Reasons for Caring

Smoking can be described as the inhalation or tasting of a tobacco-laden substance with the method most commonly used being the use of a cigarette. Statistics have indicated that more than one billion people indulge in the habit leading to addiction of many citizens across the globe (Schmidt, 2007, 413). Similarly, scientific reports commissioned by various non-governmental organizations have concluded that a majority of the smokers would like to quit while different findings have demonstrated the risks of smoking to individuals (Sheth, Sethia and Srinivas, 2011, 38). Diseases such as lung cancer, erectile dysfunction, birth defects and heart attacks have been attributed to smoking through laboratory tests by many medical studies (Forte, 2005, 17). Furthermore, the cost of obtaining treatment for these maladies has risen sharply thereby placing a financial burden on the victims.

Successive governments have enacted policies aimed at reducing the rate of smoking especially in urban areas due to the environmental hazards that this habit poses (Lee and Kotler, 2011, 10). Toxic fumes are emitted into the atmosphere and these affect the ozone layer, which in turn exposes inhabitants of planet Earth to the disastrous effects of global warming. It has been claimed that many people, children included are at a risk of second hand smoke as well (MacVean, 2013, 3). In some cases, the above diseases lead to deaths that cause a lot of pain and suffering to families, friends and communities (ABC, 2014, 1). The loss of lives has a negative impact on the economy as nations are robbed of productive citizens who would have positively contributed to its growth too.

Origin of Problem

Smoking was originally used in incense ceremonies as a way of contacting the spirit world. It began with cannabis and later developed to tobacco as early European traders immigrated into different territories in search of new trading routes. This was almost 2,000 years ago. In 1612, John Rolfe began growing it as a cash crop and it soon became in demand from far away countries. From France to England and then to Africa, smoking was picked up by many people as a recreational drug that commonly featured in funerals and weddings among other festivals (TIME, 2012, 1). The increase in consumers fueled the expansion of tobacco production companies and this marked an embrace of the habit by mainstream media (ABC, 2014, 6). The depiction of smoking as fashionable helped to increase its appeal among populations although discontent had begun to mount over its effects on the health of its consumers. Thus, the debate to ban smoking has been ongoing for a while as the different stakeholders struggle to justify the merits of their arguments (Webster, Carter, D’Alessandro and Gray, 2014, 8).

Current Social Marketing Campaigns

The Australian government has embarked on a National Tobacco Campaign that seeks to reduce the rate of consumption to 10% daily by 2018. It plans to achieve this by using both print and electronic media to not only raise awareness of the dangers of smoking but also to offer motivational and counseling services to would-be quitters as well as quitters to avoid relapses (Narayan, 2014, 1). Towards this end, two initiatives have been launched in partnership with the private sector. Stop before the suffering starts is meant to highlight the agony that families go through because of smoke related deaths. It therefore draws the attention of the victims to the plight of their loved ones and hopes to make them change their behavior.

In addition, a software application has been designed to assist smokers to quit. The My QuitBuddy application is accessible to anyone with a cell phone and is able to be used by any Australian regardless of gender, age or income status. Importantly, it makes them track the number of cigarettes they have abstained from smoking, the amount saved in the process and the number of days they have stayed smoke free as well (singer-Vine, 2008, 1). In this way, they can measure the level of progress they have made on a daily basis and monitor their targets that they aim to achieve. Likewise, it has options for other quitters to offer their moral support and advice through social networking sites to those struggling to quit the habit and this is helpful in the long term (Wardell, 2014, 1). From a social marketing perspective, this is vital because it makes use of devices that are generally used frequently by a large section of the population and this reduces the stigma associated with the vice.


The tobacco industry is one of the most lucrative sectors in the country and worldwide too. It has been proven that many people are easily influenced into smoking due to peer pressure (Munger, 2010, 21). To find a lasting solution would be difficult but necessary nonetheless to prevent the negative effects highlighted above. Therefore, the government should increase the rate of taxes imposed on tobacco companies to increase their production costs and retail prices as a way of deterring innocent people from smoking (Rothschilds, 1999, 3 4). This helps to lower the demand for the product and forces the companies to halt operations, as they would face profitability challenges. Additionally, advertisements that tend to glorify smoking need to be prohibited and stiffer penalties imposed on offenders to avoid the seduction of the public into acquiring the habit. Furthermore, laws can be passed that restrict medical insurance coverage for smoke related illnesses as well. In this way, the habit can be contained (Proctor, 2013, 1)
























ABC, 2014. Queensland Announces Plan to Ban Smoking in all Jails from May 2014. [online] (updated 4 Nov 2013} available at: < > [Accessed 10 April 2014].

ABC, 2014. Then and Now: 50 Years since Cigarettes Linked to Cancer. [online] (updated 11 Jan 2014) Available at:< > [Accessed 10 April 2014].

Forte, E., 2005. Smoking Ban. Chicago Tribune, pp. 17.

Lee, N. and Kotler, P., 2011. Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good. 4th edition, SAGE, Thousand Oaks, California.

MacVean, M., 2013. A Look at the Evidence Behind Outdoor Smoking. Los Angoles Times, pp. 3.

Munger, D., 2010. Do Smoking Bans work? Journal of Experiential Social Psychology, 6, 19-23.

Narayan R., 2014. “The Best Anti-Smoking ad Ever.” [online] (updated 10 April 2014) Available at: < >[Accessed 10 April 2014].

Proctor, R., 2013. Why Ban Cigarettes? The Case for Abolition. BMJ, 27-30. [online] (updated 17 Jan 2013) Available at: <> [accessed 10 April 2014].

Rothschilds, M., 1999. Carrots, sticks and Promises: A Conceptual Framework for the Management of Public Health and Social Issue Behaviors. Journal of Marketing, 63, 24-37

Schmidt, C., 2007. A Change in the Air: Smoking Bans Gain Momentum Worldwide. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(8), 412-415.

Sheth, J., Sethia, N., Srinivas, S., 2011. Mindful Consumption: A Customer Centric Approach to Sustsinability. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39, 21-39.

Singer-Vine, J., 2008. Study Supports Health Benefits of Smoking Ban. Wall Street Journal. [online] (updated 31 July 2008) Available at: < > [Accessed 10 April 2014]

TIME, 2012. Smoke Free Laws are Saving Lives. [online] (updated 30 Oct 20112) Available at: < > [Accessed 10 April 2014]

Wardell, J., 2014. Australia in a Fog Over Ban on Branded Cigarettes. Reuters. [online] (3 April 2014) Available at: < > [Accessed 10 April 2014]

Webster, C., Carter, L., D’Alessandro, S., and Gray, D., 2014.Social Marketing: Good Intentions.1st Edition, TUP.

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