Smokers Facing New Pressure

Smokers Facing New Pressure

There are 766 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Feb 16, 2006, titled Smokers Facing New Pressure. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

Smokers already feeling pressure from increasing cigarette costs and workplace smoking bans are now feeling squeezed from another direction - health insurance premiums.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

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Dr Harold Mandel

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

#1 Feb 17, 2006
It is a good idea to increase health insurance premiums for smokers. This could help to give them an incentive to quit smoking. Money serves as a powerful force for all of us.

Dr Harold Mandel
http://www.geocities.com/haroldmandel/drmande...
Linda Clark

Hopewell, VA

#2 Feb 17, 2006
I would love to see those I love quit smoking. But you're idea of raising health costs for the smoker is not only hurting him but entire families. People on fixed incomes are already hurting.

Perhaps insurance companies need to start thinking more about incentives than raising costs that are already out of control. We are suppose to believe they're doing this for "our" good. Let's be real. Insurance companies just want more money for a lousy job they're already doing. Old people on fixed incomes keep getting hit with higher costs. I think they should all be ashamed of themselves. It's humiliating how terrible our health issues are in this country.

I have never smoked, but I do know it's one of the worst addictions possible. Help the people & stop trying to pad your budgets.

Thank You
Patriot

Vernon Hills, IL

#3 Feb 17, 2006
Does it make sense to charge a premium fee to people who smoke? NOPE. Smokers are doing insurance companies a favor because they die sooner. It's those non-smokers who keep running to the doctor for every little thing whose lives are getting more expensive to support year after year after year. What if we all quit smoking and lived to 100?
Related

Fountain Valley, CA

#4 Feb 17, 2006
Where would it stop? Should we charge alcoholics more for health insurance too?
Smoker who wants to quit

United States

#5 Feb 23, 2006
Why doesn't our health insurance help up to stop smoking. They pay for us to stop drinking and doing drugs but won't help us out with out smoking. Smoking is a addiction too. To me the only they can raise my rates is if they offered to help me with my addiction.
DS-Lakewood

Aurora, CO

#6 Feb 24, 2006
Insurance companies DO charge higher premiums for smokers. And most DO NOT cover the "drugs" like patches, Zyban, etc. let alone any kind of counseling some might need to quit. In Colorado, the state advertises free patches. First you can't get thru on the phones, then, when you do, you have to give all this personal info to some idiot who answers the phone, then you're told you have to do 5 on-the-phone counseling sessions. Oh...and there's a 5 week wait for a first appointment, unless you want to hold for more than 20 minutes. By the time you go through the frustration and anger - you just want another cigarette!
smoking sucks

Santa Monica, CA

#7 Mar 6, 2006
If the family is on a fixed income then that is even more reason to quit!!! Is smoking more important than your family's well being?
F*#K smokers they are idiots and hurting themselves and their families.
Mrs H

Littleton, CO

#8 Mar 7, 2006
smoking sucks wrote:
If the family is on a fixed income then that is even more reason to quit!!! Is smoking more important than your family's well being?
F*#K smokers they are idiots and hurting themselves and their families.
It is a nasty addiction, that does hurt oneself and ones family. You my dear must have never smoked. I regret the 16 years I lost to it, before I could quit, but potty mouthing smokers won't help the situation. A little kindness, and simple respect for the plight of the addiction would go a lot farther. There are plans to help drug addicts, alcoholics, even the sex addicted, but not very many for the ciggarette addicted. If you have not walked that mile, keep your stones in your pocket.
Garnet Dawn

Indianapolis, IN

#9 Mar 8, 2006
Mrs H wrote:
<quoted text>

It is a nasty addiction, that does hurt oneself and ones family. You my dear must have never smoked. I regret the 16 years I lost to it, before I could quit, but potty mouthing smokers won't help the situation. A little kindness, and simple respect for the plight of the addiction would go a lot farther. There are plans to help drug addicts, alcoholics, even the sex addicted, but not very many for the ciggarette addicted. If you have not walked that mile, keep your stones in your pocket.
Nice Post!

