The arguments against smoking and tobacco usage are obvious and mostly pertain to health reasons. Firstly, tobacco consumption has been proven to increase the likelihood of cancerous ailments, primarily lung cancer. For example, a research carried out by Young, Leather Dale and Sloan has shown that women who had ever smoked in their lives either first hand or second hand (passive smoking) would face a higher likelihood of breast cancer. Moreover, besides the increased chances of cancer, there are other health problems related to smoking.
For example, smoking has adverse effects on one's eyesight, heart, brain, skin and liver just to name a few. Passive smoking is equally hazardous to a person's health. It has been shown that second hand smoking increases the chances for heart disease (SirGan). Also people smoking in their houses in the presence of children is even more dangerous as children have weaker lungs and the chances of other diseases such as asthma increase in the child and if the child is an infant, then it can be even more serious.
Besides for the vast amount of health related issues, the cost of tobacco products is also a restrictive factor. Chain smokers can run yearly costs up to thousands of dollars in addition to the health related costs they will have to incur in the years to come. As it has been established that smoking is addictive, people who smoke infrequently will most likely become addicts later on and also have to incur these higher costs. Quitting tobacco addiction is not as easy as most people think.
Some of the symptoms of quitting smoking include coughing, insomnia, and overeating (SirGan). To avoid having to go through an excruciating rehabilitation process, people should never start smoking or quit in the present rather than procrastinate. Regarding the arguments of the advocates of tobacco consumption, several rebuttals are possible to negate their claims. Their argument regarding that of smoking being a personal choice is easily refuted. Tobacco contains addictive components – that is a fact.
Also, as most people start smoking or chewing tobacco in their early or teenage years as impressionable youths, it is not a case of what these people think as it is a case of what these industrialists make them think by using popular advertisements or celebrities lighting Marlboros. Additionally, the argument related to economic benefits from the tobacco industry is also not difficult to counter. On one side are the thousands of employees and the money they are earning as tobacco producers.
On the other side are the millions who are smoking and chewing tobacco and causing irreparable damage to themselves, their loved ones and the people whom they smoke around. And all the time, most of these people want to quit, cursing themselves for their inability to do so, just because they are addicted to these cancer sticks. Besides the physical damage that they are inflicting, they are also being tormented emotionally and psychologically. Progressive social change can occur only if laws are enacted to enforce this change.
Social control has a positive relationship with the law in the case of bans on tobacco products. In 2004, Ireland earned the distinction of becoming the first nation to prohibit tobacco usage in indoor public spots such as restaurants. This caused a "ripple effect" and many countries such as New Zealand, Italy, Scotland and Norway followed suit and banned smoking in all public places (Schmidt). The level of tobacco usage has decreased due to this legislation and people who do not smoke do not have to suffer in the company of smokers and smoke passively.
This shows the coexistence of the two variables that is law and social control in a positive relationship. Canada has a chance of becoming the first in North America to ban smoking as the major political parties in the country are planning litigation against the tobacco companies for the healthcare costs of the past 3 decades. At the very least smoking will become cost prohibitive this way (The Health eZine – Canada ). This is a great example that shows how laws can be used to incorporate social change.
A disadvantage of using law as a regulator for change is that people might misconstrue the intentions of the regulators and think that they have been forcefully denied their right to freedom and expression. Applied to the tobacco scenarios, this will cause the tobacco users to perhaps be offended by the actions of the government and the tobacco producers will stop providing the taxes that they are but I believe that in the end society will benefit through these actions. Law has a positive relation to social change and social control if enforced and implemented properly.
In the case of the tobacco industry, stricter laws are essential to make the possession of tobacco unlawful so that people do not inflict harm upon themselves through tobacco consumption and more importantly upon innocent people. Tobacco should be used for medical purposes by hospitals and to kill insects but not to kill people! If people cannot give up smoking on their own even if they know it is in their best interests, stricter laws demanding prohibition of tobacco need to be implemented for the good of the people.
Brown, D. "Nicotine Up Sharply In Many Cigarettes Some Brands More Than 30% Stronger. " Washington Post 31 August 2006: A01. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why Are Tobacco Control and Prevention Important? 2006. 28 February 2009 <http://www. cdc. gov/tobacco/data_statistics/state_data/data_highlights/2006/00_pdfs/DataHighlights06important. pdf>. Crawford, V. L. Home. 2006. 28 February 2009 <http://www. mascotcoalition. org/>. Friends of Tobacco. Tobacco's Contribution to the National Economy. 1996. 27 February 2009 <fujipub.com>.