picture of the day

Puffing away

67 Comments

Smokers overflow from the smoking area set aside for them outside Takadanobaba Station in Tokyo on Wednesday.

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I'm not saying there should not be smoking areas, but they have to be discreetly placed. There is one right next to the world famous statue of Hachiko at Shibuya station. Many world travelers Coke to take photos of the statue only to be overwhelmed by the smell of cigarette smoke and very often the smokers flow into the area around the statue. It's a disgrace!

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Smoking areas are a farce in Japan. Every conbini has a ashtray right NEXT to the entrance.

There is a cafe in Osaka (probably other places too) that has a SIGN that says "smoking area", no glass panel, no wall, no closed off space just a sign sigh.

Nobody follows the rules and I see so many people smoking in areas where it strictly says no smoking. I dont care if you smoke, just don't bother the people around you.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Geez how people can smoke? I know life is stressful but smoke won't fix your problems a long run, better try to fix your life to not smoke. But anyways that just my thoughts.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Agree with the previous two posters: "smoking areas" are a complete farce here. First, there should not be any in public -- PERIOD. Second, if they DO have them, given it's a culture that feels entitled or cannot help itself, then they should be completely closed in rooms, not this open air-garbage that does nothing. Third, non-smoking areas need to be strictly enforced or they mean nothing. I mean, sorry, but those people standing outside the smoking area may be very close to it, but they are still OUTSIDE the smoking area; not to mention of course those that just smoke on platforms under non-smoking area signs or while walking down the street or in the park. Fourth, they need to put them in areas that have no traffic, or little traffic. Putting them at the ENTRANCE to shopping centers, convenience stores, City Halls, etc., means that everyone has to walk THROUGH the plumes of smoke, making the separated smoking areas mean little or nothing at all.

Until at least the latter three conditions are met it is just lip service as usual. I think police passing laws banning all smoking in public outside of closed off smoking sections would be a start. Announce it for half a year or so leading up to the day of, then enforce it with a minimum 500,000 yen fine for violators (perhaps multiple violations if it is near the time of, with warnings).

While we're at it, hurry up and bump up the costs of smokes to minimum 1000 yen/pack, and put on the disgusting pictures as warning labels already.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I quit smoking years ago, but if it wasn't bad for your health, I'd still smoke. I truly enjoy it.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Stinking, dirty, unhealthy, selfish, disgusting habit.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

selfish

How is it selfish?

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

The nicest smoking area I ever encountered (if you consider them nice) was up in Roppongi Hills. I walked down some steps into this open viewing area to get a good picture of Tokyo Tower, then I realized that whole section was actually a smoking area.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How is it selfish?

You can't help but pollute the area around you. Even long after, your clothes, hair and breath stink.

You are ruining your health, to the detriment of your kids' and family's future.
8 ( +15 / -7 )

My heart sinks whenever I see young children in the smoking sections of "family" restaurants. A complete smoking ban in bars and restaurants would be great to see in the run up to 2020. Likelihood?

11 ( +15 / -4 )

You can't help but pollute the area around you.

And if no one is around you, it doesn't matter.

Even long after, your clothes, hair and breath stink.

And if you aren't around anyone, they won't smell it.

That's ignoring the fact that it's anyone's right to smell bad.

-7 ( +12 / -19 )

Geez how people can smoke? I know life is stressful but smoke won't fix your problems a long run, better try to fix your life to not smoke

Unfortunately it's an addiction plain and simple. I've never smoked a day in my life, except maybe the one single time I kept grabbing for a baby-sitters cig when I was a tot and she let me take a puff and I coughed my lungs out. Never thought to touch one since.

Aside from that I still can't stand to be around smokers unless they're using e/vapor cigs. There is no odor and vapors dissipate a lot faster. Considerate smokers vape, inconsiderate smokers... well you see them puffing away on carcinogens like there is no tomorrow totally ignoring how far their habit carries before it actually dissipates.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Having smoking section in restaurant where the room is one big area is like have a peeing section in your public swimming pool.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

How is it selfish?

