Thank you for smoking?

Quit by Choice, a smoking cessation blog, took issue with my post on mental illness and smoking.

Could Mr. Williams’s own omissions be due to the fact that his company, MedPharma Partners LLC “provides management consulting and business development services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and technology enabled healthcare service organizations of all sizes”? After all, fewer cancer, heart, and COPD patients would mean less business for “pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and technology enabled healthcare service organizations of all sizes”, and less business for those entities would presumably mean less clients for Mr. Williams’s company, wouldn’t it?

Besides, they’re only “crazy” people anyway…

Right, Mr. Williams?

I’ve replied in his comments section as follows:

In my post I make two points:

1. High cigarette taxes are unfair to the mentally ill. If they smoke almost half the cigarettes then they probably pay almost half the cigarette taxes, too. Social programs are often funded by increasing cigarette taxes, with the idea that this is just taking money from smokers who deserve to be punished anyway. If it were widely understood that such a policy placed a disproportionate burden on the mentally ill, support might be less widespread.

2. Schroeder advocates a blanket ban on smoking in mental health facilities without acknowledging that –at least for some patients such as schizophrenics—smoking provides therapeutic benefits as well as causing harm. In general the bad outweigh the good but Schroeder does readers a disservice by failing to mention that mentally ill smokers aren’t the same as those without mental illness.

It was amusing to read that my opinions are influenced by my consulting business interests. My post looks more like something the Tobacco Institute would want someone to say, don’t you think?

Regular readers of the Health Business Blog know that I write what I think, regardless of whose ox is gored. Often it’s pharma companies and health insurers.

For a more comprehensive view on the relationship of smoking and schizophrenia, see this special report from

Finally, I take exception to your comment about “crazy” people. That may be your opinion. It definitely isn’t mine.

November 26, 2007

5 thoughts on “Thank you for smoking?”

  1. I’m a little surprised: I have a friend from Seoul who tells me that over there, the equivalent to the American gesture of men shaking hands when they meet is offering each other a cigarette.

    RE: Your most recent comment: Your point is well-taken; thanks for taking the time to discuss it.

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