Doctors should concentrate on more serious issuesBMJ 1995; 311 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7014.1226 (Published 04 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1226
EDITOR,--I read Martin McKee and Franco Sassi's editorial on the National Lottery with surprise and some concern.1 While I have no argument with the editorial's scientific content, I have some worries about the priority given to the National Lottery as a health issue.Lotteries are nothing new in society: the football pools are similar, as is betting on horse and greyhound racing. It may well be that some people are spending their money “unwisely” in the hope of improving their lifestyles and that some of the people who find themselves winners have problems in coping with this new state. Most of those who participate, however, are responsible people who are knowingly taking a risk. In a society that values empowerment are we now saying that people should take only risks that are good for them? And, if so, what is the risk?
A society in which people no longer have the opportunity to take risks is not a healthy society. Public health practitioners should understand this and should focus their attention on more serious issues. For a start, how about the misery and isolation of elderly people and the hopelessness of young people who are unemployed long term?