Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Feature Head to head

Should smokers be refused surgery?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 04 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:20

Rapid Response:

Smokers pay more taxes in the UK thus covering their extra care costs.

The complaint that smokers will generate extra care costs after
surgery perhaps does not take the cost of taxation into account.

Cigarettes cost about £5 per 20.
Tax must be about £4 per pack.
A smoker on 100 cigarettes per week is therefore paying £20 per week more
tax than a non smoker per week - on previously taxed income.
Thus £1120 per year extra.
Over 30 years smoking: £33600 at todays prices.

Surely this covers the extra complication rate?

Competing interests:

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 November 2007
Marise A McQueen
Staff grade
Glasgow G11 6NT