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The Changing Public Image of Smoking in the United States

Tobacco use is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases and deaths in the United States. According to the survey from 2016, 37.8 million adults in the USA aged 18 and older currently smoke cigarettes (“Current cigarette smoking,” 2018). Scholars have discovered that 15 of every 100 country residents (15.5% of the entire population) use tobacco products on a regular basis, which poses the problem as a nationwide issue (The American Lung Association, 2018). The government takes significant steps to reduce smoking prevalence by providing raised taxes on this category of produce. Although the figures have shown a minor decline in tobacco use over the past decade, the statistics are still alarming, and they force clinicians and local authorities to proceed with further interference into the matter.

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Cigarette Consumption as a Global and National Issue

The extensive advertising of tobacco products at the beginning of the twentieth century, followed by the introduction of automatic cigarette rolling machines, seriously contributed to the rising prevalence of smoking on a national scale. The first half of the previous century was marked by the ignorance of the issue since neither public nor clinicians paid proper attention to the problem elimination (Cummings & Proctor, 2014). Over the decades of unrestricted promotion of their produce, cigarette manufacturers have evolved into strong market players possessing enough power to influence the country’s economic situation. Today, when their products have reached low and medium-income countries, smoking has become “the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in most parts of the world” (Cummings & Proctor, 2014, p. 35). The researchers indicate that 6 million people die every year due to this habit.

Suggestions to Address the Problem

Addressing the problem of smoking in the United States is supposed to be a complex task to fulfill involving various organizations and stakeholders such as clinicians, healthcare units, the government, and smokers themselves. The federal government has recently launched a new anti-smoking campaign primarily aimed at helping adolescents who are at risk of becoming tobacco addicted (The American Lung Association, 2018). The major campaign objective is to diminish the smokers’ statistics among youth by 300,000 within the next three years. The same association wrote that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allocated $115 million to fight the issue prevalence. It is expected that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health, and other healthcare services join the initiative too. By taking a centralized approach to reducing the smoking prevalence, both the government and public units would reach the identified purpose with less time spent.

Another governmental program is currently targeted at increasing the tobacco produce taxes. The American Lung Association (2018) indicates that “the average state cigarette tax is now $1.72 – with Connecticut and New York having the highest cigarette taxes ($4.35) and Missouri having the lowest ($0.17)” (p. 6). Taxation is, in fact, the major source of financing of the discussed campaign, which forms a background for the governmental machinery to stimulate the equal growth of taxes across the country. If supported by the increased products’ fee and voluntary donations, these joint measures would allow the initiative to demonstrate faster outcomes. However, the given objective is only achievable if all states follow the example of Connecticut and New York in taxes.

The Impact of Smoking on the Healthcare Delivery System

Smoking cigarettes prove to be economically costly for the U.S. healthcare delivery system since it often arrives as the key reason for fires. As Ekpu and Brown (2015) point out, “besides the healthcare costs of treating injured or burn victims, direct property damaged from fires induced by tobacco has been valued as US$552 million per year” (p. 8). The researchers stress out that smokers are a threat not only to themselves but to people who surround them as well. Toxic effects of passive smoking are frequently tracked by clinicians in children who communicate with people consuming tobacco products. Due to the activities of the latter, clinicians’ practice is often subject to the higher workload and increased percentage of injury cases.

Along with the damage to property, tobacco intake causes a wide range of disorders, including pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. It also stands as the major reason for cancer, pregnancy complications, and heart attack (Lightwood & Glantz, 2016). Due to smoking being viewed as a national issue in the USA, one may conclude that it creates multiple barriers for the healthcare system to function with maximized efficiency. The high incidence of smoking-related diseases forces doctors and nurses to focus more on a raised working pace rather than the proper duty fulfillment.


Recent studies and statistics have proven that smoking cigarettes create multiple issues for the government of the USA on both the economic and social levels. As a solution to the matter, the governmental machinery has initiated a new anti-tobacco campaign aimed to protect young smokers from becoming addicted to this harmful behavior. However, for the initiative to retain its efficiency, proper tax policy and close cooperation with the key stakeholders are required.

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Cummings, K. M., & Proctor, R. N. (2014). The changing public image of smoking in the United States: 1964–2014. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, 23(1), 32-36.

Current cigarette smoking among adults in the United States. (2018). Web.

Ekpu, V. U., & Brown, A. K. (2015). The economic impact of smoking and of reducing smoking prevalence: Review of the evidence. Tobacco Use Insights, 8, 1-35.

Lightwood, J., & Glantz, S. A. (2016). Smoking behavior and healthcare expenditure in the United States, 1992–2009: Panel data estimates. PLoS Medicine, 13(5), 1-18.

The American Lung Association. (2018). State of tobacco control 2018. Web.

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