The thought of tobacco leads to images of cigarettes and lung cancer. Tobacco has been proven to cause lung cancer, yet millions of people still smoke multiple cigarettes daily around the world. The National Institutes of Health reports that roughly 440,000 deaths every year in the United States are the result of tobacco use. From these, 157000 deaths are from lung cancer (Paoletti et al. 213). Since it was proved that tobacco use, mainly cigarette smoking leads to cancers such as mouth and lung cancers, there have been concerted efforts to inform consumers of the health risks that come with tobacco. Some of the most prominent tobacco policies include images on packaging, taxes, and advertising regulations.
Since 2012, the Food and Drug Administration requires deterrent images to appear on cigarette packages. Congress gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products in the year 2009. The pictorial deterrents came after written warnings were found to be ineffective in warning consumers about the dangers that tobacco poses to their health. The first written warnings on cigarette packages appeared in the year 1966. Still, the Federal Trade Commission reported in 1976 that these warnings were ineffective in the face of advertising by tobacco companies (Paoletti et al. 213). The images on cigarette packs are often graphic, showing diseased organs as a result of tobacco consumption.
Another policy put in place to deter tobacco use is increasing taxes on tobacco products, mainly cigarettes. As long as a product is cheap and affordable, consumers will be encouraged to purchase it, and the same goes for cigarettes. In the mid-20th century, when cigarettes were the most popular, taxes on the products were quite low, and they were rarely raised. Taxes on a pack of cigarettes stood at 8 cents a packet for more than 30 years since 1951. However, since then, the federal government raised the tax to $1.01 a pack since 2008, and states have also levied their own taxes, further increasing the prices of cigarettes (Washington et al. 27). Aside from taxes, there are also other price policies to discourage tobacco use. For example, healthcare insurers charge higher for smokers which cost the smokers far more discouraging them from smoking.
Advertising regulations and campaigns against tobacco used have also been implemented across the media. This campaign began with the Fairness Doctrine introduced by the Federal Communications Commission in 1967 and 1970. Under the doctrine, any airtime given to tobacco adverts had to have equal free airtime to antismoking campaigns. In 1971, there was a federal ban on tobacco ads on both television and radio, bringing to an end the Fairness Doctrine. Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969 banned broadcast media from advertising any tobacco products, and this remains in place today (Levy et al. 448). The American Legacy Foundation, founded in 1999, engage in nationwide anti-tobacco campaigns targeting teenagers and young adults each year. The foundation’s efforts have seen a decline in the rates of smoking among teenagers.
In summary, tobacco consumption poses a serious health risk to consumers, and this calls for regulation and policy to protect people from such health risks. Federal and state governments have stepped in with various policies such as requiring tobacco companies to display deterrent images on cigarette packs, raising taxes on cigarettes, as well as regulating advertising for tobacco products. All these measures have been effective because the National Institutes of Health reports that smoking has declined by half since its peak in the mid-1950s. Tobacco consumption is costly in financial terms, as well as in terms of healthcare costs as well as the destruction of life. Tobacco regulations have been effective in reducing tobacco consumption, but more people need to realize how harmful tobacco is and stop using it altogether.
Levy, David T., et al. “Research full report: the impact of implementing tobacco control policies: the 2017 tobacco control policy scorecard.” Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 24.5 (2018): 448.
Paoletti, Luca, et al. “Current status of tobacco policy and control.” Journal of thoracic imaging 27.4 (2012): 213. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3409436/#R6Washington, Michelle, Richard L. Barnes, and Stanton Glantz. “Chipping away at tobacco traditions in tobacco country: tobacco industry political influence and tobacco policy making in North Carolina 1969-2011.” (2011).