1 It pollutes the air around you, having a negative effect on the environment of the people in your vicinity.

2 A smoker runs the very strong risk of depriving his/her kids of someone to give sound parental advice for that first job/walk them down the aisle/help them through difficult times. Of depriving his/her grandkids of an indulgent Granpa/Granma who will bounce them on his/her knee and spoil them rotten. Of depriving his/her spouse of the chance to share those moments with him/her.

3 A smoker is likely towards the end of his/her life (and possibly earlier) to take up precious medical time, skill and money that should be being spent on people who have not deliberately made themselves ill.

4 A smoker is literally burning money that could be put to better use elsewhere.

5 Smokers support an industry that makes products that are highly addictive and anti-social, and that maim and kill when used as intended.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

@Cleo 5 Smokers support an industry that makes products that are highly addictive and anti-social, and that maim and kill when used as intended.

Watch the very good movie 'The Insider' if you want to see what a repulsive industry the tobacco industry is.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I quit before I got pregnant with my daughter. I'll never go back but I'll agree with Strangerland, it can quite enjoyable.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

My father, and many of my uncles died from smoking, including one who had quit 20 years before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Lets "...have pity on those whose chances grows thinner..."

@ Strangerland - I know we don't get along here, but I wish you health and long life. Congratz on quitting.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Apparently the benefits of stopping smoking (apart from the cleaner air, which is immediate) start to kick in not long after the last coffin-nail has been ground into the ashtray: after as little as three months the risk of heart attack begins to drop, and lung function begins to improve. After a year, the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a continuing smoker. After 10 years the risk of developing diabetes is similar to that of a never-smoker. After 15 years the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and possibly pancreatic cancer is the same as for a never-smoker.

So good on Strangerland and savethegaijin for quitting when they did.

sensei258 - Sorry to learn about your father and uncles. I lost both parents and my elder brother to smoking. My Mum never got to see her son-in-law or her daughters-in-law, or any of her beautiful grandchildren, on either side of the world. My Dad saw my kids a few times, once in Japan and a couple of times in England, but he never saw them or his other grandkids grow up, do well in school, get good jobs, get married. My brother spent the last two decades of his life an invalid, and was dead before he was old enough to draw his OAP. They missed out on so much, and so do we.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@sensei258 - "have pity on those whose chances grows thinner..."

Good to see a Bob Marley quote on JT. Now let's just hope that Abe returns from Jamaica equally enlightened... ;-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My heart sinks whenever I see young children in the smoking sections of "family" restaurants.

Anytime I see someone smoking around kids, I get angry inside. It's not cool at all.

Having smoking section in restaurant where the room is one big area is like have a peeing section in your public swimming pool.

This is another one I don't like. Usually I just leave if I see the smoking section is not physically separated from the non-smoking section.

It pollutes the air around you, having a negative effect on the environment of the people in your vicinity.

If there is someone in your vicinity. Not all people smoke around others.

A smoker runs the very strong risk of depriving his/her kids of someone to give sound parental advice for that first job/walk them down the aisle/help them through difficult times. Of depriving his/her grandkids of an indulgent Granpa/Granma who will bounce them on his/her knee and spoil them rotten. Of depriving his/her spouse of the chance to share those moments with him/her.

I'm 50/50 on this one. I do agree with your points, however the other side of this is that we each have our lives to live, and expecting someone to live their life for your benefit could also be seen as selfish. That said, I quit when my son was born, for the reasons you give above, and also because I didn't want him to see me smoking as he grew up.

A smoker is likely towards the end of his/her life (and possibly earlier) to take up precious medical time, skill and money that should be being spent on people who have not deliberately made themselves ill.

This is only half true. It's true that smokers can cost money if/when they die of smoking related illness. However, studies have shown that non-smokers cost more money, as they live longer, and use up more resources at end of life.

A smoker is literally burning money that could be put to better use elsewhere.

Their money, their choice. Using one's money the way one wants cannot be considered selfish.

Smokers support an industry that makes products that are highly addictive and anti-social, and that maim and kill when used as intended.

True, but this is an industry issue, and cannot be considered selfish by the smokers.

