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Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay

Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay

Tobacco smoking is known to be a major health problem among many since the product is known to have up to 60 carcinogens among them nicotine and carbon monoxide (Owing, 2005). Currently the smoking prevalence in the European region is estimated to be about 28.6% with the male having a higher percentage of 40% as compared to the female who rank at 18.2%. Health experts have always pinpointed smoking as one the killer habits contributing to high cases of mortality and many health hazards CITATION WHO07 l 1033 (WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2007). In that regard many government have put measures to curb the habit. In this presentation we shall focus on the smoking trends and limitations put by governments within the period 1974-1999 divided in 1974-1984 and 1985-1999. Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.


Tobacco smoking in Britain has been on the decline in the past 50 years. It is believed that in the period beginning 1974 the country experienced the highest decline in smoking. This is compared to 1940s when prevalence was a high as 82%.

Prevalence of smoking in the Great Britain for the period 1974-2012

% 1974 1978 1982 1986 1990 1994 1998 1998 2002 2006 2010 2012

Men 51 45 38 35 31 28 28 30 27 23 21 22

Women 41 37 33 31 29 26 26 26 25 21 20 19

All 45 40 35 33 30 27 27 28 26 22 20 20

Note: Retrieved from smoking statistics with information originating the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey, 2012.

Based on the above statistics it is evident that the period 1974-1984 experienced a slower decline in tobacco smoking as compared to the later period.


The fact that this period was the first to experience such huge decline implies there must have been a general change in public attitude towards the habit. In this case the government played the role as a regulatory body to curb a common habit that had become a vice. To control smoking habit among the people the British government used price increase to keep tobacco prices high. This was done through the introduction of taxes. Due to addiction effect of nicotine contained in tobacco the decline in the number of smokers was not very large even the though the habit is concentrated among the low income earners (Ewles, 2005).

Despite the low smoking prevalence in the period 1974-1984 as compared to earlier years, rights of non-smokers were not recognized. The government focused more of reducing smoking rates rather than reducing the effects imposed by tobacco smoke on third parties. Smoking in public was not regulated as smoking zones did not exist and not much research had been done of how the smoke can affect non-smokers without their consent. Individuals were free to smoke in public as no law enforced by the government was in place to control them. It is not just smokers who did not recognize that non-smokers have their rights but also non-smokers were not aware that they had rights to a smoke free environment.

Generally the number of women smoking had also declined compared to earlier years. The trend continued to later years. Even though there was a decline still the number was high based on the statistics that by 1974, 4 in every 10 women were smokers. This figure dropped and by 1984 it was 3 out of 10. In this period of time smoking among women wasn’t looked from the negative side but it came to be a concern when it was done in pregnancy. Despite lack of much research about the effect of smoking in pregnant women in this period, there was general belief in the public that it was not ideal for a pregnant woman to smoke. Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay. A pregnant woman smoking was seen as irresponsible and not caring about the child she was carrying. The concern here was about the wellness of the child whom the woman was carrying since he/she was being exposed to the dangers of tobacco. However, such public concern did not affect the trend because smoking among pregnant women was common with women from low social class.

The question whether decline in smoking was to the advantage or a disadvantage of all is an issue of concern. While tobacco industry was a big contributor to the tax revenue of the nation and created jobs, the same industry was linked to health and socio-economic challenges. In the period discussed many of the affected parties were the low class citizens who could otherwise used their funds in the right way rather than smoking. It problem worsened if they got health complications as this rendered them uneconomical. The efforts put by the government in this period to curb tobacco smoking were of great value because they focused on building the future nation rather than gaining tax revenues at the expense of the future.


In this period of time the trend in tobacco smoking were in decline until 1994 when they remained constant. In general what this statistics imply is that the smoking prevalence in Britain may have begun to be constant at a rate of one smoker in every for individuals among the adults. The trends here show that the number of women smokers was also getting closer to that of their male counterparts of which stand at 28% as compares 29% in men by 1994. Smoking among the young too increased in this period especially among the teenagers. Despite the low prevalence percentage as compared to preceding periods, the worry was about the stability trend. The trend showed that unless action be taken the prevalence rate in Britain would have begun to rise again CITATION Roy00 l 1033 ( Royal College of Physicians of London. Tobacco Advisory Group., 2000)Smoking during pregnancy was an issue of concern especially among the young and unemployed ones. This is because during this time much awareness had been created about the negative effects of smoking especially in pregnant women. Smoking in pregnancy had been known to cause immature birth and the children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy risked “neo-natal mortality or sudden infant death syndrome, of asthma or wheezing illness in the first years of life CITATION Roy00 l 1033 ( Royal College of Physicians of London. Tobacco Advisory Group., 2000).” On the other hand there was public perception that smoking during pregnancy affected the normal growth of the child both physically and intellectually. With this kind of information within the public a pregnant woman smoking was seen as not caring of the wellness of her child. Although a large number of women continued to smoke during pregnancy, statistics by the Health Education Authority (HBE) in 1999 showed that 10% of women who were smoking before pregnancy stopped the habit. Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

