A Japanese doctor has apologised after saying that people should smoke themselves to an early death to save the country money on elderly care, according to his hospital.
“It is clear that medical costs will increase if non-smoking spreads,” the doctor said last week, according to Ida Hospital in Kawasaki City. “It’s better that people smoke a lot and die early.”
Of course, he offended one of the basic humanist ideas, which is that every life is always worth saving, which to a psychologist is just another form of death-denial. We should all be immortal, of course.
But he’s made a practical statement. Smoking tends to kill people in their late 60s and early 70s, if they are otherwise healthy. As a result, they linger on into their 90s and require extensive health care. Because our society is already burdened with parasites of working age, the elderly strain the system when they live this long.
They’ve properly hushed him up, but he got them. Stories like this divide the realists from the obliviots.