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Smoking Ban in the State of Florida Essay

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Updated: May 21st, 2020

Florida enacted a policy to regulate indoor tobacco smoking in July 2003. The aim of this policy was to outlaw smoking in some specific enclosures except in private residences and other selected areas.

The state spends about $ 60 million yearly in controlling tobacco and its related diseases. There is room to reduce this amount substantially if the state puts in place an effective smoking ban policy. This paper looks at policy options and suggests the best.

Of the 17.5% of the Florida’s population who are tobacco smokers, 18.5% are male while 16.4% are female. The state has an annual mortality of about 28,600 people because of tobacco related ailments. It also incurs an expense of up to 25% of its revenue from excise taxes to control tobacco. The majority of smokers in Florida agree that smoking bans are justified.

The current policy came into effect after some amendments of a policy on smoking ban. The quest to come up with such a policy started in 1985.

This current policy only affects workplaces and restaurants. Its major aim is to protect people from the effects of secondhand smoke. The policy, however, leaves out other players in the game, the supplier and the retailer.

Three policy options exist from which the administration can choose. These are the Total Ban Policy, the Partial Ban policy and the Liberated Smoking policy.

The total ban policy entails abolishing smoking in all public places and increasing sales tax on cigarettes. As much as this policy is authoritarian, it aims at protecting the interests of the public whose majority are non-smokers. The policy is in work on about 48% of the American population (Taub, 2006).

The rationale of this policy is that since tobacco smoking causes killer lung diseases, it is important to protect the people from such smoke and allow only those who intentionally expose themselves to the effects of the smoke.

The policy is authoritarian and ignores the interests of the smokers. It also suggests increase in taxes, which is likely to lower the profits of tobacco companies and hence make them to oppose the policy.

The partial Ban policy suggests an exemption in smoking ban by licensing some areas or establishments. It also proposes an increase in sales tax and the exemption of some public smoking zones by the municipal authorities.

The proponents of this policy suggest that proper ventilation can mitigate the effects of second hand smoke. The rationale of this policy is that people choose to smoke for various reasons, some of which are justifiable medically.

The Liberated Ban policy suggests a partial ban to all public areas and establishments, an increase of the sales tax to $ 1 per pack, registration of all establishments allowing smoking and these should provide well-ventilated smoking zones.

The rationale of this policy is that people smoke voluntarily and therefore the state should not interfere with their freedom. The only thing the state can do is to restrict the extent to which an individual’s freedom affects others. This policy is likely to face criticism from anti smoking campaigners because it does not hold the interests of the public.

The first policy is inappropriate for Florida because the state’s smokers are aware of the effects of smoking and are willing to stop. The second policy is viable because it provides options that are within reach.

However, it will make the smokers secluded just like the first policy. The third policy changes the approach to the fight against smoking making people to take it as their own problem. It is also economically feasible. This makes it the best policy option for Florida.

In conclusion, the best policy option is that which can bring all the involved parties into harmony and help people to participate in governance by civil obedience and positive involvement in policy enforcement.

Reference List

Taub, D. (2006).California Town Makes It Tougher to Smoke in Public. Web.

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