Can Smoking Be Prevented by Making Tobacco Illegal?
The problem of smoking plays an important role in modern society. The issue is that cigarette smoking is a mass phenomenon around the world and has raised the degree of epidemics due to the number of smokers. It is noteworthy to claim that the prevalence of smoking often relates to the cheap and mass-produced manufacturing of cigarettes. In fact, the central problem associated with smoking is the high level of mortality among smokers due to various diseases caused by such a dangerous habit.
The risk of undergoing health damage involves not only smokers, but also children and the so-called “secondhand smokers,” or passive smokers, who breathe in the tobacco smoke from the environment produced by active smokers. There is common worry concerning the problem of global smoking regarding the growing statistics of death from diseases caused by tobacco smoking. There are several suggestions to solve the problem of mass smoking, such as a smoking ban, which implies the illegal status of tobacco. As a result, however, a ban on smoking would fail due to economic issues and the increased opportunities for the black market.
A ban on tobacco would not result in the prevention of smoking. The matter is that the establishment of laws against smoking will cause an increase in activity in the black market, which will spread the tobacco products illegally. Such prevention would create the prosperity of criminal organizations, such as the mafia and other illegal gangs, making a profit from selling tobacco, alcohol, and other illicit substances to people. There is no doubt that the increasing number of illegal activities means the growth of the criminality rate that influences the general situation in the country negatively. The growing level of illicit tobacco markets would cause competitiveness among gangs, which often leads to violence. As a result, a ban on smoking will not result in the prevention of smoking, but rather create profitable terms for the development of the black market.
There is an example of the unsuccessful attempt from the government to stop the spread of alcohol. The Federal Government banned the production and sale of alcohol in 1920 in the United States (Thornton). As a result, people had access to prohibited substances through illegal enterprises. Such legislation was repealed in thirteen years due to total failure (Thornton). Such laws had more disadvantages in many perspectives, including the inability to stop the spread of alcohol. It is possible to compare the intention to ban tobacco with the prohibition of alcohol by federal law. Therefore, a ban on tobacco would not be an effective way to reduce the number of smokers.
One more important fact is that the prohibition of smoking will decrease the revenue of the government from the production and sale of cigarettes. In the case of legislation against tobacco production, the economic system of any country would undergo significant loses (May). The closure of factories that produce tobacco and cigarettes will lead to the growth of taxes to cover the losses. Consequently, the government would have to legitimize the production of tobacco to improve the economic situation.
To sum up, the prohibition of tobacco would not prevent smoking regarding the existence of black markets and the economic collapse caused by substantial losses. Thus, if the government bans smoking, such an approach will just lead to other problems, but also fail to reduce the adverse effects of smoking. A better plan is to increase the awareness of people concerning the negative impact of tobacco on health and life, which would result in conscious smoking cessation.
May, Caroline. “What Would a Smoke-Free America Cost the Government?” The Daily Caller, 2011, dailycaller.com/2011/02/28/what-would-an-america-without-smokers-cost/.
Thornton, Mark. “Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure.” Cato Institute, www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/alcohol-prohibition-was-failure.
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