MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The pending purchase of Reynolds American by British American Tobacco for 49 billion dollars reminds us that smoking is still a huge business in America.
That number pales, though, compared to the $300 billion a year cost of smoking in the U. S., with nearly 170 billion of that in direct medical care for adults.
The effects of secondhand smoke aside, if you want to smoke yourself to death, that is your right. But when an issue of this financial magnitude affects the healthcare system of the nation, we should have legislation in place to minimize the damage.
The repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act has begun, and it is the Republicans turn to write a law that will be good for America's financial health.
Obamacare has provisions addressing tobacco and smoking, and any new health care act should too.
This is a good example of a process that should not be left totally to the marketplace of producers and consumers.
We should act, through our government, with incentives for tobacco companies and smokers to help reduce this 300 billion dollar healthcare system bill, part of which we will all end up paying for in the long run.