15 November 2014

Implementation of the Criminalization of Production and Sale of Tobacco Products

Implementation of the Criminalization of Production and Sale of Tobacco Products

This report looks at the health and economic impact of tobacco production and sale in the United States. A brief summary of several tobacco related diseases and nicotine addiction show how tobacco is a harmful substance. This paper proposes legislation that would eliminate all tobacco sale and production rendering the tobacco market obsolete. The use of tobacco would not be prohibited except in public places. This paper hopes to present a convincing argument for the feasibility of this proposal while presenting a rebuttal that tobacco producers and sellers may offer or have offered in the past regarding municipalities and smoke free ordinances. This paper concludes that if tobacco producers and sellers no longer operated the health and economic condition of this country and it's people would be greatly improved.

Tobacco use is widespread throughout the United States. The main ingredient in tobacco products is tobacco. Tobacco leaves have been used for centuries for making smoking and chewing tobacco (Tobacco, n.d.). Tobacco contains small amounts of nicotine. Nicotine is one of the most heavily used and addictive drugs in the United States and cigarette smoking has been the most popular method of taking nicotine since the beginning of the twentieth century (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2005). Nicotine is absorbed readily from tobacco smoke in the lungs and when tobacco is chewed. With regular use of tobacco, levels of nicotine are present for 24 hours per day because nicotine accumulates in the body. Nicotine increases the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure (NIDA, 2005).

Smoking tobacco produces tobacco smoke which is a known harmful substance. Environmental smoke occurs when nonsmokers inhale other people's tobacco smoke. This smoke contains the same chemicals as the smoke smokers inhale. It contains larger amounts of the same toxic and cancer-causing substances than mainstream smoke (American Cancer Society, 2006). Mainstream smoke is the tobacco smoke emitted from a person's mouth after inhaling it.

There are currently thirty-eight of the fifty states, including Puerto Rico, that have some sort of smoke-free legislation enacted to keep environmental smoke out of most public places (Smoke Free World, 2006). There are usually many exceptions which may include bars, restaurants, casinos, or sexually oriented businesses. State laws addressing tobacco control vary in relation to restrictiveness, enforcement and penalties, and exceptions. For example, Arizona has recently passed legislation creating a smoke-free indoor air policy for most commerce sites. Most states, including Arizona, also restrict the sale of tobacco to persons over the age of 18. To restrict young people's access to tobacco, advertising is also restricted and there are excise taxes on cigarettes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1999). This makes cigarettes less appealing because they are not as visible in the public and are more expensive to purchase.

It is the purpose of this paper to promote the criminalization of tobacco sale and production. It is not the purpose of this paper to promote the criminalization of the use of tobacco. If this were achieved the public's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke would be reduced. It is also of great public benefit to restrict the substance's availability; tobacco is a known health danger (ACS, 2006). Benefits to this proposal include healthier communities and financial savings related to health care costs. The main drawback which may occur would be an economic loss due to the absence of a major market in the United States.

Supporting the Proposal
Health Consequences of Tobacco Use
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 70.3 million Americans aged 12 or older reported current use of a tobacco product, 29.2 percent of the population in that age range (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2005). Cigarette smoke is a harmful complex mixture of compounds produced by the burning of tobacco and other additives. The smoke contains tar, which is composed of over 4000 chemicals, 60 of which are known to cause cancer (ACS, 2006). Some of these substances cause heart and lung diseases, and all of them can be deadly. The smoke also contains the poisonous gases nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. Smoking is known to cause the following cancers: bladder, cervical, esophageal, kidney, laryngeal, leukemia, lung, oral, pancreatic, and stomach (Surgeon General's Report, 2004). Smoking is known to cause the following cardiovascular diseases: abdominal aortic aneurysm, atherosclerosis, cerebrovascular disease, and coronary heart disease (SGR, 2004). Smoking is known to cause the following respiratory diseases: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, respiratory affects in utero, and other respiratory affects in childhood, adolescence, adulthood (SGR, 2004). Smoking is known to cause fetal death and stillbirths, fertility, low birth weight, and pregnancy complications (SGR, 2004). Lastly, smoking is known to cause diminished health status, hip fractures, low bone density, and peptic ulcer disease (SGR, 2004).