@ Strangerland - I know we don't get along here, but I wish you health and long life. Congratz on quitting.

Thanks - and though I may disagree with people on their posts, I hold no personal feelings of bad will towards anyone on this site.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Smoking areas are a western concept that have only been implemented to step in line with international standards. Just window dressing. There has never been a true outcry by Japanese to take on smoking head-on...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is only half true. It's true that smokers can cost money if/when they die of smoking related illness. However, studies have shown that non-smokers cost more money, as they live longer, and use up more resources at end of life.

Strangerland - I've seen posters over the years make some bat**** crazy points to support a bad argument.

We have a new champion.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Strangerland - I've seen posters over the years make some bat**** crazy points to support a bad argument.

I'm not making any argument, I'm simply repeating other's arguments:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/03/22/alcohol-obesity-and-smoking-do-not-cost-health-care-systems-money/

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-04-08-fda-tobacco-costs_N.htm

http://financialhighway.com/smoking-good-for-the-economy/

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

smoking do not cost the health care system more, while that may be true there is a moral dilemma, should we continue to let smokers smoke so that they die earlier and not cost the health system more money. or should we help them quit so they can lead a longer healthier more productive life, meaning more taxes to fund government welfare, healthcare. its well know fact that non smokers are more productive and live longer healthier lives

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Strangerland - So 3 very sketchy pieces, which actually argue that tobacco essentially culls our numbers (Honey, its best daddy died. He was using up resources) - is the best you can do?

Instead of 3 articles likely paid for by the tobacco industry, lets try this from the American Cancer Society;

How does tobacco use affect the economy? The tobacco industry is one of the most profitable businesses in the US, making billions of dollars every year. But the costs of smoking are far higher than the income from cigarette sales. The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimated that in 2004, smoking led to health costs and productivity losses totaling an average of $10.47 per pack sold and used in the US.

More recent numbers show that annual smoking-attributable economic costs in the US are estimated to be between $289 to 332.5 billion. This total includes:

$132.5 to 175.9 billion for direct medical care of adults $151 billion for lost productivity due to premature deaths $5.6 billion for lost productivity due to exposure to secondhand smoke

Last Medical Review: 02/13/2014 Last Revised: 02/13/2014

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Would the entire medical industry collapse financially, if suddenly there was no disease and death caused by smoking?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Smoking areas are a western concept that have only been implemented to step in line with international standards. Just window dressing. There has never been a true outcry by Japanese to take on smoking head-on...

Despite the Japanese government still owning 1/3 of one of the giants of the global tobacco industry?

How extraordinary!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Heh, says the guy who has provided absolutely nothing to counter the links I provided.

Glad to win again! I love annoying you.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Jesus the people on here have whine about everything

5 ( +7 / -2 )

sometimes one has to too choose between two evils, passing through the worthless smoking area, typically smack in front of an entrance, or stuck inside a packed train where the person next too you has the worst horrible smell coming from the armpits because they aren't wearing any underarm deodorant?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Smoking areas are a farce in Japan. Every conbini has a ashtray right NEXT to the entrance.

Boy you sound like a Japanese talking about something in gaikokuland! Everything is absolute! AND over exaggerated

No not EVERY conbini, and not NEXT to the entrance either.

I smoke, and I pay attention to where I do and I have yet to see any conbini have an ash tray RIGHT NEXT to an entrance.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

3 very sketchy pieces

Forbes and USAToday sketchy? Yeah, right.

which actually argue that tobacco essentially culls our numbers

Where did I say otherwise?

Instead of 3 articles likely paid for by the tobacco industry

Forbes and USAToday paid for by the tobacco industry? Yeah, right.

lets try this from the American Cancer Society

It doesn't say anything to counter anything I said.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Look, if you smoke, use manners and pay attention to the areas you smoke and pay attention to rules regarding where it's ok and not ok.

If you dont smoke, fine, more power to you, but I promise you this, I won't go out of my way to pollute your air when you are around, so do me a favor and dont got ballistic on me for smoking. I am conscious of your rights, but I also have the right too.

