Why do smokers get the breaks??

@Debs_place (10524)
United States
June 27, 2009 1:12pm CST
I keep hearing smokers complain their rights are being violated when restaurants and malls ban smoking in them. Yet, here in New York, once again smokers can get free Nicorette gum and patches to help them quit. Well obesity is on the rise in the US, almost 70 million people are obese. They are discriminated against when it comes to getting jobs and in other areas. They are often looked down upon by other people as being weak willed or not caring. If someone wants to eat healthy, it costs more money. Yet no one will help the person trying to lose weight. If people attend meeting such as Weight Watchers or TOPS, why can't they be given some additional help (like smokers get) such as vouchers to go to the market or farmer's market to get get fresh fruits and veggies. Or other ways to help them lose weight? Or even a tax break if they lose 10% of their weight. Can you explain this disparity?? Can you tell me why smokers get better treatment? Do you think the government should be distributing the gum and patches to help smokers? Why should non-smokers pay to help them quit?
8 people like this
18 responses
@winterose (39914)
• Canada
27 Jun 09
I think it is because smoking has been recognized as an addiction, where obesity has not, more and more research is coming out that obesity is a disease but most people still think just stop stuffing your face and you will not have problems, it is not fair but such is life and I don't see it changes very soon.
2 people like this
@pyewacket (44032)
• United States
28 Jun 09
That's not necessarily true winterose. Obesity can be just as an addictive behavior as smoking especially if one is eating as a "comfort" thing. I was watching a segment of Oprah where she had 16 very overweight children on as guests and the question was, "What is eating you?' Many people do become addicted to eating to solve psychological problems...resentments, anger, depression a feeling of low self-worth--and they turn to food for comfort therefore an addiction. Yes in many cases obesity is a disease and inherited from the parents who will most likely be overweight but for many it's also an addiction
2 people like this
@winterose (39914)
• Canada
28 Jun 09
of course it can be addictive, and we all know about the psychological problems I am referring to the newest research where they are finding more and more that there is biological areas in the brain that are affect such as the limbic system, either the amygdala or hippocamus as the variations I forget now which one it is but it is one of them this is what I am talking about.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jun 09
I am a smoker, but I will try to make my opinion as unbiased as possible. I think both programs should be available. Most of the reason why some people are obese is that junk food is immensely cheaper than foods that are healthy for you. However, I believe that the government in New York is giving assistance to smokers, is that smoking is a disease that not only affect the smoker and the families health, but everyone who is around him/her in society. Although there are dire health risks with obesity as well, the reach of the health effects is not as wide.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
27 Jun 09
That is not true, a child learns their eating habits from their parents. I remember eating rice and sugar for breakfast, veggies were rare in my house and especially fresh ones. Fruit was something we were told we had to eat at night, 1 piece. If I got 2 servings of fruit and veggies a day it was a lot. I learned to eat poorly, my parents were poor, we could not afford otherwise. Now I eat 3 or 4 servings of fruit and veggies by lunch. I am losing weight but it is hard to lose what I learned as a child.
2 people like this
• United States
27 Jun 09
That is exactly what I meant. People that are obese only affect themselves and their families, through exactly what you said, passing on bad eating habits. But the smoker affects himself, his family, the person he sits next to waiting on the bus, and basically everyone that comes within his smoke radius.
1 person likes this
@heathcliff (1415)
• United States
27 Jun 09
As a taxpayer I don't have a problem helping smokers quit, partly because I think it is the right thing to do morally, but also for the longterm economic effect on the health care system. It would seem to me that the same arguments apply to helping people lose weight. I have only recently begun to struggle with my weight but I know it would be nice to have a free program to give people a boost. It took a long time for smoking to be considered bad for the entire health care system and hopefully it will not be much longer until obesity gets the same treatment.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
28 Jun 09
I don't have a problem helping them either...but it should go both ways. Most smokers don't seem to care. My SIL has emphysema and kept on smoking until she was hospitalized because of it. She used the patches and gum to quit but then figured no big deal, it was free anyhow.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jun 09
I know a girl who was apart of the program the state (?) provides to quit smoking, you going to counseling session they give you prescription for pills that are supposed to curb your craving but as soon as you stop taking them you crave again, she is smoking again after a month of stopping.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
27 Jun 09
So obviously that is not money well spent. Which is even more aggravating.
