Slapping legal patch on smoking

A slim, toxic stick slips between two fingers and rests on a set of anxious lips ready to inhale hazardous chemicals.  It’s no secret smoking kills, but getting smokers to quit is no easy task. Yet, the U.K. Department of Health has confronted this challenge.

All shops in England will be banned from displaying tobacco products by April 2015. “Healthy lives, healthy people: A Tobacco Control Plan for England” does not stop there.

Health officials are contemplating removing all logos and labels from packs, leaving the cartridge blank.

According to the Department of Health, officials hope to deter young adults from smoking and to support those wanting to quit by erasing brands and graphics from cigarette packaging.

The plan also strives to guard tobacco legislation against legal challenges from the tobacco industry, including legislation to discontinue tobacco sales from vending machines in October 2011.

Officials also want to keep using elevated tax rates to preserve the high price of tobacco products at levels that will impact the popularity of smoking.

Promoting effective local enforcement of tobacco legislation, especially on the selling age of tobacco, and inspiring more smokers to kick the habit by using effective forms of support are other goals of the plan.

The U.K. is not just blowing smoke, which is sure to disrupt tobacco companies as their sales become comprised by this new plan.

In the U.K., some tobacco companies are seeking an application for a judicial review of the display ban. The public can expect a court hearing on the issue in a couple of months.

According to the U.K. Department of Health, officials are striving to reduce smoking rates quicker in the next five years than has been accomplished in the past five years.

The U.K. government efforts driven by sustaining the health of its people appear very brave and somewhat honorable. It’s settling on the side of public health rather than company dollars. Actions like this cannot go unrecognized in a world where money equals power.

Obviously, the prevalence of smoking is not just an issue in the U.K. but in the U.S. also.

According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking is the most significant preventable cause of untimely death in the U.S. while more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths occur from it.

These statistics do not appear to impact the government’s involvment in smokers’ health. It’s a guarantee that big business would block America’s  path in the pursuit of improving current statistics about smoking.

For the most part, America is the land of the free. People have the right to do what they choose with their bodies and that includes putting themselves in an early grave.

But the government shouldn’t stand by and let its people destroy their bodies.

Author: Chelesea Carter

Chelesea Carter is a senior English major minoring in writing at UMHB. She is an assistant page editor for The Bells newspaper. Though she came from the small town of Caldwell, Texas, she spent most of her teenage years in Aggieland. Chelesea enjoys baking delicious goodies, reading novels and discovering new things about others. Writing about social issues allows Chelesea to share her compassion for helping others. Her life-long goal is to improve the desolate state of the world.

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