Oh THIS is Japan and NOT gaikokuland. Want to change things here, go for it, but until then I have my rights just as much as you do.......you walk into my smoking space it's your bad not mine.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

As long as you're not littering cigarettes everywhere, I don't have a problem with it. If you're upset about smokers in a restaurant, your frustration should be towards the owners of that business. If people are smoking at designated areas near landmarks, you problem should be with the city. It sounds as if many of you HATE someone simply because they smoke. Personally I've had more bad experiences with drunks, but I don't hate someone simply because they drink.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It is funny how some people who are otherwise liberal-minded seem to become rather illiberal when it comes to smokers. Sure there are inconsiderate smokers and they should be made aware of their behaviour. But it is complete nonsense to outlaw smoking just because it might be dangerous to the smoker. We drive, we play rugby, we ride bicycles, we eat mochi, we eat badly, we don't do enough exercise, we don't take care when we get out the bath, etc, etc. Despite the known risks. Some people are like some kind of odd combination of nannyish and health nazi. And I begin to see why the right is suspicious of liberals.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I thought smoking areas would be a little bit more enclosed with some ventilation. At first, I thought the picture showed people smoking at a bus stop. I remember the days when Mcdonalds had an enclosed smoking room just besides the children's playpen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As ever, I have to agree with Strangerland and decry those who attack him for his correctness because to them, it was not politically correct or suited to their agendas. The truth has few friends.

And of course the cigarettes everyone should be really focused on are those gigantic ones standing on end, towering over cities across the country, more commonly known as "factory smokestacks". You want something to get all indignant about? There they are, poisoning your kids, all day and all night long.

I would happily have my kid live in a house with a moderate smoker of American Spirits if only all those damned smokestacks would vanish.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

How can anyone ignore/defend the effects of second-hand smoke? Smoking in public and/or in front of others is selfish.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Gon MikeSEP. 30, 2015 - 10:37PM JST

Stuart wrote As long as you're not littering cigarettes everywhere, I don't have a problem with it. If you're upset about smokers in a restaurant, your frustration should be towards the owners of that business. If people are smoking at designated areas near landmarks, you problem should be with the city. It sounds as if many of you HATE someone simply because they smoke. Personally I've had more bad experiences with drunks, but I don't hate someone simply because they drink.

Gone Mike wrote If you have problem with smokers in the restaurant , Get out of it don't enforce things on other people's throat

< Though you copied & pasted my comment you must not have read it clearly, I never suggested what you said. I clearly wrote that I don't have a problem with smokers as long as they don't litter. My comment about smoking at restaurants and landmarks was in responce to previous posters. >

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is only half true. It's true that smokers can cost money if/when they die of smoking related illness. However, studies have shown that non-smokers cost more money, as they live longer, and use up more resources at end of life.

@Stranger I'd rather die of cake poisoning and high cholesterol from fatty steaks than the combination of that and cancer, and CPOD,HBP, and all the other problems that arise from it. But you sir, have made the wise choice. One day just go on a hike somewhere mountains somewhere and take a deep clean breath of fresh air. Also food tastes better when your olfactory senses aren't being muddled up by cig smoke.

And of course the cigarettes everyone should be really focused on are those gigantic ones standing on end, towering over cities across the country, more commonly known as "factory smokestacks". You want something to get all indignant about? There they are, poisoning your kids, all day and all night long.

@Peace that's a poor attempt at trying to divert attention from a preventable habit. The problem is those damned smokestacks are natural by-product of manufacturing and actually produce something useful and beneficial to society in the end. As well as legislature being passed to reduce the amount of pollution industrial waste creates and finding better ways to cut it down. At least something is being done about it. Tobacco smoke on the other hand is something that you yourself are responsible for and have the ability to quit. Also there are absolutely NO benefits to yourself or others from smoking. At the very least, learn to vape.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Stuart wrote As long as you're not littering cigarettes everywhere, I don't have a problem with it. If you're upset about smokers in a restaurant, your frustration should be towards the owners of that business. If people are smoking at designated areas near landmarks, you problem should be with the city. It sounds as if many of you HATE someone simply because they smoke. Personally I've had more bad experiences with drunks, but I don't hate someone simply because they drink.

that's their country littering the cigarette is not your business it's japanese constitution who decides whether it is acceptable or not as long as they are in their territory

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Also there are absolutely NO benefits to yourself or others from smoking.