1 person likes this
@Christoph56 (1507)
• Canada
28 Jun 09
Smokers get better treatment??? It may be more where I am, up in Canada, but smokers are constantly insulted for what they do. They disgust people all around them when those other people see their addiction to the chemicals, and while getting this bad treatment, and harming themselves by smoking, they're chemically addicted to it, so it's not easy to stop. In the direction of giving out free gum or patches, thats really a marketing ploy. Both gum and patches are addictive like nicotine, so when you get on them, you gotta keep paying the company for an unknown amount of time. It's like giving out taste-tests. To do that for overweight people to loose weight, has no benefits to the company. If a fat person wants to get their weight down, they'll eat less, which means that you (as the companies making food) won't make as much money. Something like a 10% off coupon to a farmer's market out to fat people wouldn't be a bad idea, though... because if a fat person goes to a farmers market, theres a good chance they'll be buying A LOT of food. Now that's marketing...
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
28 Jun 09
There is a good chance they will be buying healthier food and filling up on that and eating less too. It is not easy to stop eating, especially when cheap, unhealthy food is so plentiful.
• Canada
28 Jun 09
But healthy food is plentiful, and extremely cheap! The other day, I was out in the town, and really hungry, so I went to the nearest fruit and vegetable place, and picked up 2 oranges a nectarine, a bottle of water, a bottle of ice tea, and a little snack for desert. The whole thing filled me up as much as a usual meal, and only cost me $3.50 (maybe more like $2.90 american) A lot of times when I see fruit and vegies, they're less then a dollar per pound! That is WAY cheaper then any kind of unhealthy food... it's even cheaper then getting a full meal at McDonalds. I don't think the price is the issue, I think it's what they want to eat.
• United States
28 Jun 09
I am not sure about New York. In Texas, there is no place that gives anything to smokers. Someone with a weight problem is more likely to receive help here, than a smoker. Smokers, are not looked good upon by the next person, so i guess that really would depend on where you live.
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
28 Jun 09
That is interesting that smokers are looked down upon in Texas...remember the Marlboro man, he sure looks like he could be from Texas. Is texas doing anything to help anyone at all?
@andy77e (5163)
• United States
28 Jun 09
It is the right of the state and city, respectively, under our constitution to pass whatever laws the publicly elected officials choose to pass. I would never support those types of laws here in Hilliard Ohio. If the public disagrees with those laws, they should vote differently, or move out of the city. Let the people who voted for it in those cities, stay and pay for what they voted for. As for explaining the disparity, it's simply politics. Smoking was the big cry of the late 90s. Obesity was not. When you put politics in charge of anything, whichever topic has the most play (and thus the most votes) wins out. Same thing happens in health care. Funding for AIDs is many times that of other illnesses that harm millions more people. Why? Because political groups, 20 somethings with too much time on their hands, and gay groups, who are most effected by their actions and don't want to face the consequences of their choices, protest and complain a lot.
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
28 Jun 09
I wish I could just pick up and move..it is easier said than done. I think you are right, smoking and AIDs have been hot buttons for a long time and that is why they get the attention.
@GardenGerty (109818)
• United States
28 Jun 09
When I saw the title I thought that you literally meant, "Why do smokers get breaks (at work)?" I have heard of various places where you get breaks to go out and smoke, usually outside of the building and possibly off the premises. No break at that time if you do not smoke. As far as health breaks for dieters, I have a program through my insurance that offers me rewards for tracking my health and even more rewards for achieving health related goals like lower cholesterol and losing weight. They are supposed to reimburse part of my Y membership as well. I am glad it is a private company, and not the government, though. If it was the government they would surely find some way to foul it all up.
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
28 Jun 09
I can get reimbursed supposedly for my weight watchers meetings but I have to go to the doc every month to say I still need it and get a special form filled out. The form is not available on the website, the link is broken. And going to the doc, spending time there with a $30 co-pay just doesn't seem worth it.
@lingli_78 (12841)
• Australia
28 Jun 09
it is actually a very good point to make deb... i had been wondering about the same thing as well since the obesity rate here is very high... in fact, i heard that we are now number one in the world for the most number of obese people... US used to be number one and we beat them... :-) should we be proud or...??? anyway, the government here is doing everything they can to reduce the obesity rate as it started to get out of hand... junk food is banned entirely from school canteen, healthy eating is promoted everywhere, kids lunchbox is being inspected to make sure that they are eating correctly and the latest news i head is the government will be paying obese people a certain amount of money to encourage them to lose weight... take care and have a nice day...
1 person likes this
28 Jun 09
Hi Debs_place, Smoking is an addiction and obesity is not, its just greedynes encourageed by the goverments with fast food resturants but the smokers do pay for their patches and Nicorettes gums, well in this country you don't nothing free and its cost more than a packet of cigeretts,I still think smokers gets a raw deal in this. Tamara
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
28 Jun 09
How can you say obesity is not an addiction? There are people that are food addicts (discovery health channel I think). It is easier for smokers, you don't have to smoke but you have to eat. How can smokers get a raw deal in NY when they get help for free?