Much awareness was also created of how smoking is likely to affect people who are not smokers but come into contact with the smoke. It was well known that an individual smoking in public is likely to cause more harm to individual who inhale the smoke. In that regard the government came with rules meant to discourage smoking in the public. This was based on acceptance even among the smokers that non-smokers had rights to a clean environment. It is in this period that the government adopted policies that limited places where an individual could smoke. This was aimed at discouraging further increase in the number of smokers who could be easily influenced and also meant to protect the rights of non-smokers.

To curb smoking the British government put more efforts in price increase through the use of taxes. However, this did not been seem to work due to various reasons attached to smoking among them being the addictive nature of the product. It is well known that nicotine substance contained in tobacco is addictive and price increase could not prevent individuals from continuing to use the product. On the other hand the legality of tobacco made it is easier for smokers to get it from cheaper sources that taxation didn’t affect.The government also turned to campaigns through the media that targeted the youth to discourage the habit among them being banning of cigarette adverts. However, such campaigns were known to have poor results in terms of outreach among the young people. The hurdle the government was facing here is that in this period the young were affected as compared to the later whereby focus was put more on the adult population.

The actions by the government to put restrictions on smoking were of great importance to the society. Within this period of time most firms in the UK were manufacturing their products outside the country unlike in the 1974-1984 when tobacco products were produced locally. This meant that no jobs were created for the locals within the country unless in fields like sales, marketing and distribution. Looking into the retail sector cigarettes were sold as secondary products since retailers had other products they majored in hence low returns from the tobacco products. On the side of the consumer it is known that in UK tobacco products are priced in a way that most of the cost is excise duty. This implied that expenditure on the products did not stimulate the economy high as compared to other goods bought by the consumer (Ewles, 2005).

Through the restrictions imposed the society benefited in terms of cost savings and a healthier population. This in turn benefitted both the government and citizens through saving on funds that could otherwise be used for health purposes.Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay. On the other hand the efforts to curb smoking were of great help to the future generation which could easily adopt to low smoking rates. Rules on public smoking also played an important role in societal wellbeing as they gave non-smokers their rights of a clean and healthy environment.


Owing, J. H. (2005). Trends in smoking and health research. New York: Nova Biomedical Books.

Royal College of Physicians of London. (2000). Nicotine addiction in Britain: A report of the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. London: The College.

Ewles, L. (2005). Key topics in public health: Essential briefings on prevention and health promotion. Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.

For decades, Malaysia has severe problems with cigarette-smoking issues (Mackay 1996). Currently, smoking has been recognized as the major drug killer in Malaysia, bringing with its huge human and economic costs. As a result, afflictions caused by cigarette smoking have taken the lives of around 3,500 Malaysian citizens in each year (Facts About Tobacco & Smoking 2008). There are 3 types of smokers, namely social smokers, casual smokers and chain smokers. The Malaysian government enforces laws to reduce smoking rates so that Malaysian citizens can enjoy healthy lifestyles.

Cigarette smoking accounts for a massive 25% of all deaths in Malaysia, with smoking-related deaths making up of three out of five of the top causes of death in Malaysia (Mackay 1996). In addition, a research shows that the percentages of lung cancer incidents have been increased at a rate of 17% a year (Smoking Statistics 2002). According to the result of a survey on cigarette smoking rates in Malaysia, there were 3.6 million smokers in the year 2000. Nevertheless, the number is expected to rise dramatically by 2025. It was also found that about 49% of Malaysian males smoked cigarettes in the year 2000 while the number will be expected to reduce by 30% by the year 2025. By 2025, it is estimated that 4% of all Malaysian women who smoke cigarettes are those of 15 years of age and above. The research also shows that most of the smokers start smoking in their youth. Therefore, it is clear that the smoking rates are the highest among the younger generations (Prostar n.d.). Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

1.3 Aim of research

The aim of this research is to identify the different types of smokers and evaluate the effectiveness of law implementation on cigarette smoking by the Malaysian government in order to reduce smoking rates and possibly to ban smoking in Malaysia for the benefit of Malaysians’ health.

