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United States Tobacco Control Efforts Essay

1981 words - 8 pages

Student number 130113344
GHM 103 Formative Assignment

To: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius
From: Jill Merriman, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Office on Smoking and Health (OSH)
Date: March 23, 2014
Re: United States tobacco-control efforts

Statement of Issue: Tobacco control is an issue of national and international concern. As many as half of the individuals who use tobacco will die of tobacco-related causes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Worldwide, tobacco kills about 6 million people every year as the result of direct tobacco use and 600,000 more as the result of exposure to secondhand smoke (World Health Organization [WHO], 2013).
In the United States, as the result of decades of work by individuals and organizations such as HHS and the CDC, the rate of tobacco use is dropping. Smoking prevalence declined from 20.9 percent of the population in 2005 to 18.1 percent in 2012 (CDC, 2014; CDC, n.d.). However, the effort to prevent tobacco-related illnesses and death is far from over. More than 42.1 million adult Americans smoked in 2012, and cigarette smoking is the number-one cause of preventable death in the U.S (CDC, n.d.; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2014). More than 16 million Americans are currently suffering from a smoking-caused disease (Ibid), including various cancers, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, myocardial degeneration, aortic aneurysm, and others (Doll, 2004).
A number of governmental programs exist at the state and national level to end tobacco use and related diseases in the United States, one of the largest of which is the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. As director of the Office on Smoking and Health, there are several key challenges and issues related to prevention and treatment today. Among them:
• Marketing by transnational tobacco corporations: A number of federal laws and regulations govern tobacco marketing in the United States. For example, the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement – which restricts approximately 45 tobacco companies, including the four largest in the U.S. – includes prohibitions on advertising targeting individuals under 18, limitations on outdoor advertising, and additional constraints on advertising, marketing, and promotion (HHS, n.d.). But tobacco companies have developed “work-arounds” to market to youth and other audiences. For example, Formula One auto racing is a popular way for tobacco companies to advertise, including through sponsorships (Hafez & Ling, 2005). Although they may not, for example, be allowed to use cartoons, tobacco corporations still employ branding and marketing techniques to reach young audience (Ibid).
• Lobbying by transnational tobacco corporations: Transnational tobacco companies influence the development, decision-making process, and enactment of laws across the world and within the United States. Tobacco companies spent more than $25...

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