University of Wisconsin Madison
Ashley Choi, CCAS Undergraduate Student
Persuasive paper LSC100- Camille Rodgers
Annually, an estimated 443,000 people die from tobacco use, 8.6 million suffer from smoke related illnesses, and 1.5 million underage children start experimenting with associated products (American Cancer Society). The dismal truth is that it has taken its toll on America. To put into perspective, each year tobacco kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined; yet, as the most preventable death and disease – it’s time to take control. By raising our nation’s tobacco taxes not only would it benefit the countries overall health but increase revenue within government. Levying taxes would also assist in underage smoking.
First, popularized in the American War, use of tobacco was very much a norm and in many ways encouraged, simultaneously, people were unknowingly becoming addicted. The tobacco industry reached its ultimate peak during World War II and until 1949 America was unaware of the chemicals found within tobacco let alone its harm (M. P. Ravenel). After released reports from the Surgeon’s General Report, lawsuits rose, television broadcasters banned related commercials and the government started to implement laws and regulations against the industry. Ever since health tags have been required on cigarette packages, cartoon characters have been barred from related advertisements and most recently, campuses, work areas, bars and public facilities have altered smoke free (M. P. Ravenel). Although there have been efforts from our government, we must not stop here.
First and foremost, our nations health is in danger. In today’s society, nearly everyone knows tobacco is dangerous. With over 4000 chemicals, smoking is potent enough to cause lung cancer, heart cancer, bladder cancer, mouth cancer, emphysema, high blood pressure and a countless number of other diseases (American lung association). Of the current 46.6 million smokers, projected calculations have predicted half of them to die from a smoke related illness (American lung association). Comparatively, second hand smoking (people who involuntarily inhale fumes from neighboring smokers) affects 6 million more. Within Wisconsin, recent data (2010) has proved that for the dollar increase per cigarette package, the Wisconsin Quit Line received 13,000 more calls within the first month of the increase(Ann, B). In Washington, rates decreased from 22.6 to 19.7 percent (2002) after a 60-cent increase (Ann, B.). With the strong inverse correlation of cost versus the consumption rate, experts conclude, if even higher taxes are implemented, rates would decrease accordingly. Expectedly, the lower rates of taxes in other states have shown to have a higher use in tobacco products- thus, if we allow smoker to smoke, our nations health is high at risk (Myers).
For some people, they may say that it is not the governments place to take action. Laws in the broadest sense are set to enable a safe nation. With the public’s health in consideration, it is the government’s civil duty to ensure protection. Say for instance, drunk driving. If we allowed drunk drivers to drive with however much consumption, car accident and death toll rates would terrifically increase. In this case, the government considered the public’s safety as a whole, along side with the drivers. Within the process of banning smoking within public factions, the protection of public health in Kentucky stated “Protecting the public from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, sometimes known as second-hand smoke, can be the proper object of the police power of local government…This Court has held on several occasions that the protection of public health is uniformly recognized as a most important municipal function.” Second hand smokers must be stood up for, if not themselves, a higher authority…