The rising cost of Smoking

An anti-smoking message painted on a pedestria...

An anti-smoking message painted on a pedestrian crossing in the Orchard Road area in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The price of cigarettes is set to rise again, and while I support anti-smoking and awareness campaigns, I remain dubious that the prices will really put that many people off. This has been tried before and an addiction is an addiction whatever the price. Smokers already accumulate huge annual spending on their habit, yet this is not usually a sole reason for quitting, and one must want to quit to have the endurance to do so successfully.

My main concern is that smoking has been largely associated with poverty or low-income areas, where countless studies have shown that there are higher rates of smoking and obesity, and has been attributed to the fact junk food is generally cheaper than healthy foods, and a lack of sufficient education/awareness surrounding smoking and nutrition. This is despite research showing there are more smoking support facilities in lower-income areas, perhaps more to suit demand than strategically placed as a preventative measure. Will getting these people to spend more really help them? Would they be discouraged from smoking? Or merely encouraged to spend more on their addiction, and less on something more beneficial such as a decent meal.

Something I feel would have been more beneficial than hiking up the prices is the idea of having more graphic images on the packets. The proposed images include that of a smoker’s corpse in the morgue, which is of course extreme and controversial, hence this idea was rejected by the court as a violation of the consumer’s rights. But I happen to think that it is a consumer’s rights to know and see fully the reality of what they are buying into, doing to themselves, and what effect it will undoubtedly (not “maybe”) have on their body, it is not a lucky dip with which smoker doesn’t develop cancer, because regardless of cancer, all smokers will detriment and reduce their health and breathing capacity significantly. And rather than the packets saying “Smoking can kill you”, a more accurate summary would be “Smoking will kill you, sooner or later*” with the small-print “*Unless you get hit by a bus first”.

I’m also in full support of the idea discussed a while back in a BMJ article that postmortem/autopsy certificates should have a cause of death label ‘Smoking’, rather than just merely ‘lung cancer’ or similar, as some people develop these with no self-induced cause. It is already undeniable that smoking is the top cause of preventable death. So I leave you with that theme: prevention.

Smoking is preventable, as is the burden it has on the NHS, and the unavoidable health detriments it has on every smoker. Prevention is always better than cure, so I am not against the rising prices, but I am dubious as to its effectiveness on the socioeconomic groups they should be helping the most.

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NHS: Let Them Eat Cake! [Latest Health News in Brief]

NHS Reform. The NHS has its flaws but if you privatise it you are essentially minimising patient care but maximising corporate competition. This belittles the principles of Medicine and healthcare, making it all about profit, money and marketing, rather than caring for people. The only people who win in a Privatised and essentially fragmented NHS are the companies that compete for a stand in Healthcare, whose products and service are not the best but cost the private sector less.

Privatising the NHS is essentially saying “Let them eat cake!” In Marie Antoinette’s world, sure, let the patients eat cake when what they really need is quality healthcare.

I agree with assisted suicide; euthanasia is the kindest gift to offer someone who is in the most extreme circumstance, without any quality of life, and with great suffering. Zürich has voted similarly: click to see news story.

Social networking has become more than just social, it is used in Medical schools, some of which in the UK give out smart-phones to students so that they can carry digital textbooks. There are many pros, but I wonder about the cons; for example, will it deter students from being intuitive or self-sufficient if they rely upon a mobile device for the answers to a correct dosage, will it bias the diagnostic process?

Twitter ‘vital’ link to patients, say doctors in Japan: Click   

Lines between plastic surgery and beauty treatments are diminished, but what by? I believe it is the easier access to cosmetic surgeries and procedures which make them less taboo, more easily attainable and therefore more likely that someone will be inclined towards them (the sheep effect; everyone else is doing it so why not you?). Click here for details.

Obese pregnant women are being given Metformin, usually for diabetics, to reduce the risk of obesity in their babies.

Casualty fan saves baby’s life with skills learned from show:http://tinyurl.com/5ux23q4

Monkey HIV vaccine ‘effective’ I really hope this can give us some insight into a way to cure human HIV victims, and yes I say victims because no one chooses to have HIV/AIDs, however they contract it. I remain dubious, because many ‘cures’, or proposed ones, have been and gone. I’m just glad the research continues, and we’ve gotten so far with extending the lives of HIV victims, delaying full AIDs.

Doctors want a decision on the NHS, but the wrong choice could cause further disarray. Personally I am opposed to the NHS reform, but I wanted to hear the other side of the argument so I went to the Royal Society of Medicine debate; arguments for the reform revolved around increased efficiency, quality of products and care, as well as time management. However, I’m doubtful of that, increased corporate competition will commodify health, and prioritise profit over care.

How Superbugs attack; The research carried out at BMC Systems Biology discovered genes responsible for MRSA‘s grown resistance to the Methicillin antibiotic. As a type of Staphylococcus aureus, it is of interest to my upcoming lab project, where I will measure the rate of growth in bacterial resistance. A toxin taken from the skin of a bullfrog has proven effective in destroying MRSA.

£92.40 for charity in just one day

This baby is one month old.

Image via Wikipedia

Well, I counted up all the coins and notes I collected on Monday, plus some of my own donation fund, and it adds up to £92.40. Which is absolutely amazing for one day of fundraising on my own. There was another £25 people already donated online, which means I’ve exceeded the £100 target.

Here is why I’m doing it:

Harlequin-type ichthyosis is the most severe form of congenital ichthyosis. Swelling to the eyes, ears, and other appendages, mean that the babies born with this skin disease have difficulty seeing, breathing, or even moving.

The texture of the skin means it cannot bend where soft skin usually can, it’s cracked texture is agonising and means the babies are prone not only to infection from the bleeding exposed cracks, but from hypothermia also.

Medication such as Isotrex, which improves their quality of life, are essential. But with your help, further treatments can be found, and you will be contributing to the life-time care that Harlequin sufferers require.

Please click here for more info: http://www.justgiving.com/RNoakes