2012-11-27 18:05:32 - Smoking “rots the brain,” and "smoking doesn't just age your lungs, it damages your brain too," according to a major new study which showed that smoking for even a few years can cause a significant decline in cognitive functions.
Since most smokers already want to quit but usually can't, one measure to prevent smoker brain rot might be the new regulations under the Affordable Care Act which authorize charging smokers 50% more for their health insurance, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who lobbied hard to have the provision included, and first developed the concept of higher rates for smokers in 1984.
"Many smokers lack an immediate and significant incentive to quit," says Banzhaf, noting that the fear of premature death or disability many years away can be a very weak motivator. But being required to pay a 50% higher health insurance premium in 2014 when the new regulations come into effect can provide that added motivation - not
only helping individual smokers to avoid brain rot, cancer, heart attacks, and strokes, but also helping to reduce the enormous costs they now impose on their employers. The best official estimate is $12,000 a year per smoking employee, says Banzhaf.
Unfortunately, there's a great deal of confusion regarding this controversial provision. banzhaf.net/FoxSurchargeDebate.html
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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