Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Head to head

Should smokers be refused surgery?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39059.503495.68 (Published 04 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:20

Re: An Incomplete Argument For Denying Treatment

Well said Mark Sheehan - you beat me to it.

The hidden criterion here seems to be that smokers 'make a lifestyle
choice' and hence bring disfavour upon themselves. If one doubts my claim
that this unspoken criterion operates in Peters' argument , then one need
simply substitute 'lower social class', or 'ethnic minority' , or
'elderly', or 'more seriously advanced disease' wherever he uses the word
'smoker'.

But smokers do not have an entirley free choice, such is the nature
of their addiction. And, of course, to those who have argued the case for
insuring risks appropriately, smokers DO pay extra premiums in tax.

Dr Sam Lewis

Competing interests:
a doctor and a smoker

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 January 2007
L S Lewis
GP
Surgery, Newport, Pembrokeshire SA42 0TJ