Congratulations on your success with quitting smoking. It sounds like you truly wanted to do it for yourself. Your motivation was sincere, not coerced. I wish that were the case for the majority of smokers who say they want to quit, but are only mouthing the words because they believe it is the socially acceptable thing to say. I'm afraid that is why so few smokers are able to quit. I am not a hypocrite though, I smoke and I have never tried to quit. I will not until this witch-hunt and the demonization of smokers ends. I find, personally, that the benefits of smoking outweigh the detriments. I have smoked for over 30 years Still, that is my personal choice and I do not believe that ETS is harmful. However, you are entitled to your opinion. You should know though, that SHS studies still remain extremely controversial in proving that passive smoke is a danger. That was a ploy developed by the massively wealthy health control industry to avoid loosing their funding when the initial anti-smoking campaigns failed to convince 25% of the adult population to quit smoking.

Again, "kudos" to you for applying common sense to your comments. Many non-smokers have begun to join forces with pro-choice smokers rights groups due to the persecution and hatred currently being promoted toward smokers. Interestingly enough, here is a reply I sent to a CNN reporter who is examining the issure of insurance rates and smoking surcharges for smokers.

"Everyone seems to be forgetting, this is "health" insurance not auto insurance, an annuity or life insurance. In my opinion, more smokers will either grudgingly pay more, or increase our country's already shameful percentages of those without health insurance by totally dropping their health coverage in protest. Coercion to manipulate individual life styles will never work. Smokers will not quit smoking through force...persecution does not motivate change.

I do know that the companies imposing these surcharges are mostly self-insured. We are in an age of surcharges. The sad thing about surcharges (be they from banks, government, utilities or insurance companies) are they multiply like rabbits, while the existing fees continue to increase. However, with the help of government agencies like the CDC manipulating statistics with their SAMMEC statistics and organizations like the American Cancer Society devoting more and more of their vast funding to lobby against smokers, the die appear to be cast.

Of course, the surcharge on health insurance for smokers is only the beginning. If allowed, natural progression will be to institute surcharges for women of childbearing age, those employees who consume alcohol, overweight individuals, those with diabetes (after all, with proper diet, they could have controlled it) and extreme sports enthusiasts. Soon health care will increase costs for those who indulge in motorcycle or horseback riding too. No one seems to have documentation as to how smokers, under retirement age, are costing more in health care. Of course, as soon as anyone is told that the figures come from the CDC or the ACS, end of discussion......."

Illinois Smokers Rights - http://www.illinoissmokersrights.com
Related

Fountain Valley, CA

#10 Mar 8, 2006
smoking sucks wrote:
If the family is on a fixed income then that is even more reason to quit!!! Is smoking more important than your family's well being?
F*#K smokers they are idiots and hurting themselves and their families.
He's just a troll.
A from Australia

Caloundra, Australia

#11 Apr 30, 2006
I see higher insurance premiums for smokers to be a positive initiative, albeit the motivations for the health insurance companies are wrong. I think this is a better solution as opposed to raising taxes on cigarettes. It has been shown that raising cigarette tax is regressive as those who earn more and are more educated tend to have higher quite rates than those who are more economically disadvanteged. Targeting those who have insurance is a much more progressive way to tackle the problem. Other initiatives can be put forward to help the economically disadvanteged quit.

I agree that insurance companies should cover smoking cessation products - unfortunately due to the low absitnece rates, the costs are too high. I advocate that a two-week trial could be used - if the patient hasn't smoked during the first two weeks, they will be more likely to abstain from smoking.
Louis

Grand Rapids, MI

#12 May 2, 2006
A from Australia wrote:
I advocate that a two-week trial could be used - if the patient hasn't smoked during the first two weeks, they will be more likely to abstain from smoking.
First of all I am non-smoker and was never a regular smoker. I think what you mentioned is a good idea but I know people who quit smoking for a couple of months and then are back. The reasons - something happened - like too much stress from work or personal life or their child got very sick....

