I am not a smoker, never have been one, never will be one. But I do respect people's right to smoke provided that they don't infringe on my right to not second-hand smoke.
I will admit to harassing friends who smoke about their smell, how cold it is outside where they are smoking, and the costs I will have to bear for their health care because of our socialized health system.
Apparently I'm going to have to stop making that third point...
According to a Government of Alberta news release, sent out just minutes ago:
“We need to reduce smoking and the harmful effects of second-hand smoke in our province,” said Dave Hancock, Minister of Alberta Health and Wellness. “Every year, 3,400 Albertans die from tobacco-related causes and the province spends about $471 million on health care costs directly attributed to tobacco use.”That's it? $471-million? That's all?
According to the Alberta government First Quarter Fiscal Update, tobacco taxes are expected to generate $890-million in revenue.
So, in essence, smokers are already over-paying for their health care costs.
I suppose it's not surprising the government left that factoid out of this latest news release.