Tobacco & Public Health: How To Reduce Consumption


Through the years, statistics have shown a link between smoking and lung cancer. Likewise, the tobacco industry’s independent research has found

The Smoking Man

The tobacco industry still publicly denies the causation theory.

carcinogens in smoke, and they acknowledged the relationship between smoking and lung cancer. This has caused a negative impact to this industry, so the question is whether to recognize to the health problems and try to find marketable solutions, or whether to basically deny causation.

The tobacco industry still publicly denies the causation theory with the exception of the US manufacturer Liggett & Myers. Research was launched into the “safe cigarette”, and has promoted “low harm” versions of their products; such as light, low tar, filtered, or electronic cigarettes, but it has been successfully argued that a company could not produce a “safe” product, because this would imply that its other products are dangerous.

Despite the fact that there is clear and convincing evidence against the negative effect of tobacco, this industry keeps creating confusion about the health risks by responding to the public concern by putting filters on cigarettes that are not any less dangerous, and promising constant research into the health consequences of smoking. Although, smokers had switched to the different “healthier” cigarette types, advertising by the tobacco industry, the risk of dying from smoking has increased over the last 50 years. Thus, while the tobacco industry pacifies the smokers into a false sense of security by pretending to act in the public interest, it has only been a marketing strategy, at the expense of public health. Despite decades of evidence to the contrary, and millions of deaths caused by tobacco, this industry still maintains that the allegations against the cigarette harm is unfunded.


cigarettes cross hatched

Increasing the price of tobacco products would considerably reduce consumption

As it is common knowledge that for decades, the tobacco industry has been advertising their products to children and teenagers, and has been spending billions on getting children to start smoking. Recent research have shown that children and teenagers who had previously been occasional cigarette smokers become regular cigarette smokers; and thus, the tobacco industry’s “safe cigarette” scheme is misleading because the tobacco addiction is the major cause of death in the United States and it can be prevented.

 According to the American Journal of preventive Medicine, the Cost of Smoking-Related Illness in the United States is more than $300 billion each year, including an estimate of $170 billion for direct medical care for adults. More than $156 billion in lost productivity, including $5.6 billion due to secondhand smoke exposure. As a measure, increasing the price of tobacco products would considerably reduce consumption. For example, a 10% increase in price has been estimated to reduce overall cigarette consumption by 3 to 5%. Research on cigarette consumption suggests that both youth and young adults are two to three times more likely to respond to increases in price than adults. 

Therefore, in order to prevent health risk to the public, initiatives to increase taxes on tobacco products were undertaken in California, Colorado, Missouri, and North Dakota in 2016. For example, in California the Tobacco Tax Increase Initiative was approved on November 8, 2016. As a result, the cigarette tax will be increased by $2.00 per pack, with same increases on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, containing nicotine. Revenue from the state tobacco tax will be allocated to physician training, prevention and treatment of dental diseases, Medi-Cal, tobacco-use prevention, research into cancer, heart and lung diseases, and other tobacco-related diseases, and school programs focusing on tobacco-use prevention and reduction.