1.4 Methodology

A survey was conducted to collect the data about the different types of smokers’ namely social smokers, casual smokers, chain smokers and the opinions of smokers towards cigarette smoking with a questionnaire. A sample of 20 participants between 11 and 50 years old was taken for this survey.

2.0 Types of Smokers
2.1 Social Smokers

Social smokers are defined as people who smoke mainly or only in social settings and in the presence of others (New Straits Times 1997). Social smokers are also known as “occasional smokers” (Morley 2006). In addition, social smokers are much more likely to have relatives or friends who smoke than those who have never smoked. Figure 1 above indicates that 27% of smokers are social smokers.

2.2 Casual Smokers

Casual smokers are defined as people who smoke on many but not all days and also smokers who know how to control on their smoking, going from smoking daily to only smoking occasionally (New Straits Times 1997). Based on the research, it was found that only 9% of smokers are casual smokers (Figure 1). Therefore, the problem with casual smokers is that they do not think that they are addicted. They think that they can switch their desire to smoke on and off and that they have a full control over whether or not they want to smoke (Turner 2008). Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

2.3 Chain Smokers

Chain smokers are also known as addicted smokers who smoke in a ‘chain’ of cigarettes, one after another. Chain smoking is the practice of lighting a new cigarette immediately after one is finished, sometimes using the previous cigarette to light the next one. It is a sign of addiction and gives the smokers a constant source of nicotine that allows smokers to feel a sense of calmness (Windale n.d.). Based on the survey, 64% of the smokers are chain smokers which contribute the largest number of smokers in this survey (Figure 1).

3.0 Advantages of cigarette smoking

3.1 Economical Contribution

The tobacco industry has contributed to the country’s major economy in terms of employment (be it in manufacturing, agricultural and health sectors), earnings, exports and taxes (The Economics of Tobacco Policy n.d.). It was shown that RM1.8 million in indirect taxes and RM683 million in corporate taxes had contributed into Malaysian government revenue. Based on a research, it was indicated that 7.8% of the Malaysian government’s income tax revenue was contributed by indirect taxes from the tobacco industry while approximately 3% of the Malaysian government’s income tax revenue was derived from corporate taxes within the tobacco industry.

3.2 Mental Relief

3.2.1 Stress Relief

Based on the relief survey conducted in figure 2, 38% of the smokers consume tobacco to relieve their stress. Therefore, cigarette smoking is one of the stress management tools for those who suffer from work-related stress as well as family-related stress. A cigarette contains over 4000 different chemicals which could cause cancer (Healey 2001). The poisonous and addictive drug in tobacco which is nicotine could reduce smokers’ stress levels and it could increase heart rates up to 21 beats per minute and also stimulates the nervous system to make the smokers feel a sense of relief or relaxation (Healey 2001). Besides, smoking creates a numerous conditions that could help the smokers with anxiety and depression (Smoking and mental health 2007). Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

3.2.2 Memory improvement

It is found that nicotine in cigarettes may improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Other than that, it is proven that nicotine can help in improving learning ability and memory problems associated with hypothyroidism. In addition, Victorian doctors also recommended smoking as a means of sharpening the wits and boosting concentration (Derbyshire 2008). Based on the survey conducted, 43% of the smokers feel that smoking cigarettes can help them to improve their memory (Figure 2).

4.0 Disadvantages of cigarette smoking

4.1 Health effects

4.1.1 Lung cancer

In Malaysia, lung cancer is now an increasingly significant cause of death. It is classified as the most common cancer caused by cigarette smoking in Malaysia. Based on the 2003 National Cancer Registry of Malaysia report, lung cancer accounts for 13.8% and 3.8% of all cancers in males and females respectively. To be more precise, Malaysia has faced 1,758 cases of Malaysians who are diagnosed with lung cancer annually in 2003(Acting against lung cancer 2006).

