The impact of banning of tobacco use in the US
The United States government has contemplated the banning of tobacco and its products from within its jurisdiction. The chief reason for the banning is that tobacco and its products negatively affect the population. It is quite clear that smoking harms the smokers, partial smokers and non-smokers. A high percentage o the youth in America use tobacco and are affected just like the old generation. Remedial steps have been taken to reduce the effects of smoking. Smoking zones have for example, been specially reserved in hotels and streets and other public places but these do not solve the problem. It should be noted that banning tobacco will have negative consequences such as denying tobacco farmers their livelihood.
This essay highlights both the positive and negative effects of banning tobacco and gives suggestions and recommendations on how to deal with the problem of using tobacco and its products.
The impact of banning of tobacco use in the US
According to research by various analysts, the abolition of cigarette smoking in public is one of the best undertakings by the US Government. This trend is noted to have begun when smoking zones were set aside for cigarette smokers. This increased demarcation of smoking zones marked the onset of conflict for tobacco manufacturers, control officers and the US Government. This led to an ultimate ban on the use of tobacco.
Notable attempts that led to the ban include attempts to secure smoking zones in airplanes, buses and in almost all areas in the surroundings. Later on, restaurants were seen to follow suit, and then buses took the initiative to set aside seats for smokers. All these measures were meant to ensure that non smokers’ health was in no way jeopardized by the few who attempted to smoke in almost everywhere they walked or worked in. In as much the message sent was not to force the smokers to abstain from excessive, the witty smokers in a way grasped the early message being sent by the US government by the horns.
Though at that time, there was no proven data that non smokers are greatly affected by the smoke, it is evident that smoking had to be stopped and done immediately. This take was based on the virtue that smoking was a horrifying irritant. Second hand smoking was even reported to be much worse than the first hand one (Pentz, Sussman and Newman 2007).
In the latter years, the government was able to conduct research on the effects of smoke on health of individuals. Among the health risks noted by Health protection agencies included cancer, asthma among other vital hazards. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) research, notes that as scientific research went on, the number of areas limited to smoking kept escalating. At this time, even stadiums, schools, conference centers and work places were made compulsory to have smoking zones. According to a journal on public health, Forster, Murray, Wolfson, Blaine, Wagenaar, and Hennrikus (2008), state categorically that, smoking has created enormous problems to outdoor settings from the litter increase on the environment. This was constantly reported by the city council workers, as well as the smoke from the cigarettes which affected children and also was a bad example to them from the picture of adults smoking everywhere.
This essay will endeavor to critically look at the impacts of banning of tobacco use in the US both on a positive and negative point of view.
One of the major impacts of tobacco banning in the US is the degradement of the economy of tobacco producers especially rural economies. According to Pentz, Sussman and Newman (2007), restrictions on production of tobacco and the sale of tobacco associated products has had a massive impact on the economies of those local producing economies. Tobacco farmers have continually grumbled on the loss they have incurred ever since the ban took place. Those that follow suit are the producers, distributors of products of tobacco. For a long time these farmers have been on the look out for alternative means of survival to no avail. With the experience they have had for a long time on production of tobacco, having bought production equipment and some even constructed factories, they seem not to fit in other sectors of the economy while others are completely negative on the thought of starting from scratch.
To have a clear picture of this fact, studies have indicated that over 50 million Americans smoke (Pederson, Wanklin, Bull and Ashley 2007). This ban has gone to an extent of endangering the future of the politics of the party that contributed to the banning of cigarette smoking. Lobby groups on tobacco extraction and processing are very vocal and radical in the US. These companies painfully accepted dropping of tobacco related advertisements as for a long time, this business has been the source of livelihood for many individuals.
The debate on tobacco use and the economy of US will continually be discussed as a negative impact on the move by the government to ban tobacco.
Issues on social justice have also been put across as a negative impact of the ban on tobacco use in the US. Majority of the US citizens- around a fifth of the citizens- have for a long time considered smoking as a recreational activity. According to recent research by Komro, Perry, Murray, Veblen-Mortenson, Williams and Anstine (2006), majority of the low income earners in the US spend majority of their time in parks relieving their supposedly stressful conditions by smoking. Analysts argue that banning of smoking to these individuals is a breach of just and fair means of livelihood by a group of people in the society. Refusal to recreation is considered a potential predicament to evenhandedness in the society. As a result of the same various law suits have been filed to protect this minority few in the society.
On a more depressing view, the levels of smoking have gone high in US though the government has continually undertaken endless initiatives to put an end to excessive and unnecessary smoking by its citizens. Though the citizens are much aware of the fatal impacts of smoking especially health risks, they are still smoking tobacco despite the continuous campaigns made against the same. The government has also responded to this menace by increasing the taxation rates of tobacco related products, creation of higher budgetary allocations on mass education on the cons of tobacco use, creation of termination services among others. Bull, Pederson and Ashley (2004) vehemently utter that this move by government has not produced any good fruits but has acted as a source of new ideas for the upcoming business proprietors of tobacco.
