Before it becomes an addiction, smoking is a choice.
Smoking costs Switzerland around CHF 10 billion a year. Tobacco taxes, which raise around CHF 2 billion a year are used to pay disability welfare.
The annual healthcare costs related to tobacco in Switzerland are around CHF 1.7 billion, more than CHF 200 per resident. However, despite the known health risks, smokers pay no more for compulsory Swiss health insurance, increasing the price everyone pays.
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If smoking costs the country around CHF10 billion each year, and annual health costs due to smoking are around CHF 1.7 billion, is anyone able to elucidate us as to where and how the residual CHF8.3 billion is spent? Even sweeping up the mountain of fag-butts each day cannot cost that much, surely?!
I agree absolutely that people who make the choice not to smoke should be ‘compensated’ by paying lower medical premiums than smokers do. Any incentives to reduce the usage of the eye-wateringly expensive Swiss healthcare providers – and thus the eventual costs to the wider public – are sorely lacking in CH. The concept of ‘solidarité’ applies – which is admirable in principle, but unfair in practice. A person that keeps themselves fit, does not smoke, does not drink heavily or take drugs (dull as that may sound to many!) and therefore probably costs the state far less than people who do not value good health, is charged exactly the same as those who burden the system with respiratory diseases, obesity, diabetes and other ‘modern lifestyle’ conditions. I suspect this situation is unlikely to change while the Swiss medical profession, including the insurers and their shareholders, make such a handsome living. I mean, since we (or for many, our employers) pay such heavy obligatory premiums, why not get some value back by visiting expensive specialists as often as possible, not so?