The paper "Smoking Ban Health Policy Issue in the United States of America to Reduce Ischemic Heart Disease" is an outstanding example of a research paper on health sciences and medicine.
Among the many causes of mortality in the United States of America (USA), ischemic heart disease was ranked as the highest-burden of disease of the nation. In the most current health statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2009), 21% of deaths in the USA were caused by ischemic heart disease. Firsthand and secondhand smokes are associated with risk factors of heart diseases. With this current burden of disease in the health profile of the country, this paper tackles ischemic heart disease process and the U.S. government’s initiative to implement Smoking Ban Bill 31 in minimizing incidents of acute coronary events. Also, discuss on this paper are the effects of health policy issue to stakeholders which have a direct concern to ischemic heart disease as the subject matter, the interest groups affected, and the ethical, legal and economic implications of such health policy issue.
Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is a health alteration that arises when the arteries of the heart that carries oxygenated blood are hardened or obstructed (arteriosclerosis), thus reducing the blood flow to the heart (Hicks, 2009). Hicks also confirmed that ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Smoking is a major risk factor for IHD.
In the article of Jared Miller in Star-Tribune capital bureau, discussed was the passing of Smoking Ban Bill 31 in the U.S. House of Senate. House Bill 31 bans smoking in all public buildings and workplaces across the Unites States except in private offices and bars that serve only those above 21 years old (Miller 2009; Brown 2009). Smoke-Free World website presents the details of smoking ban policy implementation as to states and territories in the U.S.A. (SmokeFreeWorld, 2009). This smoking ban policy has positive implications to heart health as Pam Belluck mentioned that smoking bans in public buildings, offices, and restaurants reduce cases of heart attacks and heart diseases (Belluck, 2009). As cited by Belluck from the Institute of Medicine report, there is a high risk of having a heart attack among smokers and secondhand receptors of cigarette smoke as well. The American Heart Association also supported the national study on smoking ban with the same reason that it effectively reduces the risk of acute coronary events comprising 35% of cardiovascular-related diseases of the nearly 440,000 Americans that die each year of smoke-related illnesses and about 38,000 of these deaths are from second-hand smoke (Ffolkes, 2009; Brown 2009). Two significant pieces of evidence showing positive effects of smoking ban policy in the U.S.A. are the 41% drop in heart attack cases in Colorado and the sharp decline in heart attacks in Boston (Jones, 2009).
Though proven as beneficial to people’s health, the smoking ban is not exempted to criticism. Thus, stakeholders are divided into two: the pro-smoking ban and anti-smoking ban arena. Under the pros are the health organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and other organizations with concern in health and safety. On the anti-smoking ban arena are the tobacco farmers and business owners, the owners of bars, restaurants, casinos, and other amenities where smoking was previously not being banned. The opposition claims that the smoking ban will cause a downfall in the economy and local businesses and they feel that banning is an infringement on their civil rights (Jones, 2009).
In the legal aspect, the constitutionality of smoking ban policy is supposedly unquestionable because Congress has bestowed power in terms of regulating commerce with other nations and states (Head, 2009). With the issue of impairment of civil rights, three requisites for legality are essential to be met for a law to regulate personal conduct: (1) the Harm Principle where laws are justified if they prevent individuals to harm others, (2) the Morality Law which is concerned on protecting the morale of individuals, and (3) Paternalism that protects an individual against self-incrimination or harm. With these requisites, the smoking ban bill 31 remains to be lawful in nature and not a bypass of an individual’s civil rights (Head, 2009).
Economic implications of smoking ban policy are oftentimes misunderstood as degrading to the country’s economy. In the review of the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR, 2006) on the ‘Economic Impact of Smoke-free Ordinances: Overview’ showed that “smoke-free policies and regulations do not have a negative impact on business revenues. Establishing smoke-free workplaces is the simplest and most cost-effective way to improve worker and business health.” Furthermore, ANR pointed out that if smoke-free policies and laws are 100% implemented, the country will gain “1.3 million smokers quitting, 950 million fewer cigarette packs being smoked, 1,540 myocardial infarctions and 360 strokes being averted, and $49 million in direct medical cost savings being realized all within one year” (ANR, 2006).
To sum up, the smoking ban policy is seen to be an effective government initiative to minimize cases of ischemic heart diseases in the U.S.A. Though the legal and economic issues have been debated by many, evidence showed that this health policy does not violate civil rights and no significant negative impact on business performance but brings health cost savings to the country. Admittedly, this study showed limited evidence to make it conclusive on matters of legal and economic implications of smoking ban health policy.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. Economic Impact of Smoke-free Ordinances: Overview. Berkeley, California, August 2006. Internet copy retrieved on November 5, 2009 from
Belluck, Pam. U.S. Report Links Smoking Bans and Heart Health. Copyright by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, 2009. Internet article retrieved on November 4, 2009 from
Brown, Nancy. Legislation [video clip]. Video clip on American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown on secondhand smoke legislation retrieved on November 5, 2009 from
Ffolkes, Suzanne. American Heart Association Says IOM Report Underscores the Importance of Smoke-Free Policies to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease. Copyright by The American Heart Association, Inc., 2009. Internet article retrieved on November 5, 2009 from
Head, Tom. Should Cigarettes Be Illegal? An Internet article in About.com Civil Liberties. Internet source retrieved on November 5, 2009 from
Hicks, Barb. What Is Ischemic Heart Disease? An overview of ischemic heart disease and its causes. An article in Clivir Learning Community. Internet article retrieved on November 5, 2009 from
Jones, Jennifer E. Smoking Ban Clears Air. A journal article in Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America. March 2009, Vol. 5: No. 10. Internet source retrieved on November 4, 2009 from
Miller, Jared. House passes smoking ban bill. Copyright 2009 by trib.com, Casper, WY. Internet article retrieved last November 5, 2009 from
SmokeFreeWorld.com. Smoke Free USA. Internet article retrieved on November 5, 2009 from
World Health Organization (WHO). Mortality Country Fact Sheet 2006: United States of America. Most recent information available and listed in WHO statistics for 2009. Internet source retrieved on November 5, 2009 from