The Case for Abolition of Smoking

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The Case for Abolition of Smoking

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assert that Tobacco accounts for the primary cause preventable and premature death and disease globally. Despite the overt health effects of smoking, the debate on officially banning it persists. The dangers of smoking are increased by the scope of its effects. Not only does it lead to the deterioration in the health of the user, but it also spreads it dangers to the surrounding population. Pro-smoking lobbyists have argued that abolition of tobacco would have implications transcended the smoking industry. Arguably, it would amount to infringement of a person’s liberty and set precedence for the government to restrict other freedoms. The validity of smoking as a freedom has been questioned owing to its ability to undermine the rights of others. The benefits in revenue that accrue from taxation of tobacco sales are counter-intuitive. Cigarette related diseases such as lung cancer further burden the government health bill. The public foots the financial burden of health costs as well as the indirect repercussions such as loss in missing workdays due to the loss of productivity. Towards concluding on the merits of illegalizing tobacco, a cost-benefit analysis of its pros and cons should be undertaken.

Smoking has multiple effects on the population both the smokers, those in their vicinity and the public in general. The visible aesthetics of the smokers is reduced due to premature aging. Elder smokers have higher chances of becoming stroke victims they have stomach ulcers among a litany of detriments to their wellbeing (Bayer, Ronald, and Bachynski 1295). Smoking reduces fertility in the population. Women who smoke are more than three times likely to become barren or have delays in conception. Smoking also increases the risks of cervical cancer. Women who smoke during pregnancy expose themselves to complications as well as increase the chances of premature deliveries and stillbirths. A marked reduction in sperm count of smokers has been identified. In light of the above, smoking lowers a person’s quality of life. Apart from affecting their health, the habit dictates the smokers’ time with the increasing costs making it an expensive hobby. The time used in smoking could be diverted to activities that are more productive. Secondhand smoke negatively affects close relations unduly exposing them to consequences of other people’s mistakes. Furthermore, it also pollutes the environment being a significant, though not the major, cause of the increased carbon content in the atmosphere. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that children are is most vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke as they are in their developmental stage. Arguably, children exposed to secondhand smoke have increased risks of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and middle ear infection.

The costs of cigarette related diseases to the taxpayer have fortified campaigns towards illegalizing it. Given the prevalent information on the dangers of cigarette smoking empathy towards cancer patients due to cigarette smoking is declining. Prior to the enactment of the Obamacare Patient Protection Act, insurance companies placed a premium on covers for individuals of with smoking habits (Gallus et al. 257). Their assertions on discrimination by insurance companies had received little public support. Upon picking up the smoking habit, cigarette smokers claim that they have fallen prey of tobacco companies’ campaigns. The above excuse is not valid given the presence of personal choice. In the age of information, ignorance is no defense. The presence cases showing the fatal effects of smoking to second-hand smokers has led to massive campaigns towards replicating the mistakes. Prevention is better than cure in regards to tobacco-related diseases. The government is in a better position to illegalize the practice given declining influence of tobacco lobbyists.

Despite the adverse effects of smoking, it removes the exclusive right of the individual. While prohibiting smoking in the car with children or in public areas is reasonable, completely constraining the individual’s choices is not warranted. Critics of the abolitionist agenda claim that illegalizing smoking will only open a conduit for limiting other freedoms of the public rather than reduce the rate of smoking (Hayes, Linda, Wakefield, and Scollo). Individuals demanded to smoke with find other avenues outside the system. Therefore, revenue that had hitherto gone to legitimate organizations that can be taxed will profit illegal entities. The health costs that have been highlighted will persist while government revenue will be slashed. Hence, if the present information on the dangers of the habit does act as deterrence, then the individuals should be left to their own devices. Moreover, if all things with adverse health reactions were to be banned, a multitude of luxuries that the American public enjoys would be curtailed. Some of the concerns raised by the critics are valid. However, no single freedom has proved costly to the American public both economically and socially as cigarettes. Their argument implies that it is a person’s prerogative to commit suicide as well as kill those in his surroundings. Similarly, the assertion that there would be no reduction in smoking if it becomes illegal is wrong. Firstly, there would be a decrease in capital invested in tobacco leading to reduced production and amount of product in circulation will be reduced. Legitimizing a practice reinforces it. Any benefits attributed to smoking mostly financial are transcended by the repercussions it has on the population’s well-being.

 

Works Cited

Bayer, Ronald, and Kathleen E. Bachynski. “Banning smoking in parks and on beaches: Science, policy, and the politics of denormalization.” Health Affairs 32.7 (2013): 1291-1298.

Gallus, Silvano, et al. “Support for a tobacco endgame strategy in 18 European countries.” Preventive medicine 67 (2014): 255-258.

Hayes, Linda, Melanie A. Wakefield, and Michelle M. Scollo. “Public opinion about ending the sale of tobacco in Australia.” Tobacco control (2013): tobaccocontrol-2012.

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