That's a nonsense comment, isn't it? The dangers of smoking are fairly clear. The benefits can surely only be expressed by those who benefit, and which must exclude non smokers. The natural response to your comment might be, "You don't know what you're talking about."

Smoking is reported to improve brain function. A vague idea, but isn't it odd that smokers tend to be concentrated among the poor and the creative? Non-smokers tend to concentrate among joggers and cyclists whose contribution to humanity is questionable. I suspect it's shocking to consider the idea that smokers might be more beneficial to society than yourself. But I'd take Richard Feynman over yourself any day.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

People has the right to smoke if they want. Even it don't benefits them. I prefer them in the smoking area rather than smoking on the street like in North America and Europe. BUT there are areas like in Shibuya station where it's way too close to the people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smoking is reported to improve brain function. A vague idea, but isn't it odd that smokers tend to be concentrated among the poor and the creative? Non-smokers tend to concentrate among joggers and cyclists whose contribution to humanity is questionable. I suspect it's shocking to consider the idea that smokers might be more beneficial to society than yourself. But I'd take Richard Feynman over yourself any day.

@Albaleo, This has got to be THE dumbest thing I've ever heard... well I'll say it's one of THE dumbest things I've ever heard. Phillip-Morris and other tobacco corporations would love you, because you'd believe anything they'd say. As a health care worker, I get to see the end results of this kind of stupidity. Well, assuming that you're a smoker you're the one that is in for the most problems in life that you could have easily avoided if you'd taken better care of yourself.

Smoke away, but remember there are always consequences for those kind's of choices. When those associated health problems start cropping up all over your body (if they haven't already), ask your doctor what helped caused them to happen. First they'll probably tell you is, "You should stop smoking". When things really start going bad for you health-wise, don't feel sorry for yourself, because you could have listened but chose not to. Some folks don't listen until the bill-collector comes and says it's time to pay the debt. Good Luck to you.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Smoke if you wish, but first make absolutely sure that your smoke is not entering other people's air space, including those in the apartment upstairs or at the next table in a restaurant. I'm not sure how you can do that in a crowded city, but you're the one lighting a bonfire in your mouth, so it's absolutely your responsibility.

I don't care what nicotine addicts do their own bodies, or whether they die young or old. I just don't give a damn. I do care about second-hand smoke, especially where children are present. I care about fires caused by careless idiots smoking in bed or tossing lighted butts out of cars. I care about the filthy litter scattered by fools who think the world is their ashtray.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Smoking is reported to improve brain function.

In the past it's been said to do lots of things (calm the nerves, help weight loss etc.) but the idea of smoking improving brain function is so obviously wrong, only a smoker could come up with it. If smoking did improve brain function, then the improved brain function would allow the smoker to realise that smoking was a mug's game. The fact that smokers persist in their vile, stinky, destructive habit is evidence that brain function is not improved.

Gon Mike, what are you on about? What have zainichi to do with smoking?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I begin to see why the right is suspicious of liberals.

What does this have to do with liberalism?

@Stranger I'd rather die of cake poisoning and high cholesterol from fatty steaks than the combination of that and cancer, and CPOD,HBP, and all the other problems that arise from it.

Me too - which is why I'm glad I don't smoke anymore. But there seems to be some confusion. I didn't state an opinion that it's better to smoke because it's cheaper for the medical system, I just pointed out the facts that smokers cost less to the system, as a counter to the argument that it's selfish to smoke because it costs the system more. It doesn't actually cost the system more.

Smoking is reported to improve brain function. A vague idea, but isn't it odd that smokers tend to be concentrated among the poor and the creative?

