Effective Measures of Reducing the Use of Tobacco

Published: 2019-10-02 08:00:00
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The use tobacco is one of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases in the world. The consumption of the substance predisposes consumers to several health complications that create not only a financial burden on the affected persons but also increases budgetary allocations from governments to combat the effects of its use in the form of medical services and other rehabilitation interventions. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 1.3 billion smokers in the world, of which 84% hail from developing nations. The small figures in the advanced countries can be attributed to the success of the WTO in campaigns of awareness and adoption of policies that discourage tobacco consumption. WTO also estimates that in China alone, there are 350 million smokers of tobacco. Annually, smoking leads to more than 400,000 deaths in the United States (CDC, 2008).It is from this background that the WTO and other institutions designed various evidence-based interventions to reduce the consumption of tobacco and its effect on human populations.

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Mass media campaigns through the media have been of the practical ways of passing information to the public about the dangers of the consuming tobacco. Commercials and social marketing play a significant role in educating the populations of the implications of smoking tobacco. Communications channels such as televisions and the internet have been effective delivering cautionary messages about the dangers of living a smoking life. The mentioned media, for instance, have been instrumental in educating the public about cancer and emphysema implications for tobacco users (Levesque, 2007). The gruesome depictions of the symptoms of cancer and emphysema have been found to be effective in passing information about effects of tobacco consumption, leading to enhanced attitudes and positive behavior patterns (#39 Anti Cigarette Smoking Emphysema New York City Ad Commercial Spot, Stop tobacco, it kills !, n.d.). Research findings indicate that earlier interventions against tobacco use faced several challenges due to the normalization of smoking in the American society (Levesque, 2007). On this end, the media has achieved the objective of de-normalizing tobacco use through the promotion of quit attempts as well as the economic consequences of smoking tobacco. Also, the media has been effective creating awareness about the various centers where counseling and rehabilitation services are offered. Studies conducted by Kasza et al (2011), however, show that mass media interventions yield superior results when integrated with other programs such as face-to-face counseling, monitoring, and evaluation of the progress of rehabilitation.

Elimination of promotion, advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products is an intervention that seeks to limit information circulation about tobacco products. This intervention is a primary target for vulnerable groups such as adolescents. Studies conducted by Lovato, Watts and Stead (2011) concluded that advertising tobacco products contributes significantly to in inducing people to smoke. A meta-analysis of their study showed that non-smoking adolescents with increased awareness through the media are more likely to become tobacco smokers. This phenomenon is caused by the various messages that portray tobacco smoking as a good thing, and therefore, exploit their experimenting tendencies. Citing earlier studies, the Cancer Council of Australia (2011) find that adults and adolescents get attracted to tobacco products as a result of the enticing adverts. The issue of packaging is also another avenue that is targeted for the anti-tobacco interventions. Due to the increased anti-smoking campaigns, companies selling tobacco products have resorted to packs as a means of dissuading tobacco smokers from quit attempts. Also, the research concluded that plain packaging of tobacco is less likely to forge a convincing appeal against quitting smoking. Tobacco consumers who use plain packs have 81% chance of contemplating quitting at once in a day and consider quitting as a more important priority vis-a-vis those persons using branded packs. On the same wavelength, tobacco consumers that use unbranded packs were 66 percent more likely to consider such type of cigarettes as less satisfying. Given the above, Australian government enacted laws that prohibit promotion of tobacco in 2012 in according to the stipulations of the WTO. These measures have recorded positive results in support of cessation initiatives in the country.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) imposing restrictions and bans is one of the strongly recommended ways of reducing smoking and exposure of non-smokers to the effects of secondary tobacco use. The mentioned approach is implemented in the form of government laws, private business restrictions, and employer policies that provide minimum standards on tobacco smoking environments. The department argues that scientific evidence shows the high effectiveness of such methods reduce not only environmental tobacco smoke but also augments the cessation initiatives. In a study of the effects of stringent laws and regulations on tobacco use, CDC (2014) cites several pieces of evidence of the increase in health conditions of Americans. Notably, there is a correlation between reduced hospital admissions for cardiac problems and enforcement of smoke laws. These bans have reduced the effect of secondary smoking due to the decreased exposure of the public to tobacco substances. Besides, there was a reduction in cases of admissions for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory cases, among other health complication. Similarly, the enactment of the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act in the UK imposed several restrictions on tobacco advertisements and sponsorships. The effects of the implementation of the Act demonstrate a significant reduction in the number of tobacco-related illness in the UK hospitals and also increased the number of people rehabilitated out of smoking. The introduction of pictorial warnings, for instance, increased awareness of the dangers of tobacco, resulting in the decline of tobacco smokers in the last decade (Kasza et al., 2011).

