Effects of smoking on Society Essay

Cigarette smoking has many social costs to society this essay will explore some or the the positive and negative spillover effects it has on some aspects of the world we live in.

Based on evidence presented, it will then conclude if the spillover effects are a negative or positive externality to our society. A spillover effect is the outcome of a market transaction to society. A positive externality is defined as the positive spillover effects being greater than the negative spillover effects. A negative externality can be defined as the negative spillover effects being greater than the positive spillover effects.It is evident that cigarette smoking has negative effects.

It is argued that, ‘ Second hand smoking’, which refers to the smoke breathed out by smokers and the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette – also known as environmental tobacco smoke. is a negative spillover effect. This is because it releases harmful chemicals into the air that harm the lives of those who breath it in it.According to the National Cancer Foundation of the United States “Approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke” (National Cancer Institute) The National Cancer Institute also states that not only does second hand smoke increase the risk of lung cancer but research shows that it also increases the risk of adults developing breast cancer, nasal sinus cavity cancer.

Second hand smoking not only affects adults but children too.Research shows that exposure to the chemicals found in the smoke from cigarettes can cause leukemia, lymphoma, and brain tumors in children. (National Cancer Institute). Heart diseases can also be caused by second hand smoke, not only in adults but in children too.

In the United States, secondhand smoke is thought to cause about 46,000 heart disease deaths each year. (National Cancer Institute)Studies also show that second hand smoke is one of the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (SIDS).

According to Brian Easton of the Wellington School of Medicine 59% of all cases of SIDS are attributed to tobacco consumption by an infant’s parent. (Easton). In 1990 it is estimated that there were 4487 premature deaths as a result of tobacco use in New Zealand. (Easton) All of these deaths would have been avoided if smoking had not occurred.Another argument against smoking is that there is a huge loss in productivity in that people who are sick from illness caused by tobacco consumption are either too sick to work at all or are too sick to work to their full potential. This even effects those who are surrounded by second hand smoke.Everyday and estimated 80,000 to 100,000 children begin smoking.

Evidence shows that 50% of these children go on to smoke for at least 15 to 20 years. (Martin) This means that by the time these children are old enough to work at least 50% of them will have been smoking long enough to have contracted smoking related illnesses. When these children reach the age at which they are able to begin working most of them will already be of ill health and won’t be healthy enough to work to their full potential.

Of the 70,000 people who died due smoking related illness’s in New Zealand, it is suggested that if these deaths did not occur, New Zealand’s labour force would have had an approximately 8,700 more labor workers (Easton). It is also suggested that the GDP (Gross Domestic Production) for the same year would have been $400 million larger if these smokers had still been alive. (Easton) It has also been estimated that every year a smoker will have 5 to 6 hours off work because they are spending the time smoking. (Easton)Negative externalities can be shown in the model belowNegative effects of smoking on society will cause the supply curve to shift to the left.

This is because the supply of cigarettes has increased because less people are now buying the cigarettes because of the negative things they do to society. This will then cause the price to go from p to p1.Although the case against smoking is mostly negative, positive spillover effects do occur. Evan L. Thacker from Harvard School of Public Health, identifies new information proving that smoking protects us from contracting Parkinson’s disease. (Rauscher) Long-term smokers have half the risk of Parkinson’s disease than do nonsmokers. (Vastag) The study was conducted on 12,000 people, and showed that those who smoked the most (had been smoking at least a pack a day for 60 years) had the lowest risk of contracting the illness (Vastag).

Researches from University of Washington in Seattle say that the nicotine component is the likely chemical in the cigarettes which prevents the disease (Vastag).It has also been proven that cigarette smoking can have positive effects to people with mental illness. According to Rethink UK, cigarette smoking is extremely beneficial to patients with mental illness as the nicotine increases alertness so may enhance concentration, thinking and learning. Nicotine can also help with relaxation, and it can also reduce negative feelings such as anxiety, tension and anger. So smoking may help people with mental illness deal with stressful situations. (Rethink UK)This evidence shows the positive effects that tobacco smoking can have on society.The model below shows a positive externality market transaction.The Positive effects of cigarette smoking to society will cause the demand curve to shift to the right.

This is because, when the effects of cigarette smoking are positive people will then want to smoke more because it is good for society. So this will then cause the demand for cigarettes to increase. Resulting in the demand curve shifting to the right and going from being HPE to HSB.From the overwhelming evidence presented it is evident that cigarette smoking has negative externalities to our society. This is determined because the negative social costs to our society are far greater than the positive.

SourcesEaston, Brian . “The Social costs of tobacco use and alcohol misuse.” Wellington School of Medicine 2(1997).Martin, Terry.

“Smoking Cessation.” About.com. January 28, 2007. The New York Times Company.

3 Oct 2007 <http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/antismoking/a/statistics.htm>.Rauscher, Megan .

“Smoking lowers Parkinson’s disease risk .” Sciencentific American.com 20 March 2007 4 Oct 2007 <http://www.data-yard.net/10v2/parkinson.htm>.Rethink, “Smoking and Mental Illness.” Not Alone 20 March 2007 4 Oct 2007 <http://www.

enotalone.com/article/3110.html>.”Secondhand Smoke: Questions and Answers.” National Cancer Institute . U.

S National Institutes of Health . 2 Oct 2007 <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Tobacco/ETS>.Vastag, Brian. “Smoke This: Parkinson’s is rarer among tobacco users.” Science News- Online July 14, 2007 4 Oct 2007 <http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20070714/fob4.asp>.


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