So, quitting for 2 weeks is probably cannot be considered permanent.
Smoker

United States

#13 May 3, 2006
I am a smoker.
It would be ok if they raised the price of premiums so long as they offer a smoke out program.
1. Offer them a stop smoking kit.
2. Test the smoker to make sure that they are clean.
( Simple swab test at the local insurance office.)
3. If the smoker passes they then get a rate reduction.
smoker,
[link]http://www.spizazweb.com [/link]
Nick

Mount Vernon, MO

#14 May 9, 2006
For those of you who used to smoke and have since quit. What are the most effective words that I may use to sway my friends to quit smoking?. Thank
Dawn Redd

Southfield, MI

#15 May 9, 2006
I do not why anyone would knowingly participate in an activity that you know you will be discriminated. I really have a problem with women and people- of -color smoking. We have been discriminated enough without giving way for additional factors. Smoking in Butt-Huts; outside in the cold; outside in the heat; and often separated into another area in private homes or in public places. I truly can no longer understand the continuation of such of an expensive habit that affects people mentally, physically,and financially. How does one smoke, eat and drive?
Garnet Dawn

Indianapolis, IN

#16 May 9, 2006
Nick wrote:
For those of you who used to smoke and have since quit. What are the most effective words that I may use to sway my friends to quit smoking?. Thank
The very best thing you can do is respect them as people with minds of their own, who must have other qualities you like, or they would not be your friends. Simply do not try. If you would like to keep them as friends, don't nag them and allow them to decide how they want to live their lives. Keep your quit-smoking advice to yourself. Smokers don't try to force you to smoke. Have the same consideration for them, or they will begin to simply avoid you.

http://www.illinoissmokersrights.com/
Garnet Dawn

Indianapolis, IN

#17 May 9, 2006
Dawn Redd wrote:
I do not why anyone would knowingly participate in an activity that you know you will be discriminated....
To some of us, our own personal beliefs are a higher priority than attempting to please the "sheeple" opinions of the masses or allowing ourselves to be coerced into taking the path of least resistance. Boycotting non-smoking venues is one excellent means of accomplishing this. You may not understand the concept that many smokers prefer to please themselves rather than conform to accepted behavior for social acceptance, and are very stubborn. I'm sure any people who have ever objected to social engineering in history have been subject to the same questions. You do not need to comprehend our reasoning. You may live your life as a conformist, but mind your own business regarding smokers' right-to-choice. Some of us would rather smoke-and-drive than drive-and-eat. Whatever you choose to do is your own business. Some need a food-fix...others prefer lighting a cigarette. I personally think eating in a car is a disgusting activity, but I am really not interested enough in strangers' activities to worry about it.

http://www.illinoissmokersrights.com/
Bill Hannegan

Saint Louis, MO

#18 May 9, 2006
Nick wrote:
For those of you who used to smoke and have since quit. What are the most effective words that I may use to sway my friends to quit smoking?. Thank
Those cigarettes are real.

Nothing is free.
Nick

Mount Vernon, MO

#19 May 10, 2006
Garnet, Dawn....sooo there is no polite way to encourage my friends to quit smoking? And if I do, then they will avoid me? Iím asking how to talk to people about not smoking, not how to nag them about it. You are correct that smokers donít try to ďforce me to smokeĒ but Iím not trying to force them to not smoke.
Garnet Dawn

Indianapolis, IN

#21 May 10, 2006
Nick wrote:
Garnet, Dawn....sooo there is no polite way to encourage my friends to quit smoking? And if I do, then they will avoid me? Iím asking how to talk to people about not smoking, not how to nag them about it. You are correct that smokers donít try to ďforce me to smokeĒ but Iím not trying to force them to not smoke.
If they ask you, then tell them what you think. Generally, unsolicited advice is not appreciated...on any subject. Just be honest...a rehearsed script won't work. Smokers, even the ones who want to quit or just claim they do, are weary to death of being subjected to PR messages and hearing about smoking. Why not just enjoy your friends and quit trying to change them?

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues." - Abraham Lincoln

http://www.illinoissmokersrights.com/

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