The adoption of strategies that target the reduction of the propensity of non-smokers to indulge in tobacco consumption has proved to be an effective approach to combating tobacco use. Raising taxes has a cost implication which engenders a decline in the frequency of smoking among smokers. According to the Cancer Council of Australia (2014) increase in taxes on tobacco products in the year 2010, translated in 11% reduction in tobacco consumption after two years of implementation of the new tax laws. Research found out that the reason for the changing smoking trends was that 44.3 percent of the cases cited health effects as the motivation for the cessation while 44 percent quit because the products were costing a lot of money. The number of people that selected cost as a factor for cessation increased from 35 percent in the year 2007 to 44.1 Percent in 2010.The councils findings are in agreement with DHHS, which demonstrate that increasing exercise duty on tobacco denies some smokers the opportunity to access cigarettes. According to the DHHS, most smokers start tobacco use during childhood and adolescence. This approach is highly effective in adolescents. In this regard, denying access reduces the number of young people accessing tobacco, and therefore, decreases not only the initiation rate but encourages quitting as well.

Community-based programs provide opportunities for the local populations to obtain information about smoking and its consequences. According to Lettlow (2008) community based models ensure that local communities participate while increasing their capacities and engagement in preventive activities. These program models possess the potential to access a considerable number of people. Lettlow espouses that cultural competencies, in this respect, contribute significantly to the dissemination of information about the dangers of tobacco. The hiring of culturally-sound staff, provision of education materials, language assistance, engaging community networks and leaders, respectful care are some of the essential actions for the success of these programs. Also, the program must target specific groups which are considered vulnerable to the practice of tobacco consumption. The youth campaign for instance that began in the year 2000 has been instrumental in empowering young people with the right information about the dangers of smoking behaviors. It was intended to insulate the youth against manipulation from peers and tobacco companies. Some of the successes of the Truth campaign is the enactment of exercise tax increases that denied the youth from accessing tobacco substances (Lee, 2010).Community interventions, however, must be employed alongside other approaches to yield the results that are sustainable concerning tobacco consumption.

Surveillance and evaluation have proven effective in containing the spread of tobacco use in the world. The justification of monitoring is to show the effectiveness of various programs for improved decision-making.CDC (2014) defines surveillance as the continuous monitoring of behaviors, attitudes and health outcomes in a given period. It allows stakeholders to collect data for assessment of the programs. On the other hand, evaluation involves the systematic gathering of data about activities and results of programs so as to make judgments concerning a particular program, and develop suggestions for further improvements. Surveillance and evaluation focus on prevention of initiation among the young adult and the youth, promotion of quitting, and elimination of second-hand smoke.CDC documents several positive outcomes of these approaches and asserts that it is one of the most effective ways of promoting quitting and initiation.

Cessation interventions are a popular method employed to fight against tobacco use because of their effectiveness. It entails the employment of various methods to help tobacco smokers to quit the practice. They include clinical interventions, where the medical staff gives counseling to addicts, respectful treatment, campaigns of tobacco promotion bans, among other approaches. For instance, the initiative of Washington State to launch telephone counseling has promoted quitting practices and rehabilitation of smokers in the state. Blebil et al. (2014) studies on the effect of telephone counseling show that the approach resulted in more than 70% chance of quitting smoking. The approach also showed superior results compared to other standard methods. Cancer Council of Australia (2014) indicates that interventions such as telephone counseling registered excellent results in sustaining quitting efforts.

Conclusion

Tobacco consumption has been on the decline due to the various interventions to regulate access and use of the substance. Mass media campaigns have been effective in disseminating information on the dangers of consuming tobacco. Limitation of promotion and advertisement of tobacco products has strengthened the role of mass media in relaying of anti-tobacco messages. Also, use of community-based programs increases awareness to the local communities about the implications of tobacco consumption relative to tobacco-free lifestyles. Moreover, surveillance and evaluation enable anti-tobacco programs to assess progress and make interruptions that sustain these efforts. Furthermore, promoting cessation efforts such as telephone counseling helps in quitting efforts. Although considerable progress has been achieved, more attention needs to be directed to developing nations where tobacco consumption has r...

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