This paper discusses how the government regulates certain behaviors related to health and the effectiveness of these interventions/regulations. Also, the paper explains the additional measures that the government can apply to make the intervention programs more effective. Educating the public is fundamental to the success of these regulations. Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco smoking is harmful to the health of the individual. It is therefore crucial for the government to intervene in order to reduce the number of deaths that occur due to alcohol and tobacco usage. It is more contentious as to whether the Government can justifiably intervene in adult’s decisions regarding diet, exercise and weight on the grounds that individuals cannot make a rational decision (McCormick, 2007). A healthy population is essential to the growth and development of a nation.
Keywords: Regulation, intervention, alcohol, diet, weight, tobacco
Regulations/interventions Related to Diet, Weight, Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol
The government plays a role regulating the liberties of its citizen to promote its populations health. It is also important for the government to impose restrictions on unhealthy vices in order to protect individuals from harming themselves. The government can employ measures, which are sensitive towards the attitude of the public to intervene in changing these health-related behaviors. Interventions can be classified according to the degree of intrusiveness, as in the ‘Nuffield intervention ladder’ for which intrusiveness was considered relative to individual freedom and responsibility, as involving state intervention (Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2007). These interventions are necessary because certain extreme behaviors such as dieting, weight issues, alcohol consumption, tobacco and drug use can result in morbidity and mortality.
The government is responsible for each individual, even though every adult in the society is free to participate in activities they enjoy. It is therefore important that the government regulate these activities to protect its citizens from overindulging and eventually destroying their health. Three examples will illustrate this point. Today, one of the most effective means of reducing fatalities caused by accidents is the use of safety belts. Initially, when the seat belt laws were enforced in 1984, they provoked a wrath from motorists and passengers who asserted that seatbelts affected their comfort as it reduced mobility in the vehicle. Regardless, the restrictions proved effective as they reduced accidents road fatalities by over eight percent the following year (Bayer, 2007).
In the United States alone, obesity among adolescents and children has reached epidemic proportions. This is largely due to the diet the adolescents and children consume. Moreover, binge eating among adults has led to more individuals becoming overweight and in some instances, obese. The government can counter this by initiating welfare programs, which will not only sensitize people about the benefits of healthy living but also help rehabilitate binge eaters and the overweight and obese. In addition, excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to health. The government has put in place measures to regulate alcohol consumption but more can be done to ensure these interventions are successful. In my opinion, the government should not only create awareness on the risks of excessive alcohol consumption but also educate the public on the dangers of alcohol. Additionally, the government should regulate the number of breweries in the country in order to control the production of alcoholic drinks.
The prolonged smoking of tobacco can lead to early mortality and disability. The government has put in place laws and regulations to curb tobacco usage with most of these regulations developed by experts with the input of the public. The tobacco industry, like other industries has no financial incentive to provide health information that would reduce consumption of its products (P. j, & P. M., 2000). On the contrary, the industry has consistently hidden product information on the ill effects of smoking or actively misinformed smokers about risks (P. j, & P. M., 2000). The government should ensure every individual is aware of the health hazards of tobacco. Moreover, advertisements can be broadcasted on the television and radio in order to reach more people.
Given the number of injuries, disabilities and mortality rates caused by tobacco consumption, unregulated diets, alcohol consumption, and drug use, it is imperative that the government imposes measures to curb the vices and to improve general population health. Despite the fact that such restrictions are intrusive to personal leisure, studies have shown that restrictions of choice are necessary in every society.
McCormick, B., & Stone, I. (2007). Economic costs of obesity and the case for government intervention. Obesity reviews, 8(s1), 161-164.
Nuffield Council on Bioethics: Policy process and practice. Public Health: ethical issues. 2007, London: Nuffield Council on Bioethics, [http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/sites/default/files/Public%20health%20%20ethical%20issues.pdf]
P. j, & P. M. (2000). The economic rationale for intervention in the tobacco market [Abstract]. The economic rationale for intervention in t