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The Policy Process: Smoking Cessation

#Sample College Research Paper

Smoking is harmful to human health. This statement always appears on a packet of cigarette, but it seems to go unheeded. Cigarette butts that are often carelessly dumped also cause pollution on the environment (Trevorrow, 2013). There is also the economic burden of smoking. This is usually incurred in the actual purchase of cigarettes consumed per day as well as in the costs needed to cater for illnesses associated with smoking. Addiction to tobacco is the primary illnesses of cigarette smoking. The objective of this policy is to strengthen existing policy frameworks on smoking cessation. It seeks to provide a smoker-based self-initiated and self-directed program of smoking cessation that can be implemented individually, in groups or controlled environments such as the workplace or educational institutions. The government has recognized that smoking is a serious problem in America. Consequently, there is a raft of policies that seek to put control measures on consumption of tobacco and cigarette smoking behavior. These polices also provide a framework within which those who seek to quit smoking can be helped to overcome their addiction. However, based on existing statistics, it is clear that the existing policies have not been effective in preventing onset of smoking, especially among young people, as well as aiding cessation among cigarette addicts (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). This policy will identify ways in which existing policies can be strengthened to facilitate effective smoking cessation programs for individuals.

Formulation

Policies are designed in response to existing public concerns or problems. They are useful in filling the gaps that may have been left out by legal frameworks such as the constitution. Policies can also be used to strengthen abidance to existing laws. When it comes to smoking cessation, there are already existing laws and policies on tobacco use and abuse in America. However, there are also concerns from smokers themselves and other members of the public in response to existing laws and policies on smoking. The general worry is that nicotine addiction due to smoking counts for the highest percentage of addictive drugs in America. The good news is that studies show that an overwhelming majority of smokers in America (68%) desire to quit smoking completely (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Of these, at least 67% of young (below 24 years) and 60% of middle-aged (25-44 years) smokers said they quit smoking for a day in 2015. This indicates that addicts exert personal effort to stop smoking.

The formulation stage of this smoking cessation policy must review existing policies and practices on smoking cessation. According to CDCP (2017), most of the smokers prefer cessation methods that do not involve treatment. Treatment-related smoking cessation programs usually involve such alternatives as brief help by a medical doctor, individual, group or telephone counseling, behavioral therapies, person-to-person intensive contact treatments, the use of mobile telephony aided programs and medications for quitting (Fiore et al., 2008). Other important information that must be considered during the formulation are the views of smokers themselves. Their views should be collected to identify the best support they need in order to successfully quit smoking. Such self-defined smoking procedures will promote ownership of this policy. Such information can be obtained by holding forums with different groups of smokers who want to quit. In such forums, discussions should focus on factors that make quitting difficult from the perspective of smokers, alternative policies and practices, the responsibility of various stakeholders such as the administration, tobacco companies, cigarette distributors, smokers, law enforcement agencies, parents and health care personnel and facilities. These responsibilities should be defined by the smokers from their own perspective.

The actual formulation process for this policy will begin after all the views have been considered from all the stakeholders. The process will take off at the policy proposal stage. This proposal will facilitate further discussion and the development of various drafts in readiness for legislation. These drafts are then improved to clearly provide way forward in terms of well-stated goals, expected outcomes and related activities. Other factors to be considered include putting up pre-emptive measures to potential barriers to policy legislation and implementation, indicators for measuring progress achieved, financial factors and other important resources (Abood, 2007).

Legislation

The legislative stage of any policy in America is quite straight-forward. Once a policy has been properly formulated, it is already acknowledged that the necessary legal framework needs to be put in place to support it. The legislative process may be influenced by dissenting views from the political divide over the perceived and actual benefits and harms that a policy may engender. The first step in this process is assigning a House or Senate Bill number. Once properly introduced, the representatives then introduce it or refer it back to the sub-committee stage for further review. These sub-committees will collect views and testimonies to justify why the bill should be passed into law. These views also provide useful information to help refine the bill before submitting it to the full committee.

The full committee may further refine the bill, depending on the details included and needed before deciding on whether or not to introduce it to the house. Once approved by the committee, the bill is placed in the house calendar, set to be introduced onto the floor of the house. On the set date, the legislators discuss the bill further and then make a vote to quash or pass the bill. If the bill is passed, it is forwarded to the president for review and assentation. If the president assents to the bill, it becomes law and is ready for implementation.

This smoking cessation policy will not require much campaigning to promote sponsorship. Statistics already show that an overwhelming majority of those who smoke cigarettes desire to quit (CDCP, 2017). What these smokers really need is support for their personal efforts. A legislative framework that directs specific programs to support their efforts will thus be beneficial to the government and the nation as well.

Implementation

At the implementation stage, the government has passed the bill on smoking cessation. The government then identifies key individuals, agencies, departments and institutions to roll out the activities needed to ensure the policy is implemented. The smoking cessation policy will require that every institution is properly equipped to support smokers desiring to quit. These support resources include personnel and facilities. Most smokers may not be willing to seek treatment and would instead prefer to visit a facility specially designed to provide support. Therefore, the government may need to build new stations for smoking cessation is local community centers.

Existing health care providers and cessation counselors may also need to be retrained to provide smoker-centered support. In this policy, the smoker directs their own recovery process by admitting the problem, choosing and implementing a single action at a time, monitoring their own performance, identifying and eradicating obstacles and rewarding themselves for the milestones in their addiction recovery programs. However, the smoker must be accountable to someone; and this accountability must be voluntary. The party chosen to monitor the smoker’s recovery must show qualities that support the smoker to grow in their recovery.

Based on the above summary, the implementation of this policy will begin with recruitment and training of cessation specialists in various community centers and educational institutions. This will be followed by construction of support facilities and provision of needed equipment. The next stage will involve campaigns for people to use the facilities provide on voluntary basis. These can be done through direct announcements or the application of mobile telephone networks.

Conclusion

Smoking cessation is not easy. Like all other forms of addiction, smoking has its own direct and indirect costs on both the smoker, their associations and the nation at large. Consequently, smoking cessation requires a strong policy framework to support self-directed cessation strategies for smokers. This policy aims to strengthen existing policies and provide a more effective method for smokers to quit smoking.

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References

Abood, S. (2007). Influencing Health Care in the Legislative Arena. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(1). Retrieved March 13, 2017 from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/553404_4

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Quitting Smoking Among Adults – United States, 2000-2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 65(52), 1457-1464.

Fiore, M. C., Jaén, C. R., Baker, T. B., et al. (2008). Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update – Clinical Practice Guidelines. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Trevorrow, T. (2013). Tobacco-Free Policy Proposal for Chaminade University. Department of Psychology, Chaminade University.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health.

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