Black markets have been created as a result of this move by the government. Crime rates have also escalated thanks to the ban by the government as many unemployed people rely on tobacco for their livelihood. Sale of unlicensed cigarettes is going on in the US behind the backs of the law keepers. This brings us to the argument that banning the tobacco use in the US has instead of protecting the vulnerable children and non smokers, created more health related problems than before.
On another point of view, Bull, Pederson and Ashley (2004) have brought about arguments on the validity of the mass awareness on the effects of tobacco and its contribution to the decline in smoking prevalence. They continue to argue that only a few positive feedbacks have been documented on the contribution of public awareness to a decrease in the consumption of tobacco. This move by the government has undoubtedly increased in one way or another, health risks of smoking. Comprehensive studies are yet to be undertaken on this issue and whether changes in outlooks in relation to tobacco smoking can cause a deviation in smoking conducts. The anti-tobacco measures are still not yet understandable and their validity towards inhibiting tobacco use in the US.
Anti-tobacco strategies have for a long time impacted negatively on the citizens of US. Harsh resistance and antipathy has been evidenced in the outskirts of US. Many adolescents claim that their freedom has been curtailed and will stop at nothing to gain a piece of the ‘forbidden fruit’. Individual freedom, they say, is a right that needs to be enjoyed by all existing human beings. According to these youths, the government has shifted all its energies towards ensuring that these young adults do not exercise their rightful authority to freedom.
The main question is whether this ban creates a restraining impact on the adolescents or stirs up feelings of experimentation in them. Just like the saying goes, forbidden fruit is the sweetest; many youths have resulted into experimenting why many heated debates have been held on tobacco. Just like Bull, Pederson and Ashley (2004) bring to light; these adolescents will be inclined to react to the reactance hypothesis that states that a behavior that is outlawed tends to attract a huge percentage of cohorts. In response the ban of the tobacco use in the US has result into more of campaign for instead of against.
These young adults already hold the notion that smoking is pleasurable, exhilarating and rebellious. Most of them have been reported to indulge into smoking to quench their thirst of knowing why too much campaign is being done on the same. Bit by bit in the name of trial, has led to high numbers of addiction cases to smoking, making the ban on tobacco use more of problem creating rather than solving based on the virtue that prohibited behaviors are the most striking and pleasurable.
On an additional distressing note, adolescents have resulted into massive peer pressure campaigns for the continued use of tobacco. This has an exceptionally vast relationship with the above point of forbidden fruit being the sweetest. The anti-smoking policies have been perceived negatively by adolescents whose opinions have for a long time been regarded as irrelevant but seem to claim a high percentage of youths into indulging into smoking. Research by Pentz, Sussman and Newman (2007) has proven that anti-tobacco strategies are simply passive to the youths. Peer influence has instead taken toll of these youths who need to shift their attention towards building the nation but are simply not and do not even seem to be on the right track by any chance! The government of the US needs to restructure its policies especially on the marketing of the same so that the youth may have a positive attitude towards the intention of the government towards their well being.
It is important that the government notes that the youth are the major beneficiaries of these policies. If implementation of the same has to take place, the government must put in place measures that may sound appealing to the youth and not suspicious that may lead to more experimentation of the forbidden. They may undertake initiatives of appealing to the youth to obey the policies put in place and that peer pressure is the main ingredient towards failure of any individual’s dreams and aspirations. The government should also instill confidence in the youths that reports on the infringement of the policies will be highly appreciated and rewarded.
Ultimately, the smoking levels in young adults are set to tremendously decrease. The government may also undertake introduction of advocacy measures that encourage enforcement of the policies put in place. This may take the form of reporting any issues in relation to tobacco use to the government, assisting the government trace the illicit vendors of harmful tobacco products to minors, conductive massive campaigns on the benefits of abstinence from smoking, being role models to the smokers among others.
This ban on tobacco use has led to varying viewpoints among the youth. Those that have managed to stick to their non abstinence opinion have been reported to make angry accusations on the government on its being extremely repressive and majority vowed to fight back at the government in quest to fighting for their curtailed freedom (Flynn, Goldstein, Solomon, Bauman, Gottlieb, Cohen, Munger and Dana 2008).
