People Should Stop Smoking
Numerous assertions have been put forward against tobacco in efforts aimed at making people stop smoking or encourage the government to make cigarette smoking unlawful. Studies suggest that about 10% of adults die from smoking-related diseases. In reality, there have been arguments that the deaths caused by smoking are preventable (Quit Smoking par. 1). Additionally, it has been established that tobacco contributes to the escalation of poverty. For smokers, about 12% of their earnings go to the purchase of cigarettes. This results in their having less money to spend on such aspects as health care, education, and foodstuff. As a result, smoking is blamed for contributing to the increased rate of illiteracy. With most of the arable land being employed for tobacco growing, it is apparent that smoking contributes to the decrease in food commodities. With smoking being the cause of these problems, one wonders why some people are still smoking and why the government has not illegalized cigarette smoking. To bar people from smoking, the government should come up with measures to regulate the practice and protect the young generation, which is being affected negatively to an alarming extent.
Cigarette Smoking Concerns
The tobacco industry has a great positive influence in the economy of many countries across the globe since it offers employment to millions of people and acts as a source of revenue for the government. It is greatly influential to the extent that it is difficult for the government to execute laws aimed at illegalizing its operation (Shomar et al. 83). Since over forty-five million people in the U.S. smoke, the government lacks the power to eradicate the practice in the country. Increased demand for tobacco products, especially cigarettes, is leading to companies in the industry buying other non-tobacco businesses to boost their production and distribution. With the industry enjoying huge profits, it has been possible for it to come up with appealing ads thus furthering its sales. Such advertisements may be blamed for leading children and adolescents to engage in smoking.
Different reasons have been cited to result in children indulging in cigarette smoking at a very young age. Parents have been blamed of neglecting their responsibilities as most of them smoke in the presence of their children. Consequently, children find the act intriguing and decide to attempt it out of curiosity. Moreover, there are parents who send their children to purchase cigarettes for them or even leave cigarettes in places where children can effortlessly access them hence making them tempted to smoke. Peer pressure is another aspect that has resulted in many children smoking at an early age (Tamashiro et al. 905). At adolescence, children tend to emulate their friends just to be part of a social group or be liked by their peers devoid of knowing the repercussions. If a child happens to befriend smokers, for instance, they might easily get swayed and end up indulging in smoking.
The media has not been left behind in contributing to the increased predicament of smoking. Many of the children who get involved in smoking assert that they first learned it from the media. Most of the cigarette advertisements are charming and are conveyed using pleasant colors which make them attractive (Tamashiro et al. 904). In this regard, children develop a view that smoking is good and makes one develop the sense of being part of a certain social group or status. Most of such children start smoking with the intention of seeking self-identity. They tend to think that smoking is meant for mature people and the only means through which they can demonstrate to others that they are mature is to engage in smoking.
Illegalizing cigarette smoking would unfavorably affect the national economy as the tobacco industry significantly contributes to a country’s revenue. Instead of illegalizing cigarette smoking, measures ought to be put in place to stop people from smoking. Children should be educated on the impacts of smoking. For instance, “tobacco use is a risk factor shared by four major non-communicable conditions, it is an important cause of preventable death, and without urgent actions to alleviate such burden, one billion people will die from tobacco in the 21st Century” (Shomar et al. 80). I fully understand the harmful effects of smoking after having lost my uncle in an illness linked to cigarette smoking. After many years of smoking, the doctor warned my uncle to stop it as it had started damaging his heart and blood vessels but he did not heed to the call. In 2016, two years after being cautioned by the doctor, my uncle developed coronary heart disease that led to a fatal heart attack and he passed away. Underscoring the negative effects of cigarette smoking to the public would help in discouraging people from the practice, while smokers would strive to quit the habit. In the 1970s, the U.S. residents were informed about the pros and cons of smoking. This resulted in the number of smokers reducing by approximately 7% as people learned about the looming dangers as a result of smoking. It was also established that more than 7,000 adolescents who had begun smoking quit.
The government should introduce stern caution to retailers who sell cigarettes to children. The retailers ought to first assess the age of people buying cigarettes if they suspect them to be underage. This could be done by asking them concerning their age, and if not convinced, demand for a document proving the age of such persons such as an identity card or passport. This would discourage children from buying cigarettes. Also, this would discourage parents from sending children to buy cigarettes. Studies show that a high number of the young smokers are unable to buy cigarettes in packets and instead go for a few tobacco sticks. Recently, there has been the introduction of “kiddie” packs in some countries such as the United States; these are small packets of cigarettes that are cheap and easy to hide. This move has offered young smokers an opportunity to continue smoking because they are now able to buy and hide the cigarettes. To stop young people from smoking, the government ought to stick to the rule that necessitates retailers not sell cigarettes in small quantities (Bader et al. 4120-41121). The benefit of this regulation lies in its making it hard for children and adolescents to buy cigarettes.
Every item that is aimed at encouraging the use of tobacco products should not be sold or given to children and adolescents. Such items consist of merchandise such as branded T-shirts, pens, caps, and other commodities that carry logos of tobacco-related products. However, tobacco companies should not be barred from holding, sponsoring, or supporting events such as sports competitions to promote their brands. Taxation is also a measure that may be used to stop people from smoking. “On average, a price increase of 10% on a pack of cigarettes would reduce demand for cigarettes by about 4% for the general adult population in high-income countries” (Bader et al. 4119). When an item is highly taxed, its cost goes up. Instead of offering incentives to tobacco companies, the government should raise taxes on all tobacco products to make them expensive. This will indirectly make it hard for children, adolescents, and some adult smokers to afford tobacco products, therefore, discouraging them from smoking.
Smoking has many drawbacks that encompass causing diseases and deaths, as well as the escalation of poverty among others. The high number of young smokers could be attributed to charming ads and poor parenting. Parents should be educated on the risks of smoking in the presence of their children, sending minors to buy cigarettes, and leaving cigarettes in locations that children can access them easily. Increased taxation among other measures could be used to discourage people from smoking.
Bader, Pearl, et al. “Effects of Tobacco Taxation and Pricing on Smoking Behavior in High-Risk Populations: A Knowledge Synthesis.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 8, no. 11, 2011, pp. 4118-4139.
“Quit Smoking.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30 June 2017, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/index.htm. Accessed 11 Oct. 2017.
Shomar, Reem, et al. “Smoking, Awareness of Smoking-Associated Health Risks, and Knowledge of National Tobacco Legislation in Gaza, Palestine.” Central European Journal of Public Health, vol. 22, no. 2, 2014, pp. 80-89.
Tamashiro, Edwin, et al. “Effects of Cigarette Smoking on the Respiratory Epithelium and Its Role in the Pathogenesis of Chronic Rhinosinusitis.” Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, vol. 75, no. 6, 2009, pp. 903-907.