It is evident from various researches carried out by various parties, groups and non-governmental organizations that cigarette smoking is one of the biggest contributors of cancer and especially lung cancer among the United States’ health report. A health research conducted by the world health organization indicate that over 42% of the reported and diagnosed cancer cases across the United States are as a result of smoking. This means that cigarettes and tobacco is a major cancer contributor in this republic. For this reason, there are a number of measures that the government may take in an attempt to fight smoking, thus reducing the level of cancer cases in the United States. One of these measures that the government has taken in an attempt to fight smoking in the states is taxes increment on cigarettes. By this, the government hoped to discourage people from smoking, and also discourage those who may be planning to start engaging in the activity from starting due to the high prices of the products as a result of high taxation.
Taxes increment on Cigarettes
Even as the government raises the prices for cigarettes in an attempt to discourage smoking, it is important to note that in various other countries that have followed suit; little positive outcome has been experienced as a result of this. This is because people still continue smoking, and in fact very few people have reduced their smoking rates and smoking habits as a result of raising cigarettes prices. The reason for this is simple; the amount of money people use on cigarettes in a day is very minimal as compared to expenditures on other products. This basically means that cigarettes’ expenses are very minimal.
On the other hand however, the increment in taxation and consequently prices of cigarettes may have a psychological impact on the users, especially those who have less funds for example the students. The taxation will only in most cases affect the young smokers such as the pre-adults when it comes to impacts upon the taxes’ implementation. From research, the majority of smokers in any region across the world fall under the age category of twenty five to fifty five years. Smokers under the age of twenty five have been referred to as “budding smokers” while those above the age of fifty five have been commonly referred to as “habitual smokers”. For this reason therefore, a sigmoid curve could best represent people’s smoking habits across the United States.
How to reduce Tobacco-caused Cancer
Apart from just taxing tobacco and cigarettes, there are other ways that can be used to ensure that there are reduced tobacco-based cancer cases in the United States. It is clear that people depend and rely a lot on how a product is marketed and advertized. For this reason therefore, the government could implement tight policies on advertisement of these products. For example by increasing the amount of money charged on each advertisement on cigarettes that features on TV, radio or even print media.
Secondly, counter-advertising is yet another way of reducing tobacco-based cancer. This is where the government could launch a vigorous public-sensitizing campaign in the form of advertisements on the media, educating people on the dangers of smoking and giving real statistical figures depicting how much effect tobacco smoking has had to the people, focusing more on the cancer patients.
Long-run Elasticity of Demand
According to the findings from the research carried out by various focus groups and individuals such as Chaloupka, it is evident that tobacco smoking has been on the rise among young adults and they in fact have the highest recorded rates of smoking; thus making them most vulnerable to tobacco-based diseases such as lung cancer. Changes in tobacco prices therefore have an adverse effect on addicted smokers, which in the long run leads to changes in both the smoker as well as the policies themselves.
According to Chiloupka, there are economic theories that emphasize the inter-temporal links in consumption of various addictive products, for example tobacco. From the theory, with respect to the price of the product, it is expected that the long-run effect of the permanent and unchanged cigarette price change will exceed the product’s short term impacts. Empirical application of the theory therefore states that long-run price effects is almost twice the short run, and for this reason, a permanent 20% increase in the cigarette’s price is expected to reduce the level of smokers by 20% in the long run (Chiloupka & Grossman, 1996). .
For this reason therefore, a direct increase in the price of cigarettes leads to a direct decrease in the number of smokers, as it has been established. This is because a majority of the smokers are young adults. This will therefore be an ideal strategy to minimize lung cancer among the American citizens.
Chaloupka, F.J. (1998). Macro-social influences: the effects of price and tobacco control policies on the demand of tobacco products. New York: Nicotine and Tobacco research, S 105.
Chiloupka, F.J & Grossman M., (1996). Price, tobacco control policies and youth smoking. National Bureau of economic research working paper 5740.