Do Smokers and Drinkers Deserve Healthcare – Addiction Example

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"Do Smokers and Drinkers Deserve Healthcare" is a good example of a paper on addiction. The topic of discussion today is Healthcare Delivery to Smokers and Drinkers. This is a very important and sensitive topic because it is not only linked to the healthcare of people, but also to the optimal utilization of resources. Substance Abuse: The Root Cause of Problems Delivery of healthcare to the most deserving people is one of the biggest challenges in front of the actors and participants of the healthcare industry. Huge load and limited budget impart the need to consider a range of factors before reaching the decision as to who should benefit from health care.

Arguably, smoking and drinking are risky behaviours that lead to different kinds of health problems including obesity (Strum and Wells, 2002). In his research, Strum (2002) stated, “ Obesity is associated with a 36 per cent increase in inpatient and outpatient spending and a 77 per cent increase in medications, compared with a 21 per cent increase in inpatient and outpatient spending and a 28 per cent increase in medications for current smokers and smaller effects for problem drinkers” (Sturm, 2002). Do Smokers and Drinkers Deserve Healthcare? Smokers and drinkers knowingly engage in risky behaviours.

Logically, since there is a huge load on and limited resources in the healthcare industry, smokers and drinkers should be the last to deserve healthcare since their indulgence in the risky behaviours is voluntary. What do Doctors think? Many doctors have a very pessimistic view of the delivery of healthcare to smokers and drinkers. This is evident from the fact that 4 in 10 doctors think that liver transplants and heart bypasses should be denied to smokers and drinkers (The Observer, 2006).

Doctors also think that smokers and drinkers should pay the cost of their voluntary indulgence in risky behaviours. “ Four in 10 doctors think smokers and drinkers should pay if they need surgery because of their bad habits” (Wheldon, 2006). Financial Burden Posed by Smokers and Drinkers on the Healthcare Industry Smokers and drinkers pose a huge financial burden on the government and nation as a whole. In 1988, alcohol abuse incurred $85.8 billion to the U. S. health care system, cigarette smoking costs more than $65 billion per year, whereas the costs related to obesity caused by substance abuse exceeds $27 billion annually (Andre, Velasquez, and Mazur, 2014).

These are huge costs that can be totally avoided if people behave more responsible both with respect to the things on which they spend money and with respect to their health. Conclusion                       While the topic is subject to debate, and people might differ in their opinion, yet it makes sense for the healthcare industry to prioritize the delivery of healthcare to nonsmokers and nondrinkers. In addition, the government should take measures to minimize people’ s tendency to engage in such risky health behaviours as smoking and drinking.

This can be achieved by limiting or altogether controlling people’ s access to drugs and narcotics. The change would take time to occur, but eventually, people’ s habits will be changed for the better, and accordingly, the significant decline will be noticed in many other areas including obesity and cancer.


Andre, C., Velasquez, M., and Mazur, T. (2014). Voluntary Health Risks: Who Should Pay?

Santa Clara University. Retrieved from .

Sturm, R. (2002). The effects of obesity, smoking, and drinking on medical problems and costs.

Health Affairs (Project Hope). 21(2), 245-253.

Strum, R., and Wells, K. B. (2002). The Health Risks of Obesity: Worse Than Smoking,

Drinking or Poverty. Rand Corporation. Retrieved from

The Observer. (2006, July 2). Should smokers and drinkers pay for healthcare? The Observer:

Guardian. Retrieved from,,1 810750,00.html.

Wheldon, J. (2006, June). Smokers and drinkers should pay for their health treatment. Mail

Online. Retrieved from drinkers-pay-health-treatment.html.

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