Smoking is universally accepted as one of the main problems affecting the modern society. This is a problem which does not come from nature. This is a problem which is created by us. Smoking is an activity which is voluntarily taken up by people of different ages, races, caste, creed and religion in full knowledge of its harmful effect. This not only affects the person who smokes but also indirectly affects the person nearby. Smoking is a source of an array of health hazards including cancer, respiratory problems and cardiovascular diseases. Smoking during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects in a child. This essay will first try to set an objective for reduction in tobacco usage. This essay will discuss about the current state of tobacco usage in the state of South Dakota, especially among the youth and the interventions taken by local and state government for arresting the problem.
Sioux Falls City Tobacco Objective 2020
Sioux Falls is the biggest city in the state of South Dakota. South Dakota has one of the highest percentages of cigarette smokers in the country. As per data from CDC for the year 2012, 22% of the South Dakota residents either smoke or use some other form of tobacco products (State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation [STATE]) Sioux Falls is no different.
The goal facing the administration of Sioux Falls city is to reduce the number of smokers and the illness, death and disability related to smoking. The city council of Sioux Falls wants to lay down an objective in line with Healthy People 2020 which will help in achieving the goal for the city.
First and foremost, the city council wants to make the laws and policies stricter to reduce tobacco usage of Sioux Falls from 22% of the adults to 15% of the adults by 2020.
Secondly, the city should try to promote cessation among smokers by routinely counseling patient smokers and putting high risk patient smokers on drug therapy to quit smoking. The goal is to reduce smoking related mortality rate from the current rate of 2.39 people/1000 to 1.50 person/1000 by 2020 (STATE).
Finally, the city should adopt policies which will provide easy affordability and access to medical help to smokers willing to use cessation services. Currently, every year almost 50% of the smokers try to quit smoking and only 10-15% succeeds. The plan is to help smokers use cessation program so that at least 30% of the smokers who attempt to quit is actually successful.
Government Role in Addressing the Issue
Government has a big role to play in reducing the number of smokers at local, state and national level. In order for the objectives set at the local level to be successful the city council of Sioux Falls needs support from the state and federal government.
Since 1964, after the first report by Surgeon General on smoking and health, many policies were introduced in US to reduce the number of smokers. Since then the number of smokers has decreased by almost 60%. However, in recent years the number seems to be not reducing as much as it was in previous decades. The past policies and laws seem to be not working efficiently in the current period. In fact in South Dakota the percentage of smokers has gone up slightly in the last decade. During 2006, 20.2% of the adults were cigarette smokers but that number has increased to 22% in 2012. This is an alarming sign. First of all, the South Dakota state should not cut its budget for tobacco control activities. South Dakota has reduced its budget to $13.5 per capita from the recommended $15 to $20 (STATE). This will not help. Sioux Falls should try to talk to the state government to increase the budget to at least $16-$17 per capita. This will certainly help the city council run some of its intended program. Also, South Dakota has one of the lowest state taxes on cigarette packs ($1.53/pack). It has been seen that increasing taxes is an effective way of reducing the number of smokers. Sioux Falls should try to convince the South Dakota state government to increase the state tax. There are more than 450 localities which also have local cigarette taxes. Sioux Falls in collaboration with South Dakota state government should introduce a state or county cigarette tax which will improve the city revenue and help reduce the number of smokers.
Apart from introducing tax, state and local government should join the federal government in totally banning the cigarette advertisement. State and local government also should restrict the places from which cigarettes can be sold (Coalitions, 2013). Finally, the local and state government should create a community of medical service providers, patients, professionals to bring everyone on a single platform so that the coalition efforts to reduce the number of smokers can be achieved more effectively.
Models and Systems for Analyzing the Issue
There are several efforts and initiatives undertaken across the country for many years to address the issue of smoking. However, there is very little work practically done to have an effective result out of those programs. In the decades between 1970 and 2000 the main policy used to reduce the number of smokers was to increase tax and it worked for a sustainable period of time, reducing the total number of smokers by almost 60%. However, since then it has tapered off. To understand the smoking problem we need to analyze it in a more systematic manner.
