Despite the adverse effects of smoking on health, more than 37.8 million adults in the US smoke cigarettes. Consequently, an estimated 480,000 people lose their lives every year due to smoking. This is the reason why the government as well as private organizations are carrying out campaigns to raise awareness about this critical issue.
The good news is that cigarette use has significantly decreased over the past two decades. In 2005, 20.9% of the adults smoked cigarettes, and the proportion has now decreased to 15.5%. Statistics suggest that the increasing prices of cigarettes are the major reason behind this trend.
Buying a single packet of cigarettes doesn’t seem like much. However, the costs of small items add up when you buy them on a regular basis, and often tamper with your budget. Smokers tend to spend around 25% of their entire income on cigarettes. As a result, they struggle with monetary issues.
The US government, in an attempt to reduce cigarette consumption, has imposed new laws. These laws significantly increase the prices of cigarettes. Many other countries, including Australia, also implement strict laws to raise awareness about the negative impacts of cigarette and tobacco and encourage people to quit smoking.
As per a research study conducted by the British Medical Journal, around 67 million smokers around the globe are likely to quit smoking for good if the prices of cigarettes are increased by 50%. If governments take actions, they can protect people from the hazardous effects of smoking as well as protect the environment.
It’s a global trend that men are more likely to take up smoking than women. Back in the day, most research studies focused on developed countries with high per capita income. However, this research focused on 13 less wealthy nations such as Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, China, India, and Mexico.
In developing countries, people are more affected by the pricing factor as compared to the developed nations. This is because they struggle with financial problems due to limited financial resources.
Under such circumstances, if the prices of cigarettes are increased, they may not be able to afford it. This will help them quit smoking so they can spend their hard-earned money on more important responsibilities. So, an increase in the prices of cigarettes can benefit more than 20% of lower-class smokers around the globe and help them get rid of this bad habit.
The Impacts of Increasing Cigarette Prices
Many countries have imposed a tax on cigarettes and other harmful products to discourage their use. However, this approach didn’t lead to the desired results: all people did was turn to cheaper tobacco products.
In the UAE, 10% of smokers have started consuming medwakh (a tobacco-smoking device) due to the high prices of cigarettes. Cigarettes damage your organs, but keep in mind that cheaper products can lead to more adverse health effects as compared to expensive tobacco products. So, this approach will backfire unless governments introduce taxes for every tobacco product.
Smoking affects people of all ages. But middle-aged people are more likely to experience its negative side-effects. When it comes to the Middle East, 14% of males and 2% of females consume cigarettes. However, through effective rules and regulations it is possible to further decrease its usage.
Cigarette Consumption: How It Leads to Poverty
The World Health Organization reports that smoking is the leading cause as to why around 100 million people fall into poverty every year. Smoking increases the risk of stroke, coronary heart diseases, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases. Since the costs of healthcare are quite high, smokers tend to spend more than 10% of their annual income on medical expenses.
The lower class is more affected by the increasing costs of cigarettes. By raising prices, it’s possible to drive them away from smoking. Knowing that they can’t afford to buy cigarettes and pay for the treatment of smoking-related diseases, a majority of smokers may give up this habit and strive to improve their lifestyle.
The study suggested that the price increase can prevent more than twenty million people from falling below the poverty line. World Health Organization believes that introducing taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to encourage smokers to quit smoking since it can also work in the case of addicted smokers.
Raising Cigarette Prices: The Negative Aspects
While increasing the prices of cigarettes and tobacco can lead to a decline in cigarette consumption, this isn’t always a good idea.
Smoking isn’t just a bad habit, it’s an addiction. People who regularly smoke get addicted and find it extremely difficult to quit smoking no matter how hard they try. So, aside from increasing the costs of cigarettes, governments should also focus on raising awareness about addiction treatment especially when it comes to our youth.
As mentioned, smoking is a prevalent issue in both developing and underdeveloped countries, but the high-income countries aren’t safe either. In the US, more than 3,200 youth try their first cigarette every day and 2,100 of them become daily smokers.
It’s not easy for addicts to quit smoking cold turkey. The increasing costs of cigarettes only burden them and lead to financial crisis. However, this problem can be dealt with by raising awareness about addiction treatment and convincing people to visit rehab programs to overcome smoking addiction.
Smoking and tobacco consumption are the leading causes of several health issues around the globe. However, governments can encourage people to quit smoking by increasing its prices. If you’re addicted to smoking, visit a rehab center to overcome addiction through proper treatment.
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