aren’t (yet) being told unconditionally that they have to quit. Any service provider should have the right to deny services to households where they feel their workers would be exposed to health concerns. The fact that this is the government doesn’t make it different. They are trying to provide what they think is best for their employees, and they have the right to do that.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Any service provider should have the right to deny services to households where they feel their workers would be exposed to health concerns. The fact that this is the government doesn’t make it different. They are trying to provide what they think is best for their employees, and they have the right to do that.

Yes and No. Government is to service its citizens.... it is NOT a corporate service provider. You do not have to pay the "subscriptio fee" to receive its services. In short it is NOT McDonald’s. I would agree that McDonald’s can limit your ability to smoke on its premises or even the ability of its employees to smoke, at all.

However, the Scot’s regional government can NOT do the same thing. There is no alternative to the government’s service provisions. Welfare and health care ARE PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT. It can NOT, IMHO, then restrict a citizen’s access to legal materials, i.e. tobacco and hsi/her access to government provided, societally-mandated services.

My first point is that when you grant the government the exclusive provision of your health care, though, you open yourself up to this problem. Though really it ought to be the government OUTLAWING tobacco. Not allwowing its sale, but then restriciting one’s ability to indulge.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The UK is a free market economy in which you can go private, if it means that much to you to smoke. There is no exclusive government provision of healthcare.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Well, they have multiple problems going on, including the fact that there is no alternative to the government’s service provisions.

Maybe I am missing something... what is the penalty for smoking within an hour of the government employee arriving? I didn’t see one mentioned. It sounded to me like they ask people not to smoke right before the gov’t care providers arrive, and then they make a point of not sending susceptible gov’t employees to homes that do not provide clean air environments.

I think the rights danger is where this will certainly lead - not where it currently is. And I agree with the comments in the article that the compilation of accurate and detailed lists would take time and resources, but I also recognize the position as outlined by the health minister, who was quoted saying But we recognise there are instances where people will have to visit a residential property to do their job - and this guidance will help ensure that workers are exposed to passive smoke as little as possible. Where is the balance to be struck for a society that does not have private health care available? And I see Unaha-closp’s latest comment, which leads me even more to the opinion that if you want to smoke, that’s fine - make your own provisions for doing so, and don’t expect government workers to ignore what they see as a health risk from entering your home. Go private if it’s that important to you.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Agreed Unaha-closp, but this isn’t a private entity acting, is it? It’s the regional GOVERNMENT, and the government has been mandated to provide these services. They the guarantor in last resort... so they have no choice,, unlike say McDonald’s in my analogy.

Now IF Scotland wants to adopt a purely private/libertarian healthcare scheme/system, THEN individual providers COULD agree or not agree to send their employees to certain residences. AS it is the government does not have this luxury, otherwise we end up in the WORST OF BOTH WORLDS, taxes, often confiscatory, but the government REFUSING to provide the service!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, where does it say that if you smoke, they refuse to provide services?
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Joe, where does it say that if you smoke, they refuse to provide services?
The spokeswoman conceded that some health and council workers might refuse to continue home visits to those who stubbornly continued to smoke, despite requests to stop.
And that’s fine with the union although they don’t anticipate it being something all workers will do.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Joe, where does it say that if you smoke, they refuse to provide services?


Slippery slope argument, Wulf, freely admit it... IF smoking is not an issue, why even bring it up? This is, IMHO, the 1st step in making yet more difficult to smoke. "Sorry, Grovel, can’t pop by the tenement today, you see you smoke." I would argue the smoking map is no more or less than the "registry of firearms", no no intent to confiscate, but then soon the government does just that. Rather than outlaw tobacco, just make its use nearly impossible...

Now I do agree that government finds itself in a bind here. After having, falsely, made a big deal about ETS, the government now has to contend with UNIONIZED government employees, demanding protection from this "dangerous" ETS. It is a no-win situation, government is mandated to provide these services, but will, eventually, be sued by its employees for the dangerous conditions it inflicts on them. However, it is a situation that the government has placed itself in.

