The decline of smoking in America has leveled out, according to CNN Health. From 24.1 percent in 1998 to 19.8 percent in 2007, the decline was well underway, but in 2008 and 2009, the numbers remained relatively unchanged. But the positive is that the percentage of American smokers in 1965 was more than 40 percent, much higher than in recent times. This successful decline was a result of endeavors like anti-smoking campaigns, tobacco product price increases and the simple fact that smoking became socially unacceptable.
In short, cigarettes just aren’t as cool as they used to be – which is a huge positive for American’s health. Many factors contributed to this downward trend. The first might have been in 1998 when the seven top tobacco companies were ordered to pay $206 billion to states as compensation for tobacco-related health care costs. That same year they were ordered to abandon their current marketing strategies, which towered over roads and highways on thousands of billboards. Point-of-purchase marketing tactics simply could not create the exposure the industry needed to continue its reign.
But lawmakers didn’t just stop there. In 2000, federal government officials announced that their goal was to decrease smoking to 19 percent of American adults, so they continued with their campaigns. In 2008, states raised sales tax on tobacco products and did so again in 2009. USAToday.com states that the average tax on cigarettes in the United States in $1.19 a pack. For a-pack-a-day smokers, this could break the bank or – as federal lawmakers predict – force them to quit.
For those unfazed by increased tobacco taxes, the FDA recently released 36 gruesome photos to be printed alongside the one-liners like “Smoking Kills” already on cigarette packs. If you think this is taking it too far, Canadians buy cigarette pack covers in order to avoid looking at the photos printed on the boxes. The U.S. is just catching up with the rest of the world.
Even pop culture and the alcohol industry have made efforts to reduce smoking. Magazines have replaced the cigarette in the model’s hand with another accessory. Almost all restaurants have converted their smoking section to just another non-smoking section, and even many bars have banned cigarettes to encourage the now more prominent non-smoker crowd to come in and have a drink.
Individuals have also taken it upon themselves to help the cause and have produced an overwhelming amount of anti-smoking campaigns. Perhaps the most well known are the “Truth” commercials. These national television ads expose, and even sometimes confront, prominent tobacco companies. One recent “Truth” ad pointed out the irony that despite the 2010 FDA ban on candy cigarettes, tobacco companies are still allowed to produce over 45 sweet flavors of real cigarettes. These ads usually mix humor with shock-value to get people’s attention.
Many people are convinced that smoking is dangerous but still can’t seem to kick the habit. Fears of developing cancer, becoming infertile and contributing to osteoporosis aren’t enough to make some quit. Even smokers who have already developed certain health problems, such as heart disease, emphysema, stomach ulcers and even dental issues may worsen the effects by continuing to smoke.
A proactive approach to those who have already developed health complications is to invest in medical id jewelry. In the event of an emergency, a medical ID bracelet, dog tags or even keychain with your medical condition engraved on it could save emergency personnel ample time, so that you can get the care you need right away. IdentifyYourself.com carries a line of stylish, personalized medical alert jewelry that speaks for you when you can’t.