If this is true (and I'm skeptical), you would have to show that smoking causes this creativity, and that creative people aren't just more likely to be those who would smoke. Correlation does not equal causation.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

the idea of smoking improving brain function

I've heard that beginning smokers experience heightened alertness, improved clarity of thought and a sense of well-being. But after a couple of packs, the addiction takes hold and they need their next fix just to get back to where they were before they let the nicotine monkey climb on their backs. At that stage, the only way smoking improves brain function is by shutting up the little nicotine voice in your head for a short while so you can concentrate on what you're doing instead of thinking about your next hit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This has got to be THE dumbest thing I've ever heard.

@HonestDictator Why? Because it goes against your established ideas of political correctness?

We had basically the same responses to all the benefits of marijuana. "No, they couldn't be true, because only unwashed hippies smoke marijuana!" Nonsense.

the idea of smoking improving brain function is so obviously wrong, only a smoker could come up with it.

@cleo I am not a smoker. But I am here to tell you that such a thing requires scientific study. You cannot dismiss it because you don't like the idea, or because you can play clever word smith letting your preconceived PC notions guide you.

I would not even be so fast to dismiss placebo effect on this one.

Again, I am a non-smoker. I hate cigarettes too. I hate people who throw their butts out their car window and I have twice retrieved them at red lights and handed them back to the self-centered knobs who tossed them. I stepped on lit buds twice in bare feet as a child. I often rode in the car with my chain smoking grandparents and when we arrived at our destination and opened the car doors, the billowing smoke was like a scene from a Cheech and Chong movie. The last time I kissed a smoker, it was like kissing an ashtray. (She was hot though, and I bet if she stopped smoking, she would gain so much weight she would cease to be hot).

Yeah, I hate cigarettes. But I don't ride any bandwagons. Those are for the weak of mind.

The biggest problem with cigarettes is not in the tobacco. Its in the garbage they lace the tobacco with. That should be what the vanguard should be attacking, because it would be easier to get Philipp Morris to clean up their product than get them to abandon it.

Other problems can be mitigated by technology. You cannot tell me that Japan cannot afford to have fans and filters to suck up the smoke in smoking areas.

And last of all, this killer second hand smoke business. Yeah, in a crowded club its awful. But outside? Give me a freaking break! With cars going by and those smokestacks pumping, you got to be off your damned rocker to be whining about second hand smoke! Its like two ISIS militants, where one points out an incoming Hellfire missile. Then the other one complains about this damned fly that won't leave him alone! Wake up!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I just pointed out the facts that smokers cost less to the system, as a counter to the argument that it's selfish to smoke because it costs the system more. It doesn't actually cost the system more.

You didn't provide any figures to back up your 'facts'; how much in fact does a smoker cost the system, compared to a non-smoker? Do your 'facts' include working time lost to 'smoke breaks', not to mention the time off for medical treatment of smokers' ailments? My brother spend over 20 years as an invalid; during that time, in addition to the medical care he received and the disability allowance he was able to claim, his lack of earnings meant that he paid nothing in income taxes, nothing in welfare insurance premiums; and when he wasn't occupying a hospital bed, he was taking up the time of the local health visitor. In contrast, the healthy person who lives long enough to die of old age will have been a productive member of society, paying his taxes and dues. Taking it all into account, would you still say the shorter-lived smoking invalid costs society less?

I am here to tell you that such a thing requires scientific study. You cannot dismiss it because you don't like the idea

It requires no more scientific study than the idea that banging your head against a brick wall doesn't hurt. It isn't that I 'don't like' the idea; it's that the idea is so blooming obviously incorrect.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

You didn't provide any figures to back up your 'facts';

I provided links that contain the figures.

how much in fact does a smoker cost the system, compared to a non-smoker?

The lifetime costs were in Euros:

Healthy: 281,000

Obese: 250,000

Smokers: 220,000

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/03/22/alcohol-obesity-and-smoking-do-not-cost-health-care-systems-money/

A Dutch study published last year in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal said that health care costs for smokers were about $326,000 from age 20 on, compared to about $417,000 for thin and healthy people.

Link: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-04-08-fda-tobacco-costs_N.htm

Do your 'facts' include working time lost to 'smoke breaks'

No, but that isn't what we were talking about, we were talking about end of life. As you said:

A smoker is likely towards the end of his/her life (and possibly earlier) to take up precious medical time, skill and money that should be being spent on people who have not deliberately made themselves ill.

not to mention the time off for medical treatment of smokers' ailments?