@threnos (216)
• Canada
27 Jun 09
You have asked a very good question! I have often wondered why smokers seem to get the breaks but people who are obese seem not to. They have to purchase extra seats on the airplanes now I hear, also. They also are discriminated against, even for something as simple as a role in a movie. To eat healthy costs a lot of money. For instance: a bottle of cola costs far less than a bottle of V8. When you are on a limited budget that can make all the difference. You can't kill someone with second hand obesity but you can kill them with second hand smoke!
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
27 Jun 09
Well would 2nd hand obesity include having your children eat poorly because it is more affordable and that is teaching them how to eat and gain weight. So yes you can kill them that way.
@OConnell87 (1045)
27 Jun 09
i think obese people do not get that equality like the vouchers you mentioned because i don't think the government have actually thought about that, and its very true, i'm trying to lose weight and i'm currently unemployed since leaving uni last month, so i can't afford to buy fresh fruit and veg, I think you should seriously propose this idea to whom it may concern i.e. mp or whatever i think it could be a big hit
1 person likes this
@Debs_place (10524)
• United States
27 Jun 09
Thank you. I too am trying to lose weight and so is my husband. We are finding that eating healthier is very expensive. We no longer buy junk but that is not enough of a savings. I now am facing increased food costs but I need new clothing, my jeans now can be removed without unsnapping or unzipping so you can guess how they look. I am opting to continue wearing them so that I can continue to buy healthy food but it doesn't seem right.
@katsmeow1213 (29041)
• United States
13 Jan 10
Losing weight isn't as hard as quitting smoking, nor as expensive. Junk food really isn't any cheaper than regular food, it's just easier. You just have to know how to shop right. Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to buy fresh produce. Canned and frozen veggies are still veggies just the same. Actually eating healthier should be cheaper because you're not buying soda anymore, you're drinking water (tap water is just fine for drinking, or buy a water filter), and you're not buying fast food or other junk, and you're not eating large portion sizes. Basically the only thing you need in order to lose weight is some knowledge of how to do it. If you make a mistake one night and have a brownie, it's okay, the next day you can get back on your dieting routine. But with quitting smoking it's so much harder (I've done both, so I know). Eating less doesn't cause physical changes, but when you stop smoking you get angry and irritable. It's hard not to go for a smoke to calm yourself down and feel better. It's an addiction that is extremely hard to break! Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I've ever done. The worst of it is, if you mess up and have a smoke, you're done for! You can't go back to quitting the next day. Instead you go back to smoking full time! After 3 months I'm still on my dieting plan and have lost 60 pounds. It only took me 4 months to go back to smoking.
@zed_k4 (17624)
• Singapore
7 Aug 09
I understand what you feel about this. There are so many things out there that need to be looked into and not just for the smokers. The only free program that I've seen so far for obesity would be those clubs in school where students are chosen or elect themselves to join in order to lose weight. There should be more 'help' rendered, or vouchers and etc. I welcome the idea too to help obesity persons..
@taface412 (3175)
• United States
2 Jul 09
I have never heard of the gum and patches being free...and I wish they were. But right now the patches and gum is cheaper than smoking period. And as for the eating healthy being expensive...well yes and no. I know because I am cheap as cheap can be and I have also found livign healthy is cheaper. Nowdays you can grow your own veggies, even in the apratments with the lovely topsy turvy LOL, and you can visit local produce stands...much cheaper than the stores and you get fresher and healthier veggies. Also if you ignore all the diet fades (except Weight Watchers they are the closest to a healthy diet plan, because they reteach you how to eat, and still eat what you want.) But here is a tip without dumping a load of money into those plans. Go to your local library and look up the cookbooks, and healthbooks offered by the American Diabetic and American Heart Associations. They are not bland recipes, and they are packed with tons of tips on how to eat what you want without gaining weight.... Oh and another plus to eating healthier...less salt...which actually makes you think your body is hungry when it really is thristy. Oh and as a soon to be ex smoker....don't think for one minute there is special treatment to me and my former comrades. In fact there is more ifgnorance and discrimination towards smokers than nons would like to think.
• Philippines
30 Jun 09
Well, that's a good point. I guess government has to do something with this one.
• Philippines
29 Jun 09
Smoking is really bad to our health that's why your government really to save that smokers.
• United States
29 Jun 09
Hi Debs, I am a smoker and its doesn't bother me not to smoke in places. I can wait till I am done with whatever it is I am doing then smoke once I am outside. But if they try to banned smoking all together they will have a mess on there hands. I am glad I have my Wii fitness to exercise to. I eat a lot of veggies and fruits. But other diets i can't afford to pay for. I understand and agree with you when it comes down to people needing help to lose weight and they aren't getting the help.