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The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1.1 billion humans around the world are active smokers today. This parent is expected to rise to more than 1.64 billion humans in the coming ten years. The World Health Organization also attributed around four million deaths per year to the use of tobacco products. If urgent measures are not taken to cut down smoking, the range of people dying from tobacco-related complications is estimated to attain 8 million annually by the year 2030 (WHO, 2012). If the current trend in smoking persists, tobacco is set to become the wide variety one killer in the world, leading to the death of more persons than maternal mortality, road accidents, homicide, suicide, and HIV/AIDS combined. It is worthy of note that the consequences of tobacco lie beyond the active smokers. Innocent bystanders who are exposed to the smoke, also known as passive smokers, are also at risk. Smokers endanger not only their lives but those of everyone else around them. This is a significant cause of concern and also reason enough to implement the ban on public smoking. This essay takes the position that smoking harms peoples’ health and it should be prohibited in all public places.
It is important the rules and regulations governing this industry are thoroughly scrutinized because the industry is quite large and therefore impacts the lives of almost all residents of the United States of America. Various organizations, and most prominently the American Lung Association (ALA), have campaigns aimed at reducing the number of people who partake in the harmful habit in the country. They argue that smoking and the inflictions related to the habit accounts for over four thousand deaths each year across the United States. On top of this high rate of fatality, the ALA (2016) states that smoking also costs “the United States approximately $97.2 billion each year in healthcare costs and lost productivity. It is directly responsible for 87 percent of lung cancer cases and causes most cases of emphysema and chronic bronchitis.” As a result, the ALA put in place some rules and regulations through which it aims to control the facets manufacturing, advertising, and sale of tobacco across the country.
The Koop/Kessler Advisory Committee on Tobacco and Public Health also came up with some recommendations regarding the desired intake of cigarette smoke among Americans. This task force presented evidence to show that cigarette smoke has predominantly harmful and injurious effects on the health of those exposed to it. Furthermore, representatives of the industry, working in partnership with the office of the attorney general proposed some rules that have to be adhered to by any company that aims to merchandise tobacco products. The American Lung Association then established a Tobacco Advertising Advisory Committee which is mandated with assessing the future of tobacco advertising. Through this body, the ALA can regulate cigarette advertisements by industry players and also creates guidelines that it aims to apply in governing product advertisements and marketing campaigns of tobacco in the future. Although the recommendations by the ALA are a bit specific, they are largely in concordance with the guidelines by the Koop/Kessler Committee.
One aspect that makes the American Lung Association immensely influential in the tobacco industry is the fact that it developed guidelines specifically meant to regulate all types of advertisement and promotion activities of tobacco and its related products. For instance, this body requires that all ads for tobacco that are visual in nature such as billboards and magazines be designed to be monochrome i.e. black and white. In addition, those advertisements should not show the product itself but only the package it is in. In order to avoid attracting the attention of persons under the age of 18, ads for tobacco products should not contain any props or scenery. The Koop/Kessler Committee with the backing of the ALA seeks to put a ban on any marketing, advertising, and promotion activities of tobacco products that seem to be targeted at persons under the age of 18. A fact-finding study by the Koop/Kessler Advisory Committee revealed that a large number of teenagers across the country have access to a wide variety of magazines (Brandt, 2009). This prompted the suggestion that all magazines that accept and publish tobacco ads should conduct readership studies each year so as to determine the percentage of their consumers who are below eighteen. Those magazines that find that teenagers make up more than 15% of their readership would be required to cease carrying advertisements and announcements that market or promote tobacco products.
Many people do not realize that there is no way smoking can remain a private matter for the smoker. Bystanders also inhale the smoke which has potentially injurious effects on their health as well as. As awareness among the public increases, they have joined in calling for a ban on public smoking as well as the unrestricted advertisement and promotion of tobacco products. Organizations like the American Lung Association have been in the forefront in curbing the spread of the habit, especially among teenagers.
American Lung Association (2006) Stop Smoking: Impact of Tobacco Use. Retrieved 1 June 2017, from http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/smoking-facts/
Brandt, A. (2009). The cigarette century (1st ed.). New York: Basic Books.
World Health Organization. (2012) WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved 1 June 2017, from http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_report/2011/en/
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