Nicotine and Addiction
Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. It provides an almost immediate "kick" because it causes a discharge of epinephrine from the adrenal cortex (NIDA, 2005). It stimulates the central nervous system and other endocrine glands, which causes a sudden release of glucose. Stimulation is then follow by depression and fatigue, leading the abuser to seek more nicotine (NIDA, 2005). Most smokers, in fact, identify tobacco as harmful and express a desire to reduce their use or stop using altogether (NIDA, 2001). The addiction is so strong it is reported that cigarette smoking is the most difficult thing to quit (Peele, 2005). According to a study done by McGill University, it does not take several years of heavy or daily smoking to become dependent on nicotine, young people become addicted earlier and faster than originally suspected (Gordon, 2005). An estimated 35.3 million Americans aged 12 or older met the criteria for nicotine dependence in the past month based on cigarette use. This represents 14.7 percent of the population (SAMHSA, 2005).

Economic Impact of Public Tobacco Use
Tobacco costs the United States economy billions of dollars each year. Smoking causes more than $167 billion each year in health related costs. This includes the cost of lost productivity due to smoking. Smoking related medical costs totaled more than $75 billion in 1998. This accounted for 8% of personal health care medical expenditures (ACS, 2006). Death related productivity losses due to smoking among workers cost the United States economy more than $92 billion yearly from 1997 to 2001. For each pack of cigarettes sold in 1999, $3.45 was spent on medical care due to smoking, plus $3.73 in lost productivity for a total cost $7.18 per pack (ACS, 2006). So while big tobacco companies may reap the benefits of tobacco sales, the United States is forced to pay the health care costs that are a result of tobacco use.

Tobacco companies argue that smoke free legislation is harmful to the economy but more than 4800 municipalities or 34.7% of the United States population is under a 100% smoke free provision and it is only tobacco funded research that shows any economic loss (ANR, 2004). Smoke free laws have no economic impact on individual businesses. According to the October 2004 edition of Contemporary Economic Policy, smoke free laws add value to establishments (ANR, 2004).

Summary and Conclusion
Tobacco contributes a great deal to our national community. Tobacco increases the rates of several cancers, diseases, and complications. NIDA claims that the use of tobacco products may be the most critical health problem facing our nation today and that tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States (2001). It is an even greater concern than obesity. Unfortunately for tobacco users it is not that easy to quit. Nicotine is highly addictive and smoking cigarettes is the most difficult thing to give up. The economic footprint that tobacco leaves on this country is massive. At over $167 billion each year in health related costs, it is a massive footprint.

All of these losses for our country are preventable. By banning the sale and production of tobacco in the United States our country will save $167 billion dollars a year. That is money that can be put to better use funding education, developing a national health care system, and funding a myriad of national health promotion programs. This will create a near smoke free society. Granted, there will still be tobacco use, just as there is illicit drug use, but tobacco use should not be punished with criminal penalties or fines like illicit drug use is punished now. Only the tobacco companies should be punished with extensive over the top fines and criminal penalties. It should be made very clear that tobacco sale and production shall not be tolerated. This is the necessary action needed to save our country from the throws of tobacco related health problems. Restricting access to tobacco products will reduce the number of people that fall victim to the grip of nicotine addiction and it will save our country billions of dollars. Banning the sale and production of tobacco will save lives. A tobacco free society shall result in the decline of the consumption of tobacco products, an increase in the cessation rate among smokers, and a decline in the social acceptability of smoking.

