Remember the days when cigarettes were smoked on television and in the movies. When you could turn on the television see and Winston cigarette commercials or go to a cigarette sponsored sporting event. Okay, maybe I am dating myself a bit. In today’s society cigarettes have become the object of controversy, ridicule, and disgust. The argument that the production and sale of cigarette must be outlawed for the health of the American public has its merits but also has its fallacies. One of the first arguments for the band on cigarettes is that cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals that can kill and lead to numerous diseases and illnesses.Yes this is a valid point but there are many legal products on market that can kill and lead to numerous diseases and illnesses, such as alcohol and more recent studies suggest cell phones. Another argument for the band is that cigarettes are a public health hazard to other’s that don’t smoke.
Yes this too is a valid point, second hand smoke has been a topic that has received a lot of attention and study over the last few years but banding cigarettes would violate the rights of “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” of those who wish to smoke.Many state and local governments already ban smoking in public places to address these concerns. Another argument for the band is that cigarettes are addictive and hard to break the habit. While this is true, it is also true for many other products that could be seen as addictive, such as alcohol or food.
People also smoke because it gives them a sense of gratification and pleasure. Is this not the reason we participate or partake in many of activities or products we use? Another argument for the band on cigarettes is that health care costs are sky rocketing and smoking is an activity that is contributing to that rising cost.Yes, health care costs are increasing a rapid rate but to single out just cigarettes as a leading cause would be an over exaggeration. The fact is that health costs are sky rocketing due to a vast array of reasons, one being the rising cost of liability insurance.
If we outlaw cigarettes, what path does this take our country down and where does it lead us from there? Perhaps other actives someone finds offensive or bad for your health, such as food, alcohol, or other risky activities; it is a slippery slope. Besides, prohibition was tried on another product which was outlawed based on similar reasons.In the 1920, Congress ratified the 18th Amendment which prohibited alcohol. While Prohibition was successful in reducing the amount of alcohol consumed, it stimulated the spread of unrestrained underground, organized and widespread criminal activity. It created a black market for the product similar to the current illegal drug problem. In 1933, Congress ratified the 21st Amendment which repealed the 18th Amendment.
In doing so, it allow for governments to tax the product. If cigarettes are outlawed, how would the government make up the loss revenue from cigarette tax? You the tax payer!I do not smoke and I do not like smokers smoking around my presence, but I am more concerned about the liberties lost and the criminal activity which may be created by outlawing the product. There has to be a compromise for this issue, such as continued safe areas for non-smokers and smoker education on the health risks to themselves and others. Health insurance carries may even put additional limitations on health care coverage’s for smokers.
One thing is for sure, debate is not going to provide solutions to this argument. Only through dialogue and deliberation will we be able to start the process of solving this controversy.