The recent regulation accepted and approved by both camps, “bootleggers” and “Baptists” is tobacco prohibition. The private interests, social expenses and public policy clearly corresponds to the issue of tobacco: certain individuals choose to smoke. Their decision to smoke imposes costs on the community and the state. Both “bootleggers” and “Baptists” agree that policies are needed to manage the tobacco industry or otherwise rectify the inequity of uncompensated externalities. The public costs are great, but are rarely accurately portrayed. “This seeming paradox grows from and is explained by tobacco roads paved with “bootlegger-Baptist” coalitions” (Rotondi 2007).
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The social interest goals are to prohibit and limit tobacco usage and impose heavy taxes on tobacco producers. Most political leaders who oppose tobacco use claim smoking increases health care costs, expenses that are subsidized by non-smokers. In reality, regardless of their higher prevalence of disease and physical disability, tobacco smokers save state money on health care. Yet, tobacco smoking is socially costly. Tobacco smoke contains over four thousand compounds, many of which are poisonous, tumerogenic, mutagenic or carcinogenic. The Baptists state that tobacco smoking is the single most avoidable cause of death in the United States. The tobacco industry is directly responsible for one in six deaths– % 25 of all deaths among men and % 11 of all deaths among women. “In the current debate, members of Congress must decide whether they want victory for the largest U.S. cigarette producers at consumer and perhaps even Baptist expense. While they choose, they should bear in mind the historical reality that in the tobacco context, as Baptist fervor foments, bootleggers rake in the alms” (Rotondi 2007). The issue is based on the fact that tobacco smoking also reduces the quality of life and ruins the body in numerous ways. It increases the risk of incurable diseases such as diabetes and of peptic ulcers. It makes genetic diseases more difficult to treat and more likely to be fatal. Tobacco smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures in older women.
The benefits for “bootleggers” are that price increase will lead to industry profits and transfer of the capital to party. Thus, the question how much tobacco smoking will continue to decline depends upon social policy in the form of excise taxes, anti smoking actions, restrictions on smoking and regulation of the tobacco industry. It also depends on real income, new investigations about the health effects of tobacco, and advertising and promotional activities by tobacco manufacturers. Many American tobacco companies have restructured their product range in order to reduce their risk but find that it is their non-tobacco earnings that are at risk.
Traditionally, Baptists opposed tobacco smoking and demanded strict laws and regulations in this industry. Tobacco smoking also increases the negative effects of alcohol on the body and influences the efficacy of medical treatment, sometimes hazardously. “The current bill in Congress has support from Baptists such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Heart Association, former FDA chairman Kessler, and 77 percent of American voters. Even the Southern Baptist Convention’s president wants the legislation” (Rotondi 2007). The danger is that tobacco smoke also saps one’s energy, stains the teeth, fouls the breath, dulls the hair and ages the skin. The important fact is that most of the consumers who smoke tobacco today began when the severity of the health cost of smoking was less well understood and explained to the public. The Baptists underline that smokers made a choice to smoke, but it was not necessarily a well-informed choice.
Current state’s campaign against tobacco smoking has focused on demand reduction. Its foundation has been education–in schools, through the mass media, during health care programs and in open and repeat warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements. The Congress has also restricted promotion of tobacco smoking, having banned tobacco commercials on television and radio since 1971. Anti Smoking regulations has been enacted, typically at the state or local level, restricting tobacco smoking in public places such as state buildings, banks, schools, health care services, public transport, stores, theaters and stadiums. “Though the MSA has since come under attack in courts and has shown minor holes even for the bootlegger companies (e.g., a small but significant decrease in market share), the episode largely allowed them to prevent catastrophe” (Rotondi 2007). Almost half the American states have incomplete restrictions on tobacco. The federal government prohibits tobacco at its own work sites and on interstate transportation. Also, the federal government prohibits tobacco usage on all domestic airline flights. The objective of the Baptists is a smoke-free society. This necessitates ending by tobacco smokers and non initiation of potential smokers. This, this prohibition may never be achieved. So, as the “bootleggers” pursue their goal, society also must continue to strive to reduce the externalities linked to tobacco production. The policy instruments have thus far proven quite efficient and successful. Even though, these policies and regulations on tobacco should pass the point of diminishing marginal returns; they should be continual, prolonged and improved.
Rotondi, Joseph A. Bootleggers, Baptists, and Tobacco Regulation. AllBusiness. 2009. Web.