Opposition to the Proposal
Tobacco & Health Concerns
The tobacco industry agrees that extended use of tobacco products has an inherent risk attached. There is even a risk attached to second hand smoke (Health Issues, n.d.). However, it is the choice of an individual to consume or not to consume tobacco. On the topic of second hand smoke, Judge William Osteen, invalidated parts of the 1993 Environmental Protection Agency Report on Secondhand Smoke rendering it ineffective (Americans for Nonsmoker's Rights, 2004). This ruling struck down the EPA's contention that secondhand smoke causes cancer and destroyed a basis for agencies or municipalities to have smoking banned or restricted. The EPA report relies on a threshold model, a method of analysis that assumes a hypothetical threshold below which exposure to secondhand smoke poses no risk (ANR, 2004). Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducted studies that question the science of secondhand smoke (ANR, 2004). In 2003, the British Medical Journal published a study that claims to have found only a weak correlation between secondhand smoke exposure and heart disease and lung cancer (ANR,2004).

Marketing of Tobacco
As it relates to young people and tobacco, the tobacco industry claims that the use of tobacco is clearly marketed towards adults. Philip Morris USA, the nation's market leader of cigarettes, has a policy to advertise in magazines that adults are more inclined to read than children, to advertise at retail stores that adults are more inclined to peruse, and to have corporate sponsorships where a majority of minors will not be present (Marketing Practices, n.d.). Tobacco companies claim to have a responsibility to their customers to maintain attractiveness for their product and do so by legal marketing towards adults.

Economic Impact
The tobacco industry claims to pump billions of dollars into the economy yearly. The tobacco industry reported $16.6 billion in earnings with a profit margin of 9.5% and offering a 29% return on equity (Yahoo! Finance, 2006). This has a tremendously positive effect on the economy. Smoke free laws only hurt those figures. There are many instances where business owners lose money when smoke free air laws go into effect. It is even possible for restaurants to lose up to 50% of their revenue as a result of smoke free air ordinances (ANR, 2004).

Smoking is a Fundamental Right
The tobacco industry claims that it is each individual's choice and right to consume tobacco as long as it does not affect anyone else. By eliminating the sale and production of tobacco those rights are being infringed upon. The choice for tobacco consumption should remain with the individual.

Summary and Conclusion
Although the tobacco industry agrees that tobacco use increases the risk of many diseases there are studies to refute few of those claims. Tobacco is a product allegedly intended for adults and is allegedly marketed only toward adults so the risk of a child's exposure is limited. The impact tobacco has on the economy is massive. By putting $16.6 billion dollars yearly into the national economy tobacco products allegedly increase the revenue of the United States in both sales and tax revenue. Tobacco companies claim smoke free ordinances hurt local business owners and other options for reducing environmental smoke from tobacco should be investigated. It is up to each individual to decide to smoke or not to smoke and the tobacco industry does not believe it should not be left up to the government to decide what a person can or cannot do.

Tobacco is a dangerous and addictive substance. About 15% of the population is already addicted. Drastic and effective action must be taken to curtail this threat. The United States would be far better off without the presence of tobacco. From a financial standpoint, this country would be saving more than $167 billion each year. From a healthy people standpoint, less people would be diagnosed with various types of cancer and disease that go along with chronic and addictive tobacco use. Companies like Philip Morris USA makes a profit off of the suffering of their customers. It is why they target young people so aggressively in their marketing campaigns. Even now, after legislation has been passed preventing their indirect marketing strategies to lure teenagers and children into tobacco use, Philip Morris USA is getting television time by showing anti-tobacco advertisements. This may be an instance where any publicity, even bad publicity, is good publicity.

Tobacco funded studies may claim no links between environmental tobacco smoke and disease but the truth is tobacco smoke is dangerous. Big tobacco may claim that it uses sound marketing practices but young people will always be their target market because of their susceptibility to addiction. Big tobacco may claim that the economic void left behind would be insurmountable. Big tobacco companies claim that businesses would lose clientèle and profits would plummet. There are claims that the tax revenue generated by tobacco products makes

government funded programs possible. These claims are unwarranted and illegitimate. There is no evidence to support that tobacco smoke is not harmful or that the United States economy depends on its production and sale.

Characters like Joe Camel may no longer legally exist but the imprint that tobacco has left on this country is devastating. Tobacco causes about 440 000 deaths in the United States each yeah while the tobacco companies reap the profits (Facts, n.d.). This is unacceptable.

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