The hazards of smoking have become very clear in the last few years and the public has started working towards changing societal norms associated with smoking. Awareness about second hand smoking has also risen considerably and efforts are being made to protect residents from it. However, communities alone cannot bring such a drastic change. The government needs to play a key role in protecting the health of its citizens by introducing various laws and legislation that will discourage smoking.
Firstly, smoking needs to be discouraged because various researches and studies have proven that passive smoking has killed 35,000 to 40,000 people per year in the United States alone in the early 1980’s. These passive smokers also put up with an immeasurable cost of lower quality of life and a shorter life span. Tobacco can be blamed for more deaths of Americans each year as compared to deaths caused by alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide, car accidents, fires and aids combined.
The combined loss of lives each year due to smoking was approximately equal to the lives lost in the World War II. Non-smokers living with smokers also suffer from an increased risk of death from heart attacks, strokes or heart diseases. Children are highly vulnerable to diseases caused by second-hand smoking. Children under the age of two years can develop chest infections, asthma and other respiratory problems due to second hand smoking.
Secondly, smoking also costs the government millions of dollars in terms of smoking related treatment at government hospitals. Small and large businesses suffer from lost productivity because of the countless breaks and absenteeism of chain smokers. Cigarette smoking cost the U. S almost $52 billion in health expenses or time lost from work, about $221 per person, each year. Another disturbing consequence of smoking areS accidental fires resulting from smoking on public or private property.
According to an estimate, 25% of residential fires were caused by smokers. It is a government priority to protect the nation’s health and safety. This can only be accomplished by raising taxes on cigarettes and making smoking a more expensive habit. The government can spend a portion of its budget on anti smoking campaigns or public service announcement. Guidance and counseling must be provided free of cost which can help people quit this disgusting habit. Smokers should be required to contribute to the cost of smoking related treatment.
Above all, government should pass a resolution which forces restaurants, bars and clubs need to restrict smoking to particular areas only. Advertisement and television shows that promote the habit of smoking or make it look cool to teenagers need to be banned so that vulnerable teenagers, women and various minorities belonging to low income groups do not fall prey to smoking. This is the only way the government can promote a just, supportive, and productive environment which adds to the social and economic well-being of all Americans.