Smoking cigarettes and tobacco can have a range of potential effects on society.
To reduce some of the negative effects, governments and other groups engage in strategies to reduce the prevalence of smoking across society.
In this guide, we outline some of these potential strategies.
Summary – Reducing The Prevalence Of Smoking
Current Smoking Prevalence Rates & Trends
Across several rates and trends, smoking prevalence and smoking rates are generally decreasing year on year, and have decreased significantly since 1965
However, smoking is still one of the leading contributing factors to preventable deaths in the US when considering direct smoking, and also passive second hand smoking
Additionally, certain groups of people have far higher smoking rates than the population average, and make up a significant % of the smoking population compared to others.
Potential Ways To Reduce Smoking Prevalence
Smoking control policies, increasing taxes, and restricting tobacco industry promotion can all help reduce smoking prevalence on a society wide scale
Some of the countries with the strictest smoking and tobacco control policies might have some of the lowest smoking prevalence rates
It’s worth noting that increasing taxes also raises government revenue
Potential Benefits To Reducing Smoking Prevalence
Potentially one of the most significant benefits in places where tobacco control policies are in place, and where smoking prevalence has been reduced, is a reduction in health care expenditure
For individuals, quitting smoking can also decrease excess medical care costs
There can be other potential benefits too, and these benefits can be the inverse of the potential negative impact of smoking on society
For example, another economic benefit might be less lost productivity in the economy.
Potential Challenges To Reducing Smoking Prevalence
Potential challenges might include persuading government to enact policies, lobbying by tobacco industry companies, legal challenges and different campaigns
There can also be disagreement by some on how much of a net negative smoking is compared to other issues like for example obesity
Individuals face their own challenges in quitting smoking – addiction, breaking habits, and so on
Individuals, Quitting Smoking & Potential Alternatives To Cigarettes
There’s a number of ways individuals might try to quit smoking
There’s also a number of alternatives to cigarettes, however, there can be other drawbacks, or some of the same health related drawbacks to these alternatives when weighing up the pros and cons
Firstly, How Might Smoking Impact Society?
In this guide, we outline how smoking might impact society across a range of factors and areas.
What Are The Current Smoking Prevalence Rates & Trends?
In this guide, we outline some stats and information about smoking prevalence rates and trends in the US over the last few decades.
As a summary:
– Roughly a fourth of the population uses tobacco products
– About 19.4% smoke cigarettes
– Smoking rates and the % of people over 18 who smoke have generally declined year on year recently. Smoking rates amongst the youth are also at historical lows
– Since 1965, smoking prevalence rates have declined substantially across the whole of society, however, smoking remains the leading contributing factor to preventable deaths in the US when considering direct smoking, and also passive second hand smoking
– Additionally, it’s worth noting that certain groups amongst society compose some of the largest % of total smokers compared to other groups. Those with mental disorders, addiction problems, those with a GED, and those in rural areas may all have higher smoking prevalence rates, compose a higher % of total smokers in society, or use tobacco products at higher rates than average
What Are Some Ways To Reduce The Prevalence Of Smoking In Society?
Tobacco control policies may be one effective way, but there can be others.
From ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: Population-based tobacco control policies, increasing taxes, and restricting tobacco industry promotion of cigarettes all can reduce smoking and raise government revenue.
Read more on reducing smoking prevalence and potential healthcare cost savings in the ncbi.nlm.nih.gov resource
Per ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: [Consistent with findings of cutting prevalence …] the states with the most rigorous tobacco control policies had a much lower smoking prevalence …
What Are Some Of The Potential Benefits Of Reducing Smoking Prevalence?
Impact Of Cutting Smoking Prevalence On Smoking Related Costs For The Economy
… a 10% relative reduction in smoking prevalence between a state and the national average in one year was followed by an average $6.3 billion reduction (in 2012 dollars) in health care expenditure the following year
… [States with lower smoking prevalence in the US] had … lower health care expenditures than states that did not have these policies
Impact Of Quitting Smoking For An Individual’s Finances
About 70 percent of current smokers’ excess medical care costs could be prevented by quitting (drugabuse.gov)
Other Potential Benefits
There might be a range of other benefits across society when smoking prevalence rates are reduced.
As one example for the economy, cutting smoking prevalence rates may reduce lost productivity related to smoking.
Read more about the potential impact of smoking on society in this guide – cutting smoking prevalence may reduce or eliminate some of these impacts.
Potential Challenges To Reducing Smoking Prevalence Across Society
Potential Challenges To Society Wide Solutions Aimed At Cutting Smoking Prevalence
From ncbi.nlm.nih.gov: The challenge for tobacco control advocates has been to persuade governments to enact … policies in the face of tobacco industry lobbying, legal challenges, and campaigns to manufacture doubt about the health risks of smoking and the need for tobacco control policies.
Something else to consider is that some people argue against focussing so strongly on smoking as a social problem when other issues such as obesity (caused by a range of factors such as overconsumption, lack of exercise, etc.) costs society and the economy is similar ways.
Challenges For Individuals
Some people experience addiction to nicotine, the actual habit of smoking, and other factors associated with smoking.
Individuals may face difficult challenges when trying to quit.
Potential Ways Individuals Can Quit Smoking
Quitting smoking for the individual can happen in a number of ways.
There’s quitting smoking cold turkey, nicotine patches and chewing gum, ‘quit smoking’ helplines, smoking addiction therapy and smoking addiction centres, hypnotherapy, and other options to consider.
Potential Alternatives To Cigarettes
There are also alternatives to traditional cigarettes, such as e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and hookah.