Let’s first divide the whole population into three sub groups called smokers, ex-smokers and potential smokers. The statistics says that on an average a non-smoker has a 6 years more life expectancy than a smoker. Ex-smokers have a life expectancy slightly lower than that of a non-smoker. The first question that we will try to look into is what makes a potential smoker start smoking because every year thousands of new non-smokers become smokers. If we can understand the reason we probably can attack the root cause to reduce smoking. Secondly, we also need to understand what makes smoker quit smoking. This is another thing which the government and the community need to understand to help a smoker quit smoking. Peer-pressure is one reason which makes many smokers initiate smoking. Even peer-pressure in lot of cases forces an ex-smoker to start smoking again (Robert & Homer, 1978). Apart from that reason it is not really clear which other social factors clearly influences smoking initiation. However, it is seen that four major factors that influence the reduction in smoking and smoking related death are 1) taxation 2) anti-smoking funds 3) reduction in contaminants in cigarette and 4) ban on cigarette advertising. Sioux Falls local authority should create a smoking registry to understand the population, demographics and all other characteristics of the cigarette smoking population of the city.
Define a Targeted Population for the Campaign
South Dakota has a very high youth cigarette smokers. It is one of the very few states where adult smoking percentage is less than youth smoking percentage. If young people are picking this habit of cigarette smoking then it will be a much more difficult task for the local and state government to reduce the number of smokers. Sioux Falls will try to target the youth population for its ‘Quit Cigarette’ campaign.
Surveillance System for Monitoring the Issue
Sioux Falls should create an epidemiologic surveillance cell which will monitor and evaluate tobacco related mortality and chronic disease conditions among Sioux Falls city dwellers through surveillance system. As youth smoking is a big problem in Sioux Falls, every school in the city should conduct a self-administered epidemiological assessment among middle school and high school students. The purpose of this epidemiological surveillance program will be to collect data with regard to tobacco usage, tobacco usage prevention programs in school, students’ view on tobacco usage, the influence of tobacco companies on students and interpretation of the tobacco laws by the youths. This collected data can then be used to make the anti-tobacco campaign more effective.
Epidemiological techniques used for other kind of disease conditions are not uncommon. For example, lot of states use risk assessment surveys to get wide range of information about physical activity, diet, tobacco and alcohol usage, HIV, asthma, diabetes and cancer screenings (Chronic Disease Epidemiology, 2012). These surveys are often conducted over telephone and sometimes at school or local community events.
Risk Assessment and Trends in Disease and Health
There are more than 400 chemicals present in a cigarette and they in varied combination cause different problems in our body. The main problem or disease associated with tobacco usage is lung cancer. Research shows that these chemicals singularly or in varied combination affect our lungs and respiratory system. The risk of lung cancer for a youth who smokes cigarettes can be roughly measured (Risk Assessment Guidance Tool, 2009). The overall risk of health problem to a smoker depends on several factors including life style, food intake and smoking intensity. Apart from lung cancer other two risks associated with tobacco usage is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease.
Smoking and tobacco usage is one of the existing curses in the society. Smoking is a voluntary act taken up by many in full knowledge of its deadly consequences. Sioux Falls is a city which has a big problem in its hand to reduce tobacco usage among youth. This essay has first introduced the objectives which Sioux City should bring in to control tobacco usage. It was also discussed in the essay that local and state government play a combined role in the implementation of various initiatives to fulfill the objective of reducing tobacco usage. There are various reasons which help reduce smoking. Setting up a surveillance system is the first step to understand how deep the problem is in terms of youth smoking practices, awareness and influence of tobacco companies on youths. The trend of tobacco users’ increasingly falling victim to lung and cardiovascular diseases is a serious problem which can only be controlled if smokers show the willingness to quit smoking with the help of cessation programs.
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