Our Government: Serving Public Health

The public sector is currently promoting laws and bills that will help end the smoking epidemic. Public education and meaningful policy changes will help more people recognize the dangers of tobacco, and therefore save lives.

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The dangers of tobacco have become all too clear. Since the 1960’s, researchers have shown that tobacco products can cause a host of health complications, and the threats cigarettes and other tobacco products pose to humans have since been well established.

Despite the tobacco industry’s efforts to accelerate this threat to public health, government institutions have remained vigilant in their efforts to enact legislation that will help reduce the number of smokers and help those trying to quit. Local, state, and government departments have focused on keeping people safe from the dangers of smoking and tobacco use. Campaigns started by the public sector are prevailing, and smoking is on the decline.

Reducing Tobacco Harm in Youth and Adults

Currently, there is great interest in policies across the U.S. that could help reduce the number of children introduced to smoking. According to interviews conducted by NewsDay, some cities in New York have sought to pass laws to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21 years of age. Health officials believe this act would prevent young kids and teens from beginning to smoke at such an early age, thus ending smoking at its source.

Other cities have banned smoking in certain public locations, such as bars and restaurants. These are common areas where smokers used to congregate, but which also put non-smokers at an increased risk of exposure to secondhand smoke. Local, state, and government agencies are currently promoting laws and bills that, if passed, will save countless lives over many generations of Americans.

What the Tobacco Industry is Doing to Resist Policies

According to the World Health Organization, the tobacco industry has a long track record of manipulating and fighting public policies which would restrict sales of their products. However, it seems as though tobacco companies are now fighting an uphill battle. With the public sector working to quell tobacco’s reach, some might suggest tobacco companies are simply panicking with some of their latest tactics to increase market share and profitability in the United States.

The tobacco industry has a history of publishing biased studies and bad science. Tobacco companies are known for performing tests on animals, despite evidence showing that such findings from these studies are irrelevant when it comes to the effects of tobacco on human health. However, the public sector is hard at work fighting against the manipulation of data, putting forth reliable information, and educating the public.

When new laws which would limit tobacco sales are devised, the tobacco industry strikes quickly to oppose such actions. This may be done through hiring their own public relations teams to sway public opinion, creating controversy surrounding the medical evidence, and trying to counteract efforts to prevent stricter tobacco laws and taxation. However, public officials are fighting back, pushing for more education and meaningful changes to policy that will help people understand the dangers of smoking, and therefore save lives.

public2Headway is Being Made by Public Officials

According to the WHO, millions of dollars would be saved per year without tobacco product availability. Not only do smokers incur additional costs due to death and healthcare when compared to non-smokers, but they also cost more due to their lowered productivity caused by tobacco related health problems and lowered physical stamina. This is not including the up to 10% of household income spent on tobacco products among lower income families who smoke.

These facts are known by public health officials – and local, state and federal governments are fighting to protect your health.

Despite the tobacco industry’s efforts, local, state, and federal laws are still being put in place to limit non-smoker’s exposure to secondhand and third-hand smoke, as well as limit smokers and potential smokers from lighting up to begin with. Thankfully, teen smoking is also on the decline in many areas due to these new laws and restrictions enacted by the public sector to discourage children from gaining access to tobacco.

At QuitDay, we commend public health officials for their victories in protecting public health. We are grateful for the strides in the health of everyone that have been made as recently as the last decade through positive legislature changes and education.  We will continue to support the fight for better health and health education, and urge public officials to continue their efforts to reduce tobacco use in adults and children.