Cigarette smoking is expensive, especially for those who smoke. But smoking is only part of the story. Medical illness related to alcohol abuse is another common cause of excess morbidity and mortality with nearly 80,000 premature deaths and over $220 billion dollars per year in total societal cost. What is the cost to society for excessive alcohol consumption? When one considers the medical and societal expenses (health care, productivity losses, criminal justice and other), the American Journal of Preventative Medicine reports the cost to society comes in at just under a whopping $2 per drink, $.80 of which can be attributed to government expenses.
Rest in peace quarter draws. Rest in peace. The picture here is a classic example of palmar erythema, the red color changes seen in patients with advanced liver disease. If you add in the cost of smoking at about $200 billion dollars a year and the cost of not exercising at close to $150 billion dollars a year, I figure we could cut the yearly national deficity in half by taxing tobacco abusers, alcoholics and couch potatoes into submission. Call it the Living The Dream Tax of 2011. It would go nicely with Obama's Breathing Tax.
Here's a little alcohol humor for your enjoyment. Make sure to checkout the entire collection of crude medical ecards from The Happy Hospitalist.
"Patient too drunk to tell me they ain't f***in' drunk. Again."
Some of this post contains humor that may only be understood by some healthcare providers. Read at your own risk.