In the past, adverts meant to market cigarettes were mounted all over the streets and buyers of the product increased in large numbers following the marketing strategy. Today, people have become increasingly aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking such as lung cancer, heart attacks and emphysema. In many states, smoking is now banned in almost all public places and cigarette companies no longer openly advertise their products on TV, radio and newsprints or magazines (Buhrandt, 2011). Governments have taken strict measures in limiting cigarette advertisements through mass media by ensuring that the products contain well displayed warnings on the packages. A number of health organizations have been able to carry out comprehensive campaigns which have increased public awareness about the dangerous effects of tobacco smoking (Atik, 2011). This paper argues on the prompt that increasing public awareness about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking can make the buyers more responsible consumers.
Pros of Anti-smoking Campaign Efforts
Improves the quality of lives
There are many potential benefits of increasing public awareness about consumer issues regarding tobacco smoking. For instance, increasing awareness of the dangers of smoking among tobacco smokers helps in improving the quality of their lives as they will be able to make informed decisions thus making them to be responsible buyers. Campaigns to increase awareness about the harmful effects of compounds found in tobacco are meant to reduce deaths caused by diseases such as lung cancers. Taking into account the medical care costs and the rising expenditures on the social security funds, proper tobacco control policies are important and should be enhanced. Reducing smoking in the young population improves the workforce of a population by decreasing tobacco related illness (Atik, 2011). Reduced smoking helps individual save expenses from buying cigarettes and instead perchance other goods and services that will also help in improving the health of individuals and boosting the economies of states (Sherwood, 2011). However, researchers have shown that even if stronger anti-smoking efforts are made by governments to completely curb smoking habits, this will have “minimal effects on large sectors of the economy including the retail and hospitality industries, nonprofit organizations, and state governments, and on medical care expenditures and Social security” (Bearman, 2011, p.407). While this claim has been contradicts efforts made by policy makers to reduce cigarette smoking, more research has to be done to justify the assertion.
Critics such as Peter Bearman totally agree that strategies meant to reduce tobacco smoking will lead to improved economies. According to Bearman, “tobacco accounts for a small share of the retail sales, taxes paid and donations given” as compared to the drop of costs related to illness resulting from usage of tobacco (Bearman, 2011, p.407). In the 1990s, the government and federal attitudes shifted tremendously on the issues of tobacco. Today, there has been recognition that the addiction to nicotine has increased due to the intentional manipulation of the levels of nicotine in tobacco plant meant to keep more and more people get hooked (tobacco.neu.edu, n.d). Genetically modifying tobacco plant so as to contain increased levels of nicotine makes more individuals to easily get hooked to smoking which in turn leads to improved sales of cigarettes. What used to be a freely chosen behavior has now become a place that the government has to invest much time and put in place strict measures to control the industry. Over time, the government has incurred high economic costs in its financial programs in covering expenses due to increased disease burden due to cigarette smoking. The increased cases of smoking-related illnesses have led to state governments to revise its previous assumptions about the economic benefits of tobacco industry beyond the income gains (Schneider, 2011, p.243). It is critical for state governments to take cost-benefit analysis on cigarette industry before making policies which will impact the health and economies of smokers.
Reduced Cost of Medical Care and General Living Expenses
Smoke free environments have been found to offer economic benefits in terms of reducing costs which could be used in covering direct medical and insurance charges. Insurance cost relating to smoking effects includes health, fire and accident and life insurance. Smoke free environment ensures an increased productivity among those who quit smoking and among the non-smoker as they are less likely to be exposed to secondary smoking, this saves employees time as there is reduced chances of absenteeism. There are reduced hiring costs in enterprises and most industries as less labor is lost to tobacco related illness (WHO, 2011.p.11). Fires being started due to careless disposal of cigarettes are minimized hence reducing the chances of losing land and property to fires. In Scotland, the government is able to save up to 0.515% to 0.77% of the GDP. In the U.S, Occupation Health and Safety approximates an increase of up to 3% in productivity as a result of clean environment that is free from Narcotics (WHO, 2011.p.12). Cigarette smoking has a high economic cost for the society. The healthcare system is the most affected in terms of the costs incurred by the government in treating diseases caused by smoking which are quite costly. The U.S uses up to $76 billion per year and the U.K uses up to $2.25 billion in medicare only. Smoking has also other costs such as occupying fertile agricultural land that “could instead be used to grow food for people who currently do not have enough” (Mason, 2009, p.39). Careless smoking has been top in the list as one of the causes of fires which incredibly lead to damaged buildings and landscapes worldwide. Thrown away cigarettes are known to be the start of most vast fires which claims a number of lives and destruction of property worth billions of dollars. Cigarette butts contribute greatly to sand beach pollution along the coast. The butts take over ten years to rot and end up in water destroying wildlife and make swimming unpleasant (Mason, 2009, p.39). Therefore, increasing consumer awareness about the dangers of tobacco smoking will build more responsible buyers as they will understand the costs of their consumptions.
Cons of Anti-smoking Efforts
Prevention of Some Illnesses and General Health Benefits
The issue on cigarettes smoking has been on the headlines for many years. Since cigarette smoking is considered to cause cancer alongside a host of many other diseases, smoking has greatly been prohibited in public places. However, the smokers have always clung to their tobacco smoking habits as usual. This poses a big question as to whether smoking is really bad and if there exists benefits of smoking despite the well-known allegations of its negative effects on people’s health (Stacey & Behrman, 2008.p.106). Die hard cigarette smokers claim many benefits to smoking such as peer group acceptance to smoking groups, effective weight loss aid, and increased task performance as concentration is enhanced. Smoking is believed to bring relief as well as the enjoyment from its taste which smokers get during smoking (Diaz, 2008). Another benefit of cigarette smoking which has been argued out is that tobacco may improve an individual’s information processing due to the presence of nicotine. At the same time, there are claims that smoking helps the body resists various diseases such having protective effect for Parkinson’s disease. Tobacco assists in preventing atopic disorders as children whose parents have a history of smoking have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino conjunctivitis, allergic asthma and atopic eczema (Rauscher, 2007). It is not easy to find anywhere in the media information about positive effects of cigarette smoking as most authorities have dedicated all their resources in eradicating smoking from the society overlooking the possibilities that there may be some advantages being left out. However, despite the reality that cigarette smoking is dangerous to an individual’s health, scientific evidence presented by Sherman (2011) argues that carbon monoxide which is a byproduct of tobacco may help heart attack and stroke victims. Carbon monoxide inhibits blood clotting hence dissolving harmful clots in the arteries (Sherman, 2011). Despite these scientific claims that are yet to be proved in the long run, cigarette smoking poses many health risks to the smokers that cannot be subsidized by the few unsupported claims that there exists benefits in cigarette smoking.
The primary effects of smoking are the health complications that come with the behavior. Economic costs brought to the society by cigarette smoking are burdensome to any economy. Most of the benefits perceived are based on the assumption from the gross benefits and not net value of the income to the economy. Considering the number of billions that goes to medicare as a result of smoking cigarettes, it is then better to embrace the strict policies being put in place by governments and other organizations to help eradicate smoking. Despite the industry having slight effect on the economy when considering the number of people employed, the aftermaths of smoking need to be considered and strict policies be introduced aimed at making tobacco consumers more aware of the dangers of smoking. This is when a government takes into account the wellbeing of its people and the importance of having a healthy population.