Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue

Paper Info
Page count 3
Word count 867
Read time 4 min
Topic Sociology
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US

Smoking is a global social issue, and its damage to health and elevated economic costs have been investigated over the last several decades worldwide due to the increased addiction of people to this habit. Indeed, tobacco smoking is a risk factor for developing such diseases as atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and bladder cancer. Furthermore, exposure to second-hand smoke is associated with significant morbidity and mortality among children and adults (Goodchild and d’Espaignet 58). Global direct and indirect costs are tremendously high because the annual healthcare expenditure for smoking-associated morbidity range between $400 and $500 billion, and economic costs reach approximately $1,900 billion per year (Goodchild and d’Espaignet 58). This paper compares and contrasts two pictures representing smoking as a social issue. Although both images emphasize substantial financial benefit from encouraging quitting this habit, Fig. 2 better depicts the problem by providing numerical values of savings that can be attained if an individual quits smoking.

Tobacco Portal. Bill Gates’s Quote About Smoking From the 2011 G20 Summit
Fig. 1. Tobacco Portal. Bill Gates’s Quote About Smoking From the 2011 G20 Summit
Clear the Air. Economic Impact of Tobacco
Fig. 2. Clear the Air. Economic Impact of Tobacco

Figures 1 and 2 are the two pictures that represent smoking as a vast economic issue. Fig. 1 is a combination of Bill Gates’s quote from the G20 summit with a cigarette and a dollar-shape smoke above it (Tobacco Portal). Fig. 2 is a poster with the pack of cigarettes in the center and information about the economic impact of smoking (Clear the Air). The main message translated by these two images is that smoking is extremely expensive, and quitting can be beneficial for individuals and the global community. In fact, both of these posters have balanced text and images with an emphasis on the former. However, Fig. 1 is a statement of a multibillion entrepreneur and philanthropist, while Fig. 2 gives factual data from the World Health Organization.

These pictures conform to the smoking issue, illustrating it as the cause of poverty and health inequality. Specifically, in Fig. 1, Gates suggests that tobacco taxes “generate significant revenues” (Tobacco Portal). Fig. 2 claims that “by giving up smoking,” one can spend the saved money “on living healthier” by paying for screening tests (Clear the Air). Furthermore, Fig. 2 states that one year of abstaining from smoking can save enough money to have a “well-deserved holiday” (Clear the Air). Both images’ central message is that the public wins from minimizing this habit that was proved to cause substantial morbidity and mortality globally, affecting the country’s economies. Although the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry may crash, individuals will be healthier. However, one question remains: what is the most effective strategy to overcome smoking addiction and defeat tobacco companies? It appears that Bill Gates’s quote about taxing this industry is one of the potential solutions.

The three economic concepts that are related to the smoking issue are GDP, supply/demand, and promotional expenses. Firstly, approximately 2% of the world’s GDP is allocated to economic costs of smoking that direct and indirect costs (Goodchild and d’Espaignet 62). Direct costs are healthcare expenditures for the diagnosis and treatment of smoking-associated diseases, while indirect costs are losses caused by unemployment (Goodchild and d’Espaignet 59). Secondly, since the demand for cigarettes is still significant, the tobacco companies continue to maintain high supply. Thirdly, these corporations spend billions of dollars for advertisement campaigns annually. For example, U.S. tobacco companies spent $7.6 billion for promotional advertising in 2019 (CDC para. 1). Considering these investments and the addictiveness of nicotine, sales in this market will remain elevated.

Although both images demonstrate the economic burden of smoking, I think the second figure accurately represents this social issue. Fig. 1 is an opinion of a respectable businessman on the G20 summit with an eloquent image showing that cigarettes steal money from people who smoke (Tobacco Portal). The disadvantage of this picture is that the quote sounds like an attack on the global community on a seemingly neutral aspect of human life. The advantage of Fig. 2 is that it gives many factual data about the benefits people can obtain from abstaining from this harmful habit. However, the drawback is that text boxes in this image are scattered and poorly organized. Still, I think that both figures’ messages are clear about the need to diminish tobacco-related sales to preserve people’s health and income. I chose these particular sources because these websites focus only on the problem of smoking. The main takeaway from the two pictures for me was that taxing smoking is an effective way to save revenue and the workforce’s health.

In summary, tobacco smoking is a serious social issue that causes various illnesses and affects global revenue. Indeed, smoking is associated with cardiovascular problems, pulmonary diseases, and malignancies. Moreover, this industry causes substantial economic losses worldwide and affects individuals’ income. It appears that this market’s success is determined by high demand and well-financed marketing campaigns. The two figures that were evaluated in this essay represent smoking’s economic impact. The primary idea of both images is that people could become healthier and wealthier if they quit this harmful habit. Overall, although the second picture was more informative than the first one, both conveyed the central message about the detrimental effect of smoking.

Works Cited

Clear the Air. “Economic Impact of Tobacco.” Web.

Goodchild, Mark, Nigar Nargis, and Edouard Tursan d’Espaignet. “Global economic cost of smoking-attributable diseases.” Tobacco Control, vol. 27, no. 1, 2018, pp. 58-64.

Tobacco Portal. “Economics.” Georgia State University. Web.

CDC. Economic Trends in Tobacco. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Web.

Cite this paper


EssaysInCollege. (2023, January 10). Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue. Retrieved from


EssaysInCollege. (2023, January 10). Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue.

Work Cited

"Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue." EssaysInCollege, 10 Jan. 2023,


EssaysInCollege. (2023) 'Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue'. 10 January.


EssaysInCollege. 2023. "Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue." January 10, 2023.

1. EssaysInCollege. "Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue." January 10, 2023.


EssaysInCollege. "Tobacco Smoking as a Social Issue." January 10, 2023.