Facebook Pixel

Without Government Intervention will the Tobacco Tolls Rise?

Rate This

The World Health Organization issued a warning to countries around the world the urgency to crack down on smoking. Statistics show that up to 5 million people die each year from smoking and another 600,000 from second hand smoke. The unprotected populations from smoking bans and restrictions may ultimately see a rise in these numbers if nothing is done.

The WHO developed six strategies to fight smoking including high taxing of tobacco, banning tobacco advertising, and other precautions to eliminate second hand smoke. The strategies were introduced last year but 90% of the population still is without any sort of protection.

An article published by AOL Health and the Associated Press earlier this week states:

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and WHO estimates that, unless countries take drastic action, tobacco could kill about 8 million people every year by 2030, mostly in developing countries.”

Unfortunately, people need more than fear of health risks to curb their smoking habit. Higher taxes have only been effective in Western countries and much more will need to be done, actions that are from the reach of the WHO. Representatives from the WHO stated: "People need more than to be told that tobacco is bad for human health," said Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO's Tobacco-Free Initiative. "They need their governments to implement the WHO Framework Convention."

The WHO Framework Convention is a treaty created in 2003 to show countries’ active participation in the fight against tobacco use. The treaty at one time included 170 countries. Although in theory this convention seems to create a strong united force against tobacco, the reality is countries’ are in no way forced to follow through on tobacco bans and face no punishment if they fail to do so.

The historical health risks associated with smoking as well as new studies revealing additional detrimental effects do very little to stop smoking around the world. Is it the government’s job to intervene? As a preventative killer of millions of people it seems only right to regulate its sale and popularity.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

It's an interesting article, and I'm glad that you asked the question at the end. It's too easy to accept the idea that people have a desire to smoke (or drink, etc.) and that some authority apart form human ought to modify this behavior. It's as if the implicit assumption is that nothing in fact is repulsive about the habit, checking the behavior, while at the same time promoting the idea that the consequences are so grave yet too far departed to appreciate. Empirically our generation has an easy path seeing the fall in smoking in recent years coinciding with legislation and lawsuits that concur. What is less appreciated is the historic support of government for smoking.
From monopoly support for tobacco farming and distribution, to dumping free cigarettes on our soldiers from WWI to Vietnam, to AMA promoted ads and doctor sanctions pervasive in those years, what we see as uncontrolled high rates of smoking that followed from a lack of regulation actually reflected pervasive and intentional government intervention in support of smoking and tobacco farming. The rise of smoking was far beyond what historically preceeded that concerted support. It does not follow that people naturally began smoking at such a high rate, nor does it show that recent reversal demonstrates a long and important war against vice. The rate of smoking has simply reverted back to what it would have been otherwise, and was before, the schitzophrenic policy support before.
There is no justification to continue regulatory tail chasing, where social policy enters the political realm and overruns drive people to extremes. Smoking demonstrates that in spades.

October 26, 2012 - 6:50am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Addictions Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!