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Externalities of Smoking

By smhansen Dec 07, 2010 637 Words
In the paper I’m going to discuss the externalities of second-hand smoke. Externalities refer to all costs or benefits of a market activity borne by a third party. It’s also the difference between the social and private costs (benefits) of a market activity. When economic agents are not directly involved, negative externalities can exist, such as pollution. Second-hand smoke is a health hazard at any level (Essentials Of economics, Bradley R.Schiller). It’s to be said that smoking bans are the only way to protect nonsmokers. Although many states and hundreds of cities have passed smoke-free laws, more than 126 million Americans ages 3 and older continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke. Nearly 50,000 nonsmokers die from the secondhand smoke each year. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of heart disease and cancer. Brief exposure to smoke, damages cells, beginning a process that can lead to cancer, and increase the risk of blood clots (USA today: June 28, 2006). Secondhand smoke kills 46,000 adult nonsmokers from heart disease, 3,000 nonsmokers from lung cancer, and 430 newborns from sudden infant death syndrome. In children it causes 790,000 ear infections, 200,000 episodes of asthma, at least 24,000 low birth weight or preterm deliveries. When non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke it’s called involuntary smoking or passive smoking. Regardless if you’re smoking or not, if you’re around someone who is smoking you’re taking in nicotine and other toxic chemicals just like smokers do. The workplace is a major source of secondhand smoke exposure for adults (USA today: June 28, 2006). Secondhand smoke meets the standard to be classified as a potential cancer-causing agent by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (cancer.org). Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating the building cannot prevent exposure if people still smoke inside the building. Most people can be exposed in public places such as restaurants, shopping centers, public transportation, schools, and daycare centers. Some businesses seem to be afraid to ban smoking, but there is no proof that going smoke-free is bad for business. Public places where children go are a special area of concern (cancer.org). Making your home smoke free is healthier for your family. Secondhand smoke imposes significant costs on nonsmokers and society, according to a recent society of Actuaries study that concluded the annual cost of excess medical care, mortality and morbidity from secondhand smoke exposure in the U.S is approximately $ 10 billion(18 Aug 2005). The study also found that medicals costs for caring for people exposed to secondhand smoke have reached more than $2.5 billion (medicalnewstoday.com). All the money you spend on cigarettes is just going to the company that makes them. So you’re giving this company all this money to just smoke a cigarette. On average most people pay about close to seven dollars for a box of cigarettes. Not only is this harmful to you, but its as harmful to the people around you. When you smoke in front of someone their inhaling all the chemicals that are carried In that one cigarette. So in conclusion this affects the economy so much, because people who don’t even smoke have to pay for all types of medicals bills. Just from getting secondhand smoke from others. I myself don’t think they should banned smoking. But there should be sections in public places which are meant for smokers. Some people can’t just stop smoking no matter what they do. So at the same time we have to respect their needs. And their needs are nicotine.

Sources
Cancer.org
Medicalnewstoday.com
USA today: June 28, 2006
Essentials of economics (Bradley R. Schiller)

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