This would be, in fact, a good strategic moment, to stand with Scottish smokers. Becasue in the above conflict, the easy out for the Scottish government or any government is to restict your right to smoke, "Not because we WANT TO MIND YOU, but because these unreasonable unions MADE us." Instead, and I am a NON-SMOKER, we should try to support the smokers and force the government to confront, either its unions or its fixation with ETS. If ETS isn’t so bad for government employees, mayhaps its not so bad for the rest or us either and the state might be forced to relax its silly nanny-state regulations re: tobacco.

Again, mind that I was a smoker, am no more and curse the day I tried tobacco and find tobacco, in all forms pretty offensive, and its users pretty darned offensive too. Still IF you want to smaoke at home, it’s none of the government’s business whether you do onr not...really if you want tom smoke on ANY private property it’s none of the government’s business, but that’s a fight for another day/thread.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
My first point is that when you grant the government the exclusive provision of your health care, though, you open yourself up to this problem. Though really it ought to be the government OUTLAWING tobacco. Not allwowing its sale, but then restriciting one’s ability to indulge.

Excellent point. I’d just thougth I would add something about the "restricting one’s ability to indulge".
Last time I was there, Sep. ’03, cigarettes were eight dollars a pack. EIGHT DOLLARS A PACK.

Duuuuude, I’m glad I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore. That would’ve put a damper on the holiday budget.
(also on indulgences, btw. Scotch is cheaper here than it is there. due to the taxes, of course. Sorta puts a sting into the term, "tobac a chaitheamh agus uisge beatha". Doesn’t it?) :-}
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
WHAT Scotch is more costly in Scotland than HERE!?!?!? Oh that is SO, SO WRONG! As Claudius would have said, "Words fail me..." or as Our Saviour is reported to have "Jesus wept..."

This is what the Act of Union hath wrought! I am so glad my ancestors were booted out of the United Kingdom!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
WHAT Scotch is more costly in Scotland than HERE!?!?!?

Indeed. To buy a bottle of Scotland’s most famous export in Scotland will cost you more than to buy the same bottle in Podunk, Kansas. To buy a wee dram of the golden goodness in a pub, however, is about the same.

I’m with ya’ Joe. A billion kilted men roll in their graves everyday.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
A billion kilted men roll in their graves everyday
Now that’s a DARNED scary image to picture!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Pogue:

A little help, "tobac a chaitheamh agus uisge beatha" = "tobacco smoke and whisky"?
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Slippery slope argument, Wulf, freely admit it...

Actually, I already did... I think the rights danger is where this will certainly lead - not where it currently is.

As you note, this is the time for smokers to stand up for what they feel is most important - their rights as individuals. But the way the fight is shaped, they won’t try to do away with the government health care and open this all up to competition. Right now, it’s "I’ll smoke in my own home" vs "I won’t go to a smoker’s home and risk my health", and the individual on both sides is right.

In a few years, when smoking is completely banned over there, we will sit and nod our heads wisely, but still nobody will have stopped it from happening. They like their socialist government too much to shape the issue in the way we here are discussing it. I don’t forsee this leading to privitization, in other words.
 
Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
Excellent, MichaelW.

Now have one in celebration!!
(hey, I just thought of a new drinking game.)

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Thanks, Pogue ... I think I will!

Now will it be Balvenie Double Wood or MaCallan 15? Hmmm...
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Geeez, I don’t know of any human that doesn’t do something that could be considered a health issue. Drive on the highway lately? Drink? Smoke? Eat? Sportscar? Motorycle? Use a Computer?

There wouldn’t be anyone left to do the work but the people who are already dead and don’t use healthcare!
 
Written By: Lucy
URL: http://
Not so fast, MchielW and Pouge.
Let’s remember, the UN runs the WHO.
I mean, they never lie about anything for their own political and financial ends, do they?

Just something to consider.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Actually, Bithead, that’s why the WHO buried the study ... it didn’t yield the expected results.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://

 
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