Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Only Way to Retire in Comfort Is Going to Be Winning the Lottery; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Only Way to Retire in Comfort Is Going to Be Winning the Lottery; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Keith Hann

THE greatest obstacle to every well-intentioned Government health campaign, like Stoptober, has always been the Uncle Fred factor.

However convincingly they may present statistics on the terrible consequences of smoking and drinking, nearly everyone can cite in response the example of an Uncle Fred who defied the odds.

Toping and puffing to wild excess from the age of 14, Uncle Fred only died aged 98 when he was knocked off his bike while fleeing from his girlfriend's house after her husband came home unexpectedly early.

How the nation's medical profession must have groaned last week when Dorothy Peel from Hull, interviewed as she celebrated her 110th birthday, revealed that one of the secrets of her longevity was giving up smoking at the age of 104. While the other was never drinking whisky before 7pm, sticking to sherry earlier in the day.

The problem with this sort of story, amusing and spirit-raising though it undoubtedly is, is that it falls into the same category as those regular tales of massive lottery wins. It could be you. But it won't be.

In practice, buying that ticket every week (and I write as a fellow mug who does it himself) just admits you to that not very select club of idiots who have cheerfully signed up to pay an extra voluntary tax.

The process Continuing to smoke and drink heroically, in defiance of all official advice, involves a similar willingness to pay additional taxes. And, unlike having a flutter on the lottery, it will also shorten your life. dying is to be prolonged the NHS privatise successor expensive One of the main reasons cited for making cigarettes beyond the pale is the huge amounts that the NHS will "save" on the treatment of smoking-related illnesses. This will no doubt be true in the short run, but I wonder whether anyone has ever attempted a proper cost-benefit analysis in the longer term.

Because sadly few of us are destined to pass away peacefully aged 110 or more. The process of dying is more likely to be unpleasant, prolonged and, for the NHS or its privatised successors, expensive. If we cut out the fags, the effect may be just to defer that cost for, say, 20 years, adding in the meantime to the drain on the nation's pension funds. …

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