4.2 Environmental effects

According to Tobacco Control, the research shows that cigarette smoke usually produces more air pollution as compared to the diesel car exhaust. From the scientific research, it shows that a cigarette contains over 4000 different chemicals including many toxic substances (Healey 2001). Therefore, the cigarette can create air pollution, the cigarette buds are also a major blow to the environment hygiene (Impact of Butt Littering n.d.). In addition, cigarette smoke also causes potential fire hazards if the lighting cigarette is not put out immediately (Slovenian Young Minds n.d.). In addition, about 3,000 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults each year are caused by the exposure of tobacco smoke from smokers. Also, an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections is recorded in infants and young children whose parents smoke in their presence. Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

5.0 Actions taken by the government

5.1 Legislation

5.1.1 The Control of Tobacco Products Regulation 1993

The Malaysian government has tried to curb smoking among Malaysians by implementing the Control of Tobacco Products Regulation in 1993. This regulation was enforced in 1993 under the Food Act 1993, which all direct advertising and sponsorship are prohibited as well as the requirement of fixed health warnings, and also ceiling levels of tar (20mg) and nicotine (1.5mg) are displayed(Tobacco Unit Malaysia 2003). Besides, smoking restrictions are applied at public places and specific places such as air-conditioned places. Those places are normally set as “no smoking zones” while tobacco sales to any person under the age of 18 years old is strictly prohibited. This regulation is also amended to strengthen the restriction towards the total ban of tobacco-related promotions, the requirements of more effective health warnings, and the limitation to the availability of cigarettes, and the lowering of tar and nicotine levels in order to extend the existing “non smoking zone”. Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

5.1.2 Tobacco Control Act

This act will be replacing The Control of Tobacco Products Regulation 1993 to be the prominent comprehensive legislation for tobacco control in Malaysia. The function of this act is to fit in all relevant provisions and country obligations stated in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (Tobacco Unit Malaysia 2003).

5.2 Augmentation in taxation of cigarettes

According to the Maybank Investment Bank Berhad, raising taxes on tobacco is one of the most effective ways of reducing the amount of people who smoke. Therefore, the Malaysian Government has taken steps to increase the tobacco taxes by at least 11 per cent in 2009 in order to discourage smoking among Malaysians and cuts its budget (Malaysia may raise tobacco taxes n.d.).  Meanwhile, the Malaysian government also tends to raise cigarette’s price by 40% (World Health Organization 2008). Albeit the decision of the Malaysian government has diminished demand of smokers but government revenues need were not affected.

5.3 Restriction on advertisements and other promotions

The advertisements and promotions of smoking or tobacco products should be restricted in Malaysia. In Malaysia, some restrictions have been implemented for the descriptive labeling of cigarettes, such as “lights”, “ultra lights”, “low tar” or “mild” on their packaging. Besides that, cigarette manufacturers are forbidden from promoting cigarettes (Government puts the squeeze on cigarette makers 2008). Therefore, to argue against the cigarette advertisements, the Malaysian government has intervened to introduce anti-smoking campaign to promote the dangers of smoking by placing advertisements during prime time warning. Based on statistics, it was indicated that among 4 million smokers, 1,000 smokers died due to tobacco-related diseases every year. In this case, the Malaysian government had implemented all kinds of legislation to reduce the percentages of death from tobacco-related diseases. Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.


5.3.1 Packaging and labeling

Diagram 1: Samples of health warning on cigarette packages

The Malaysian government has amended the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations 2004 on World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), May 31 to urge tobacco manufacturers to display health warnings on cigarette packages. The health warnings such as lung cancer, mouth diseases, heart diseases and unhealthy infants’ graphics should be displayed on cigarette packages to warn smokers of the consequences of smoking (Health Ministry’s tobacco rules get thumbs-up 2008). In addition, all packages are required to include pictorial warnings that could cover 40% of the front of the packages and 60% of the back of the package (Government puts the squeeze on cigarette makers 2008). Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.

6.0 Conclusion

More effective actions should be taken by the Malaysian government to ban smoking in public areas such as hospitals, clinics, public lifts, toilets, air-conditioned restaurants, public transport, government premises, educational institutions, petrol stations, internet cafes and shopping complexes. Heavy fines could be an alternative to punish those who smoke in public areas. Besides, the Malaysian government could include the reinforcement of rules and regulations on smokers who continue to smoke. Even though tobacco contributes significant tax revenues to Malaysian government, we should also be aware of the increasing costs on health care to curb health problems derived from smoking. We cannot totally ban smokers from smoking cigarettes, our government should play a leading role to educate all generations about the negative effects of smoking. Incentives and taxes should be imposed to curb health problems such as heart diseases and lung cancer. Therefore, the Malaysian government should enforce tougher laws on tobacco smoking in order to have healthier Malaysian.  Impact of Government Restriction on Tobacco Smoking Essay.



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