Essay on “Should the Same Laws Which Prohibit the Sale and Consumption of Heroin Be Applied to Tobacco?”
The regulation or outright banning of tobacco and tobacco products is one of the most emotive public policy issues facing the American society today. There is an overall agreement over the banning of the sale and consumption of heroin. In fact, all states have made the use and sale of heroin illegal. While heroin is federally controlled and banned from public use, the banning of tobacco continues to be an elusive matter especially for Congress.
One factor to take into consideration is the effect that both heroin and the nicotine in tobacco have on an individual. Proctor (2012) points out that studies by the American Heart Foundation reveal that although tobacco consumption has less dramatic effects compared to heroin, the addictive strength is equally potent. Nicotine, like heroin, stimulates negative biological and chemical changes in the brain. The similarity in the psychoactive and health effects of both substances provides adequate reasons for the legislators to create heroin-esque laws that ban the manufacture and distribution of tobacco products.
Applying heroin laws to ban tobacco use would have the desired effect of jolting people into realizing the severity of the substance (Chapman, 2007). A complete ban on the consumption and sale of tobacco will create the notion that the consequences of using tobacco are as severe as using illegal and lethal drugs such as heroin. Through stringent controls, users can attain the necessary ability to resist temptations associated with tobacco use. Laws that prohibit the use and sale of these products will deter people from the need to smoke, especially among the young people.
However, imposing a total ban on the sale and use of tobacco would be impossible from the political point of view. Most states have banned smoking in public places and increased taxes on tobacco products; nevertheless, a total ban would be highly contentious. There are up to 50 million smokers in the United States and up to 125 million voters. Parties or candidates that support a complete ban of tobacco may lose potential voters. Some tobacco manufacturing firms have also ganged up to scuttle any legislation that would affect their sales (Golden, Peterson & McCay).
Applying heroin laws to curb tobacco use is beneficial to the health of the general populace despite its laborious enactment. The resulting effect would be a generation that is conscious of the effects of tobacco and how to resist its consumption. Legislators should take steps in enforcing stringent measures to regulate the accessibility of tobacco products.
Chapman, S. (2007). Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Golden, N.R., Peterson, L. F. & McCay, W. (2009). The Truth About Smoking. New York: Infobase Publishing.
Proctor., N.R. (2012). Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. California: University of California Press.