Yes, the numbers do in fact seem to take this into consideration (see above).

Taking it all into account, would you still say the shorter-lived smoking invalid costs society less?

I'm not the one 'saying' it - I'm pointing out what studies have shown.

It requires no more scientific study than the idea that banging your head against a brick wall doesn't hurt. It isn't that I 'don't like' the idea; it's that the idea is so blooming obviously incorrect.

But is it? I'm skeptical myself, but I agree, studies would be needed (if they haven't already been done) to prove/disprove the idea.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Peace Out

And last of all, this killer second hand smoke business. Yeah, in a crowded club its awful. But outside? Give me a freaking break!

Are you old enough to remember what the world was like before people complained about second-hand smoke? Unlike you I'm not an expert on fluid mechanics, but my nose tells me that smoke can stay quite concentrated in outdoor locations, especially on crowded streets and between high buildings. Nor am I an expert on medicine, but I take the warnings about cancer and heart disease very seriously. The thing is, the experts can't tell whether it's your first puff of tobacco smoke or your last that gives you the disease, so I'd like to avoid all smoke. I want to die of my own vices, not some other idiot's.

cars going by and those smokestacks pumping

Both car exhausts and smokestacks have become far cleaner over the past few decades (apart from VWs!), but cigarettes have stayed the same, apart from the harmful additives they put in to increase addictiveness. Yes, there are other hazards in the air. So it makes sense to add yet another, right?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It requires no more scientific study than the idea that banging your head against a brick wall doesn't hurt. It isn't that I 'don't like' the idea; it's that the idea is so blooming obviously incorrect.

Requires no scientific study? In equally abysmally evidence defunct reasoning as you have provided, did you know Einstein was a smoker? He smoked pipes, cigarettes and cigars. He died at 76 from an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which "may" have been caused by smoking, or maybe not. He could have lived longer if he opted for surgery, but he consciously decided to die. Had he had surgery, one has to wonder what else would have killed him and when. 76 is above average for death in men even today.

He said "I believe that pipe smoking contributes to a somewhat calm and objective judgment in all human affairs."

Look up "Will a Nicotine Patch Make You Smarter?" from the Scientific American. It turns out that, apparently, nicotine prevents Parkinson's disease.

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Einstein was a smoker

He died before there was any real evidence of a linkage between smoking and cancer, etc. In any case, he was a physicist not a physician, so I wouldn't regard him as an expert on the health effects of smoking. I think he would have been horrified if he'd known that fumes from his pipes and cigars were potentially harming those around him.

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@Alan From the wiki on Tobacco smoking: "German scientists identified a link between smoking and lung cancer in the late 1920s, leading to the first anti-smoking campaign in modern history,"

Not that that has any bearing on the effects of nicotine on the brain, whether positive or negative.

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I provided links that contain the figures.

All three links talked about medical costs. The USAToday page made a vague reference to the cost of 'lost productivity', and the Financial Highway page tried to claim that cigarette/tobacco taxes are a significant direct contribution to the medical costs of smokers. Forbes makes no mention of lost social contributions, but states that healthy people run up medical costs of 281,000 Euros while smokers are a bargain at only 220,000 Euros. That's a difference of 61,000 Euros over a lifetime, about 8 million yen in real money.

A study conducted by Ohio State University, taking into account medical costs, lost productivity and pension 'gains' from premature deaths, concluded that smokers cost their employers roughly $6,000 more annually than non-smoking employees. Assuming the smokers all drop dead at age 40 (and they don't, of course, many of them cough and wheeze their way into retirement) that's a cost of $120,000, or 14.5 million yen, or 107,500 Euros.

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What does that, have to do with this:

A smoker is likely towards the end of his/her life (and possibly earlier) to take up precious medical time, skill and money that should be being spent on people who have not deliberately made themselves ill.

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@HonestDictator Why? Because it goes against your established ideas of political correctness?

