In 1930, at the age of nine, my father started smoking. He was the youngest of six children. All his elder brothers smoked, as did one of his sisters. They did not know about the dangers of smoking then. It was simply something everyone did.
By the time 1974 came around, he knew all about this addictive habit - as stupid as it was. He also had to experience, for the first time, a lengthy stay in hospital following the heart attack that he suffered. There were were to be two more before he died. It was terrible to watch this man, who had done so much for me, go through this.
Would I then have turned round and denied him treatment? Or anyone else? We all know the facts about smoking now. So should we hold smokers responsible for being unable to resist the pressures, which they experienced in their youth, and their inability to fight the addiction as they grew older? No, we have to acknowledge human weakness in others and in ourselves.
What I would rather see would be the tobacco companies donating substantially to cover the costs of the medical treatment necessitated by the use of their products, and if they already do so, they should increase the amount of that payment.
As for obesity, I have never really understood what drives people to eat to excess. Unhealthy diets may well result from the fare that is available in all the various junk food restaurants that are to be found now throughout the world. One would imagine though that people could spot the warning signs early. One would imagine that there would be a reaction when they noticed that their body was increasingly out of shape, and by "reaction" I do not simply mean a shrug of the shoulders.
There is though a noticeable difference in the education that is given to the public when it comes to overeating as against smoking. There is plenty of information issued to the public about the dangers of smoking, including a warning on every packet sold. Perhaps we need to have a warning about overeating, or at least about eating healthily, on every carton or wrapper for products sold in fast food restaurants. Certainly more education is needed on the subject in order to help reverse the trend to unhealthy eating.
Until that process is in place, again I can see no merit in denying heart treatment to people who have become obese through overeating.