Essay on the article Tobacco and Tolerance: Blowing smoke (о вреде курения)

             Международный институт экономики и финансов,1 курс,
                           Высшая Школа Экономики.

           on the article “Tobacco and Tolerance: Blowing smoke”.

   Not only labour made  man  differ  from  a  monkey,  but  also  care  and
attention to  his  fellow  creatures.  This  is  the  main  point  of  human
relations  and  the  basis  of  human  being.  Animals  are  first  of   all
competitors with each other, and they do not have an instinct to help  their
neighbours and to think about their safety. The only exception is their  own
   Similarly, as a father and mother take care of a  small  child  who  does
not yet have his own opinion on what is good and what is  bad,  who  do  not
even know, that many seemingly innocent things harm his health  greatly  and
cause strong addiction. Even when a child realises that,  it  is  very  hard
for him to make the right  decision.  And  if  we  consider  such  thing  as
smoking, the only right decision is not to start  it.  One  may  argue  that
whether to smoke or not is the private decision of every person and  no  one
might impose his point of view to someone. I agree with this statement,  but
not always this principle provides us with a  solution  to  the  problem  of
social wellbeing. People make a lot of decisions connected with great  risks
like motorcycle riding, parachute jumping, smoking, taking drugs and so  on.
Some of these  things  have  unalterable  consequences,  which  make  people
regret they have made these decisions during the rest of  their  lives.  The
only thing they should  ask  themselves  is  whether  this  thing  is  worth
risking. The fewer would be the  number  of  activities  that  greatly  harm
human health, and above all, of these, which  are  not  worth  risking  like
smoking, the better it  would  be  for  the  health  of  all  humanity.  The
exceptions are such things as scuba diving or mountain climbing  and  other,
because they can be justified from many reasons and they are not simple  and
stupid self-poisoning. I do  not  agree  with  the  author  of  the  article
“Tobacco and Tolerance: Blowing smoke” that smoking is not a social  problem
but a private one and the anti-smoking program should  be  minimized.  Those
people, who have already started and have become addicted to  ‘the  grayish-
blue fumes’ can’t fully realize, why do they take  this  great  risk,  still
acknowledging that this harms their health, and it is hard for them to  give
up smoking without outside help. For this noble purpose there should  always
exist those people who can clearly realize this  enormous  threat  as  third
persons with their unaddicted minds. They should never stop  such  hard  and
unappreciated occupations as  different  anti-smoke  programs  and,  whether
smokers want it or not, they should try to pull them out of this  ‘gray  and
poisonous swamp’.  This  can  be  done  by  different  government  merciless
limitations  of  tobacco  producing   companies,   tobacco   advertisements,
restricting places for smoking to minimum and so on. That is why smoking  is
a problem of the whole society, despite some of its members  think  that  it
is not, because healthy persons form a healthy society.
   Smoking causes (or, if someone would  be  lucky,  it  might  cause)  many
different illnesses like lung and mouth cancer, heart disease, oral  cavity.
In general, the risk of developing a tobacco-related cancer depends  on  the
intensity of the habit as determined by a duration of the smoking  habit,  a
number of cigarettes smoked per day, a tar content  of  the  cigarette,  and
the depth of inhalation. Cigarette  smoking  is  not  only  related  to  the
development of lung cancer but also affects the  development  of  cancer  of
the bladder, oral cavity, and esophagus. A non-smoker’s inhalation of  smoke
produced by smokers in an enclosed space also appears to heighten  the  risk
of developing lung cancer. That is why the problem  of  passive  smoking  is
also very actual and to  avoid  harmful  consequences,  governments  of  all
countries ought to enlarge the development of a program of  making  isolated
places for smokers to enjoy their dangerous toys without any harm  to  other
   After the major medical revelations about smoking during  the  1950s  and
'60s there was an increasing attempt to  lessen  the  influence  of  tobacco
advertising in several countries. Cigarette manufacturers in  Canada  agreed
to end television advertising in 1972 after a bill to effect  that  end  was
passed in the Commons. In West Germany television advertising of  cigarettes
was to be phased out by the end  of  1972.And  as  a  result,  the  rate  of
smoking in America has declined from more than 40%  to  about  25%  and  the
number of ex-smokers has trebled.  This  was  the  great  victory  of  anti-
smoking programs.
   In fact, a tobacco-producing industry is very profitable, and of  course,
these companies try to find  or  sometimes  to  invent  some  evidences  and
reasons why people need to use their harmful production. I believe that  the
anti-smoking programs cause great losses to  them,  and  someday  they  will
succeed and it would not be profitable for producers to  continue  operating
any more.

