No thanks for smoking
Felix Qui in his Sept 16 letter, “Sin (taxes) of poor,” has chosen to support his argument with some ill-chosen examples. As far as I am aware, reading classical literature is not detrimental to health. Smoking is, and in the UK the cost of treating smoking-related diseases is enormous. It is only fair that smokers should contribute to those costs since the dangers of their pursuit have been documented for years. By what mechanism should state health services be withheld from such people?
A heavy tax on cigarettes seems to me to be rather more sensible than an impractical, and possibly arbitrary system of medical discrimination. The alternative is to raise taxes generally, but then those who live healthy lifestyles will complain they are subsidising those who do not. If Felix Qui’s answer is the same as that of some American Republicans on the extreme Right, who advocate that people go without any state-funded health service, the poor would be the first to suffer, whether they are smokers or not.