On a brighter note, the impact of banning of tobacco use in the US has resulted into lower smoking rates among adolescents. This is according to a recent study by Collins, Sussman, Rauch, Dent, Johnson, Hansen, and Flay (2008) in their journal of Applied Social Psychology, Studies on a sample of Minnesota youths were conducted to establish the effect of anti tobacco strategies and their relationship on smoking rates. From the research, the community was enthusiastic that the youth must take collective responsibility to try by all means to limit the admittance of the youth to tobacco. Factual results are documented as a 7% decrease in smoking per week and 8% per month. From the youth -19-23 years of age- these campaigns have had a positive impact in attempt to decrease the prevalence of tobacco use by the youth.
Other studies have also shown that students in various campuses of the US have recorded a reduction in the use of tobacco related products thanks to massive anti tobacco campaigns that hit the television screens every other time of the day throughout the year. In some high schools in California, Chaloupka, and Wechsler (2007), put into check four mechanisms that relate to tobacco smoking. These conditions include embargo of smoking on the neighborhood of the school, focus on education for the evils of tobacco inhale and stress on cessation programs. The resultant rates of smoking after the campaigns were seen to have a positive impact on the smoking rates, which were reported to greatly reduce.
The ban on tobacco use in the US has had a positive influence on safeguarding of adolescent safety. Restrictions on sale of cigarettes to minors have made it a total nightmare for these individual to access cigarettes. This relates to a decrease in the risks they are predisposed to as a result of supposed inhale of tobacco substances. Constant inhibition to these young adults creates an adjustment to non smoking behavior that is obviously exemplary for their health. These adolescents are also face with the fear that if they smoke in public, someone is always on the look out for their misconducts. According to Chaloupka, and Wechsler (2007), if these anti-tobacco strategies are implemented, marketing of cigarettes will completely be forbidden for sale to the young adults under the age of 18. Lower consumption levels of these products have in turn been recorded among the young adults, who have, with time, adjusted to their new way of life, tobacco free.
On another lighter note, the ban on tobacco use in the US has created an aura of peace and comfort to its citizens. The streets, parks, buses, restaurants which were previously plagued by smoke are now safe places to be in even with the young children. Interviews conducted after this ban on tobacco use portrays a feeling of relief especially to the city dwellers who for a long time had to deal with fear of succumbing to cancer or even asthma as a result of being continuous passive smokers.
Optimistic youths have been seen in the streets advocating for anti-tobacco promotion measures. Some have been seen with petitions that required many signatures for confirmation. Other youths in the society were made to understand the benefits of a tobacco free state and many were convinced to sign these petitions. Additionally, some youths were seen to be very committed towards attending conferences, seminars and workshops that preached against the user of tobacco especially among the young people. Some youths were also positive towards assisting the government towards search on illegal merchants of tobacco to the underage in the society.
The police have also witnessed that the youth have improved on their intake of tobacco thanks to the ban on its use (Department of Health and Human Services 2009). From the seminars, many youths have had the privilege of getting a clear picture from elder members of the society on the adverse effects of smoking. As a result, many of them have fret on the use of tobacco for fear of not only being dependent to it but also succumbing to awful illnesses like lung or even throat cancers.
The topical ban on the US use of tobacco has stirred up mixed reactions among citizens in many states of the country. Just like discussed above this move has had both negative and positive implications on the citizens as well as the country. Though the positions that take the negative implications may seem tom out weigh the positive ones, any citizen of good will automatically agree that this ban is the best the idea the government has undertaken in a very long period of time.
Exposure to tobacco smoke has been reduced on a very high rate which is a long term solution to cancers that might have found an appropriate breeding ground. Anti-tobacco strategies have been taken up by the government which has incorporated many youth in quest to abolish the continued use of tobacco by minors.
The essay has also shed light on the ban of smoking in designated areas like educational institutions, hotels, conference halls that host so many people. This has been put in place to reduce the number of passive smokers in the environment who according to a comprehensive study by Marcus, Emont, Giovino, Pierce, Waller and Davis (2004) tend to be more vulnerable to smoke related infections unlike the real smokers who seemingly have adopted immune mechanisms to curb their illnesses.
Though attempts to keep the flag flying on the ban of tobacco among the youth by the US government is still wanting, plans are underway to ensure that current and upcoming smokers have the correct information regarding their health and ways of stopping the use of tobacco.
Some of these measures include making it extremely difficult for cigarette smokers to access the daily ‘bread’ by working in conjunction with the youths to ensure that the police are aware of the hideouts of the illegal merchants of the drug.
To wrap up the whole deal, it would be healthier to recognize the endless efforts by the US government to initiate advocacy programs that have led to the youth being in a position to know all the dangers that pertain to excessive tobacco use. These programs also enable the youth think of new ideas that will propel the motion of effective ban forward. Thanks to this, many youths have been seen to change their minds on the continued use of tobacco as helpful to taking part in signing of petitions that advocate for complete ban of tobacco use in the US.
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