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From reason to practice in bioethicsAn anthology dedicated to the works of John Harris$
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John Coggon, Sarah Chan, Soren Holme, and Thomasine Kushner

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719096235

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719096235.001.0001

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Against mumps, Meursault, Mcdonald’s and Marlboro

Against mumps, Meursault, Mcdonald’s and Marlboro

on the immunisation of children against smoking, alcohol and drugs

(p.181) 17 Against mumps, Meursault, Mcdonald’s and Marlboro
From reason to practice in bioethics

Inez de Beaufort

Manchester University Press

Suppose a state proposes a vaccination against Smoking, Alcohol and Drugs, the SAD programme. Children could be vaccinated not only against mumps and measles but also against enjoying dangerous substances such as nicotine and alcohol. Some might argue that such a vaccination is ethically justified , indeed a wonderful solution to individual and social problems related to addiction; others might consider this to be unacceptable. The following arguments are discussed: - the future autonomy - would it be different if one could ‘undo’ the vaccination; - the moral importance of the liberty to decide about (trivial) lifestyle choices; - the idea that some unhealthy habits are part of one’s personality and identity; - ‘healthism’: sometimes people, e.g. mountaineers, take risks with their health because life is not only about health and longevity. Some slippery sloping is done to imagine vaccination against gambling, gluttony and obesity. A danger is that in the name of health a particular moral view is imposed on persons, e.g. a teetotaller’s view on alcohol. Immunisation may seem ideal from a public health perspective but there are serious ethical problems to be considered.

Keywords:   Risky lifestyles, Unhealthy habits, Vaccination against nicotine, Healthism

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