Figure 1 shows  that  the  demand  curve  for  tobacco  production  is  very
inelastic, because it is highly addictive  and  has  no  close  substitutes.
Buyers could not reject a considerable amount of it in response to  a  large
increase in price.

In figure 2 we see the situation after  the  government’s  imposition  of  a
sales tax. The new Supply curve will shift upwards on  the  amount  of  tax.
And because the demand  for  tobacco  production  is  inelastic,  this  will
increase total revenue of a producer. This indirect  tax  would  not  become
his profit and all the additional money  received  would  be  considered  as
costs and go directly to the government.
(TR1= q*p             TR2= Q*P)

Figure 3 shows us the situation where the government sets  a  price  ceiling
tobacco production, which would result in slightly higher demand  but  lower
quantity produced, as it would not be beneficial for a producer  to  operate
at the previous production level. If this price ceiling would be  set  at  P
lower than 2 (the  lowest  price,  at  which  a  firm  will  be  willing  to
produce), than these firms would not operate at  all,  because  their  costs
would be greater than revenues.

Smoking also has great negative  externalities.  This  is  passive  smoking,
which is said to be even more harmful  than  the  ‘active  one’.  Especially
children fall under the thread of this  problem  whose  parents  are  chain-
In the figure 4 we see private demand DD and  supply  SS  with  free  market
equilibrium at  E  and  eqiul.  quantity  Q.  With  a  negative  consumption
externality , the social marginal benefit is DD1 lying below DD. E*  is  the
socially efficient point at which output is Q*. At this output the  marginal
externality is E*F.  By levying this tax of exactly E*F

per unit, the government can shift the private supply curve from SS to SS1
leading to a new equilibrium at F at which the socially  efficient  quantity
is  produced  and  the  dead-weight  burden  of  the  externality  E*HE   is

   Although it is not possible to stop a tobacco industry  immediately,  the
models above show how the government could decrease  its  harmful  influence
and consequences. For example, the money  that  it  receives  from  taxation
could be spent on the improvement of different  rehabilitation  centres  for
ex-smokers   or   on   the   development   of   anti-smoking   program   and
   In conclusion, I believe that in any  case,  smoking  IS  one  of  social
problems and despite some  people  considering  it  to  be  like  motorcycle
riding or other risky occupation, it  is  not  worth  totally  risking.  The
conscious part of humanity ought to help smokers to give up  this  habit  by
trying to restrict smoking by all means. Then  there  would  be  one  social
problem less.
   Moreover, smoking is a great fraud of all humanity. If, for example,  you
comb you hand in some place for many years day after day, this  would  first
become your habit and second- this would give you an inexplicable  pleasure.
If you held a match in your mouth or crunch the tail-end  of  your  pen  for
many years, this would also result in these things.  Thus  smoking  provides
us with the same “virtues”, and all people, particularly at  an  early  age,
previously pretending to each other, that smoking is a sort of pleasure  and
relaxation for them, start getting pleasure just from  the  fact  they  have
got addicted years later. This  stupidity  came  out  of  tobacco  producing
companies, which made a fetish of a considerable part of  humanity  from  an
old Indian ritual tradition.

  P.S.   Five packets of cigarettes were smoked while writing this essay… (











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