Although smoking is hazardous to health and the environment, but making it illegal is a serious implementation which if not enforced successfully, will lead to huge losses for a particular economy. Should smoking be made illegal, the sale and production of cigarettes will drastically go down as will the number of smokers dying from lung cancer and other smoking related diseases, but prohibiting it by law is too extreme. All over the world, especially in poorer underdeveloped countries a huge number of people are employed by cigarette making companies. If the production of cigarettes is banned, a lot of people will lose jobs.
The probability of all of these people getting employed again is low; as most of them are not educated enough to meet the minimum requirement for other jobs and are the sole sources of income for their families. The main reason governments all over the world have not banned cigarette production is the huge amounts of revenue and taxes generated from its sale. These taxes are used to build many important institutions like public schools and hospitals. While it is true there are many more sources of income for the government, in present age we cannot deny the part tobacco companies play in increasing our GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In the year 2000 tax revenue from cigarettes totaled Pak Rs. 19. 8 billion, representing approximately 25% of all excise revenue generated in the country for that year”. (“Tobacco Control: Current Challenges for Pakistan, 1”). Apart from tobacco farmers and nicotine suppliers, cigarette production provides income for advertising firms, whitening products and mouth fresheners companies. One of the biggest side effects of making cigarette production illegal is the rise of the black markets. Black markets are underground trading places where goods banned by the government are bought and sold.
They may also involve trading across borders. It is very likely they start operating in economies where selling cigarettes is banned. Ireland, East Bourne, and Paraguay have some of the highest illicit cigarette trading. The government in UK took strong measures to cut down cigarette production resulting in cigarettes being illegally sold across borders. “The UK Government has lost at least ? 16. 7 billion tax revenue from the black market sale of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco over a 5 year period, according to its own statistics”(“? 16. 7 billion loss in smoking tax revenues” ).
Though the cigarette companies play an important role in maintaining the economy, the harmful effects of smoking cannot be overlooked. In the recent years, smoking has been known to be the cause of oral cancer, lung cancer, and heart diseases and many more problems, most of which have proved to be fatal. Nicotine used in cigarettes causes brain damage and even abnormalities in child birth. Smokers have bad breath, yellow teeth; burned fingers and are looked upon with disgust. The estimated number of deaths each year by cigarette smoking is 445,000 in the United States.
By 2030, this number is expected to rise even more, especially in developing countries where smoking is constantly on the rise. In trying to tackle this problem, governments in almost 30 countries across the world including Pakistan, have made it mandatory to issue warning messages on the cigarette packets by law orders. Even the advertising companies are required to show health concern messages at the end of the advertisement. This means that people buying cigarettes are fully aware of the health risks involved but they still continue to do so.
Smoking in a voluntary habit, it is a choice. The solution to this problem lies in educating people about how valuable a human life is and not banning smoking. Cigarettes are an environmental hazard. Cigarette fires are a major threat of smoking, caused mainly by the carelessness of the smoker. While it is true it is a serious problem, it can be prevented by taking a few simple measures. Fire-safe cigarettes are a lot less likely to catch on fire when left unattended and by taking this simple precaution many of these fires can be avoided.
Furthermore cigarettes are not biodegradable. It can take a lot of years for them to decompose. This problem can be tackled by improving the recycling and disposable systems of the country. These problems are not so difficult to deal with if just some simple safety measures are taken while making them completely illegal will have much more disastrous effects. While the harmful effects of smoking are widely known, research has shown some of the positive effects of smoking as well. Smokers admit that smoking causes soothing, relaxes the mind and helps deal with depression.
Scientific studies show that smoking improves concentration and helps to focus. Smokers have proven to have better responsiveness and sharper memory than non-smokers. “After 40 years of scientific research on the effects of nicotine, researchers now say that they have sound scientific proof that smoking and nicotine have a significant positive effect on human brain performance”(“Science is conclusive: tobacco increases work capacity”). Nicotine also is said to enhance new blood vessel development and decrease chances of Parkinson’s disease.
Furthermore, nicotine boosts up creativity and innovation. Many famous celebrities, artists, musicians have committed to smoking in the peak time of their careers. Tobacco which is a major component of cigarettes is also widely used in many other addictive substances, like water pipe tobacco and snuff. The main purpose of making the production of cigarettes illegal is to stop the rising number of deaths occurring each year because of smoking, but if many other alternatives which provide the same level of addiction are available the purpose of the ban is likely to fail.
Keeping in mind the pros and cons of making the sale and production of cigarettes illegal, banning smoking will cause more serious and long lasting problems than it will solve. The income generated by this sector of the economy will fall down immensely. Black markets operating in the country will start selling them as smoking is an addiction and is not a habit which can easily be quit. Smoking is often associated with suicide, while it is true smokers die earlier than non-smokers; the final decision depends on the smoker’s discretion.
As far as the health and environment issues of smoking are concerned, they are upon the smokers own will and can be stopped if people start caring about their lives and their loved ones. An issue as serious as this one needs to be inspected properly if any decision has to be taken. If the ban on cigarette production is not implemented properly, it will lead to a huge fall in the employment level. If smokers dying every day is such an important concern, what about those people who will lose their jobs permanently? How will they feed their families?
In poorer countries no other jobs are available for them and hundreds of families may lose their source of income. The taxes generated by the government will be cut off and much of the development in countries will die down. The true cure lies in making people more aware through advertisements and warning labels which is already been done by many countries all over the world. Because in the end the choice mainly lies in the hand of the smoker, what he or she thinks is more important: his or her own life or the pleasures of smoking. Words: 1310. Works Cited "? 16. 7 Billion Loss in Smoking Tax Revenues. Freedom 2 Choose. N. p. , n. d. Web. 9 Mar. 2013.