The “No Surgery for Smokers or the Obese” Policy 2

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Brian Lam

A controversy has stirred up in the United Kingdom (UK) about a “no surgery for smokers or the obese” policy. The clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Hertfordshire, England, and National Health Service recently made this controversial claim with the statement, “No surgery will be performed to patients who smoke or are obese until they improve their health. Exceptional clinical circumstances will be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.”

This controversy has been around since 2011, but the topic has recently been brought back up as the percentage of smokers, and the obese has drastically increased. Originally, the argumentative statement stirred up to prevent humans from purposely harming their own health, as smoking and obesity is an intentional act done by humans to damage their health, not a natural cause. In the UK, the government reported that 63% of adults in the country are overweight and 17% are smokers as of 2017. Previous records display that 27% of the United Kingdom population was obese in 2015 and 16% were smokers.

For patients who are obese with a body mass index (the mass and height of an individual also known as BMI) of over 40 on the Adolphe Quetelet BMI scale, they will be given a 9-month time span to lose at least 15% of that mass. For smokers, doctors will provide them with a task to not smoke a single cigarette for a period of 8 weeks. To prove that the patients have succeeded in this goal, a breath test will be taken.

Although many companies and businesses support this policy, there are opposers and neutrals to this claim. The Royal College of Surgeons made an allegation saying, “If time frames are too long or surgeries are urgently needed, patients might die before given a chance to get surgery performed on.” Other United Kingdom groups implemented a similar policy; however, in this policy, patients will eventually get surgery if they are unable to lose weight or stop smoking.

Which side of this controversy do you fall in?


  1. Andy the cool + nerdy 8th grader who has 2nd lunch M-Th, 1st lunch Friday but really wanted to have 2nd lunch every day says:

    Great job, former Webber Wolf!


  2. i wonder how the people in the pictures feel about being tagged “obese” so do they know or is there just a secret camera in mcdonalds or something


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