Still smoking? Go ahead, smoke yourself to death

Opinion 07/03/2018

By Roman Travers, RadioLIVE broadcaster.

OPINION: If you still smoke then you probably know that it will, at some point, cause you some serious health issues. One of them might be death, which is still generally regarded as a permanent side effect.

If you still eat the kind of crap that is loaded with excessive amounts of saturated fats, food additives, toxins, salt and sugar then you also probably know that continuing to eat like that will without question, hurtle you towards all sorts of hard to spell diseases, or death.

Go head. Fill your boots. If you don’t know by now what will and won’t reduce your life expectancy; then you deserve everything that’s coming your way.

Can you imagine how frustrating it must be as a healthcare professional to see a patient who needs medical intervention due to their poor diet, smoking or excessive use of alcohol and other drugs?

Imagine if each of our public hospitals had signs out front that welcomed patients with the words, ‘Come back when you’ve given up smoking and you’ve lost some weight’

It must be a complete mystery to know just where to begin when confronted with a patient whose extensive range of comorbidities is exacerbated through on-going poor choices.

How do you feel as a taxpayer to see hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on a public healthcare system that at best looks like a three-legged dog limping gradually to its death; and at worst, a dog with no legs being dragged to its death by the preventable addictions of its owner?

Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see a government that just gives up on those who are determined to eat, drink and smoke themselves to death? Instead of continuing to be the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, drive that metaphorical vehicle back to the top and spend our money on education that will prevent future generations making the same bad choices.

Most of what blights us in first-world countries is self-inflicted.

Predicaments that are not only largely preventable, but virtually exclusive to first world countries.

When I was 21, I travelled for 4 months through 9 different countries on the African Continent. Obesity certainly wasn’t as issue there, nor were there a lot of health concerns born from excessive use of alcohol or illicit substances.

There are of course those who don’t have the mental capacity to make better decisions. There are some who have little idea what day of the week it is let alone the ability to empower themselves to a healthier life.

For some, the food they consume and the cigarettes that they smoke are way down the list of concerns when compared to their psychological needs.

Just imagine how much more money could be spent on mental health in New Zealand if we weren’t spending it on end stage disease caused through smoking, drug addiction and poor eating?

Spend the money on our children who still have a life to live.

The mental health sector of our health care system needs $500 million now – just to address the shortfall in beds required for the many that are currently being overlooked.

Last year, the opposition Labour Party told us that the funding needed for health to be restored to the level it was seven years ago to keep pace with cost pressures has widened to a massive $2.3 billion.

That is a lot of taxpayer dollars to find.

Sadly in this age of political correctness (which is simply a broad term used to deter us from saying what we really want to), we aren’t allowed to say that this money is probably already there. It’s just being spent telling people what they already know.

Prevention is so much easier than treatment. Spend the money on our children who still have a life to live.

My elderly neighbour used to say, ‘patience is a virgin.’

Apart from not quite getting that saying right, I think we’ll need a lot of patience on this issue because our society is too scared to say what needs to be said.

Our health system is crippled by political correctness and an obligation to treat anyone regardless of how the disease was inflicted.

Patients are a burden to any society, but those with preventable predicaments being perpetuated through poor personal choice, need to head to the back of the queue.

Roman Travers is a broadcaster for RadioLIVE.