Political correctness? What are you talking about!? I'm sorry but health has nothing to do with PC. It's about living with a lot less health concerns, instead of causing yourself and others unnecessary health issues by a stupid and blatantly addictive habit.

How do you figure that steam and humidity dissipates a lot faster than smoke? Humidity contains the same molecules as air, smoke does not.

According to your "logic", the smoke from a forest fire or a burning building shouldn't be detectable by smell for less than a block away. Just last month there was a forest fire burning away in Washington state... I live in the state of Colorado, and it smelled of smoke for almost a week from a place literally hundreds of miles away.

Many smokers are also not aware of the possibility that people around them that may have serious respiratory diseases such as asthma, and chronic bronchitis, and how badly their second hand smoke can aggravate their conditions. Appears it's killing more than enough brain cells though.

For the record, I used to have 2 aunts, a grandmother, and 3 Uncles... They smoked themselves to an early grave. None lived past 65.

@Cleo, its better to check out and see who the backers of a lot of this research belong too. The tobacco companies have no shortage of money (at least in the US) to try and make lies into "fact".

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What does that, have to do with this:

A smoker is likely towards the end of his/her life (and possibly earlier) to take up precious medical time, skill and money that should be being spent on people who have not deliberately made themselves ill.

It has to do with this -

I just pointed out the facts that smokers cost less to the system, as a counter to the argument that it's selfish to smoke because it costs the system more. It doesn't actually cost the system more.

It does cost the system more. And it's all self-inflicted.

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It does cost the system more.

The system we were talking about was the medical system, in regards to end-of-life care. You were the one who brought that up. Now you are shifting the goalposts, and moving to productivity within companies.

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The system we were talking about was the medical system

The medical system is not a stand-alone, it's a part of the overall social system. In the US I don't know, maybe people get only the medical services they (or their company) can afford to pay for, but in both Japan and the UK the medical system is publicly funded, from both taxes and social contributions. If a person is less productive on account of his smoking-induced illness/disability, he earns less which means he pays less tax and lower social premiums. If the coffin nails make him unable to work, he not only pays no tax and no social premiums, he gets a disability/unemployment allowance. All that affects what goes into/comes out of the medical system.

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Concerning "improved brain function"

If this is true (and I'm skeptical), you would have to show that smoking causes this creativity, and that creative people aren't just more likely to be those who would smoke. Correlation does not equal causation.

@Strangerland, I'm skeptical too, but I don't think there is any notion that smoking "causes" creativity. But there is a notion that smoking (or nicotine) makes creative people become more productive. I think most smokers will testify that smoking helps you to focus or concentrate when there are a lot of difficult things on your mind.

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Again, you seem to be attributing someone else's posts to me.

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I think most smokers will testify that smoking helps you to focus or concentrate when there are a lot of difficult things on your mind.

Uh no. Part of addiction (because that's what it is) is that many smokers are stressed and agitated because they haven't had their fix. Because it is an addiction they'll feel less agitated once their brain has been "settled" from a dose. People that smoke mostly feel stressed out, and believe it's "calming" them when all it is, is the basic reaction of an addictive drug.

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and believe it's "calming" them when all it is, is the basic reaction of an addictive drug (emphasis added)

And you know this how?

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And you know this how?

albaleo - the myth that nicotine helps people focus or has a "calming" effect was debunked decades ago. A 10 second Google search will answer your question

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@clamenza

the myth that nicotine helps people focus or has a "calming" effect was debunked decades ago.

What's with the "debunking" thing. This crops up a lot these days in "scientific" discussions. Anyway, I've read that stuff. And I'd agree that's it's partly true, in the sense that addiction itself is stress inducing. But the studies generally don't address the initial cause of the addiction. All addictive substances have a brain effect. Typically these are intoxicating effects causing what we sometimes call a "high". Nicotine is different in that it doesn't intoxicate. I've described the effect as helping focus and concentration when under stress. How would you describe it? If you describe any effect as a "myth", I'd argue that you are saying it isn't addictive.

By the way, I don't advocate smoking. Just the opposite. But it would be willful ignorance to ignore its positive effects.

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