Any smoker likes to think of smoking as a vice, as an action that gives a self-confidence aura. Smokers consider that smoking is meant to taste one of the pleasures of life. Smoking is usually seen as a harmless weakness, treated with admiration. Nowadays, most of the world’s countries’ governments adopted laws meant to reduce this worldwide spread vice’s effects on humans health. These laws, or rules if you want, have the purpose to forbid smoking in public places, to add taxes to the tobacco-related products, and to offer free specialized medical services to those who want to quit smoking. But, there are five reasons smoking rules are lax.
Smoking is a disease
What the smoker does not usually know is the fact that the need to light up a cigarette is, in fact, the manifestation of a disease which is the nicotine addiction.
In line with the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases, nicotine meets the criteria of an addictive substance, that is, a drug and the nicotine addiction that occurs as a result of tobacco use is a mental and behavioral disorder.
Criteria defining the disease called substance addiction disease are set in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual developed by the American Psychiatric Association.
Nicotine, delivered by the tobacco smoke, reaches within six to seven seconds in the brain, where it causes the secretion of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline, which are substances responsible for the activation of the so-called ‘reward circuit’.
This is a network of neurons responsible for producing the state of physical and mental satisfaction, regardless of the stimulus (food, sex, or other drugs or substances). Over time, associating the cigarette with certain moments and states of mind causes the smoker to react.
As a result, in time, is the nicotine addiction. The time when the nicotine addiction is installed depends on the number of smoked cigarettes, the age when the subject started to smoke, certain genetic factors, or genre.
When it comes to genre, nicotine addiction in women is harder to install, but it is more difficult to give up.
Regarding the genetic factors, scientists have shown that those who have a gene defect of producing a protein that participates in nicotine degradation, smoke less and quit more easily.
Smoking is a serious deaths cause
Smoking is a habit of more than 1 billion people, globally, and the cause for 1 in 10 deaths. That means that 6 million deaths are annually caused by smoking-related diseases, such as lung cancer and cardiovascular disorders.
The growing number of smokers in some countries and the accelerated growth in the numbers of smoking-caused deaths forced the governments to adopt legislation that is meant to force or help people to quit smoking, or at least to limit the number of smoked cigarettes.
Some of these measures are to ban commercials on tobacco, increase taxes on tobacco products, forbid smoking in public places, add warnings and shocking images on the cigarettes packs, restrict the sales, diminish smuggling, or even suing the tobacco companies.
Five reasons smoking rules are lax
Some people may think that governments are not capable of adopting harsher rules regarding smoking. The truth is that the governments have no reason to do that because their own perception along with the public perception regarding smoking has changed. Here are the five reasons smoking rules are lax:
- Governmental structure changes – some governmental departments have focused their attention on health issues, or some new authorities to work in that direction have been created.
- A different point of view – tobacco products have been viewed as valuable assets some years ago. Now, tobacco is seen as a problem for humans’ health.
- Tobacco companies lost the power – for almost 100 years the tobacco companies have been seen as the Gods of the finances and their owners’ opinions were a goldmine for the governments. Nowadays, the tobacco companies are excluded, while the opinions of health organizations and anti-smoking groups are accepted more easily.
- The social factor – people tend to understand the danger that the tobacco represents to the public health, so groups opposing to tobacco control rules have declined.
- The scientific opinion – the scientifically proven link between tobacco consumption and health issues has been widely accepted by the governments, worldwide.
Three things that no governmental smoking rule will be ever able to change
‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ applies perfectly in this case. Governments are well-intended but people are still smoking and dying from that, while smugglers, tobacco companies, and even some governmental structures score sky-high profits, regardless of all the measures taken against this vice.
- Smuggling – the taxes that are globally added to the tobacco products in order to financially force people to quit smoking and to enlarge the health departments’ budgets are becoming useless in their purpose when smuggling exists and is more and more adopted by smokers, worldwide, but especially in the poorer countries, such as the Eastern European countries, some of the Southern American countries, or even South-Eastern Asian countries.
Not the high price is the one that makes a smoker to quit smoking, at least not when there are alternatives such as cigarettes smuggling.
- The financial point of view – regardless the smoking rules governments adopted and no matter on the mainstream opinion on smoking dangers, the tobacco industry’s profit is around $40 billion and increasing, while the global tobacco sales are of about $500 billion, annually. Governments take their cuts as taxes.
- More and more smokers – despite all the efforts put into making people quit smoking, the number of smokers increases by about 4%, annually.
Unfortunately, the five reasons smoking rules are lax are in fact the trap the governments have fallen into because, despite all the efforts to reduce the incidence of this vice and all the positive changes in people perception, the smoking vice remains powerful and spreads like a virus making more and more victims.