The social views on tobacco usage has changed dramatically over the past decade. Knoxville, along with much of the United States, seems to be throwing away the lighter and veering towards a healthier lifestyle. Although the idea of healthy living hasn’t always been so clear, more and more people are seeing the true dangers of smoking and are willing to stand up for their health.
When making dinner reservations, you expected to be asked you smoking preference. However in 2007, Knoxville began pushing a law that would extinguish that question forever. The law to ban smoking inside restaurants and public places shocked many. Businesses became fearful of decreased revenue, knowing that smoking patrons would no longer go to restaurants where smoking was no longer allowed. When the restaurant ban was paired with a rise in cigarette taxes, many citizens became outraged. Maryville resident Bob Pritchard told Knoxville News Sentinel that he “never thought he would feel like a second class citizen for smoking in Tennessee.” When asked his prediction on how the smoking ban would affect the percentage of smokers in Tennessee, he simply responded with “Prohibition didn’t work against alcohol, it won’t work against smoking.” (CITE)
Although a lot of actions resulted from the restaurant ban and raised tax rate, much was still to be done. Many businesses, citizens, and local politicians were hesitant to jump on board with the proposals. Lawyers made it very clear that companies would be sued out by tobacco companies if they were to enforce no-smoking laws. The mayor of Farragut backed out of the tobacco ban due to financial concerns and the lack of authority in the small town branched off of Knoxville. “Farragut’s pockets are not deep enough to battle the tobacco industries.” (CITE) Coincidently during this time Farragut was also trying to enforce a hand free cell phone law and could not see the probability of enforcing two big laws at the same time without a local police force.
In 2009, Knoxville started to really back up the cigarette ban. Once President Obama, a smoking addict himself at the time, signed off on the ban proposal, people began to be more optimistic. Of course the President of United States has a major social impact; yet , the health statistics hit closer to home. In 2011 the yearly death count due to smoking was 9,700. Women’s lung cancer death spiked the following year. At that time, 1:5 women smoked and lung cancer was the number one cancer related death in women. (CITE)
Social media and TV has become a massive power of persuasion. Many anti- tobacco corporations and...