The essay question that I have chosen to answer is ‘the government has no place interfering in people’s health’. How people chose to live their own life is their own business. I have chosen to answer this question because there are good points of arguments from each different point of view. People may argue that the government does not have the right to interfere in peoples health and that they should be left alone to make their own choices about their own health.
On July the 1st 2007, a smoking ban was introduced to England which meant that all enclosed public places and workplaces had to be smoke free. (www. smokefreeengland. co. uk). There are a lot of reasons why it is important that the environment should be smoke free. This law was put in place so everyone can socialise, relax, travel and shop free from second hand smoke. Sir Liam Donaldson is the chief medical officer in the UK and he said that the smoking ban is ‘one of the most significant public health reforms for decades’ (www. smokefreeengland. co. uk).
The new law may be one of the biggest health reforms in the decade but it has had an immense effect on the public, people who smoke could argue that it is not fair to put smokers out on the street when indoor smoking rooms with air conditioning are available. Giving up smoking is extremely hard this is because a smoker is dependent on nicotine. When a person who is addicted to nicotine stops taking it they get withdrawal symptoms which can make them stressed and irritable, it is possible for a smoker to give up smoking but it takes a lot of determination.
The lobby for the smoking ban has focused its argument on the health risks of smoking. Medical organisations and anti smoking groups have been campaigning for a long time trying to get a ban on smoking in the workplace and in public places. On the contrary smokers groups and the hospitality industry argue that this will restrict freedom of choice and could potentially put bars, pubs, and clubs, out of business. Alternatively supporters of the ban say that evidence about the risks of passive smoking is too compelling to ignore. Thousands of people are dying from passive smoking at home.
Second hand smoking in the workplace causes about 700 deaths each year according to research carried out by the imperial collage in London. (http://news. bbc. co. uk/1/hi/health/3715691. stm). 70% of the population are currently denied the freedom to go about their lives in a smoke free environment. (The British medical association). The main argument that is given by supporters of the ban is that evidence suggests that an entire ban on smoking in public would be a sensible answer to the problem; this is because it could save the NHS millions of pounds that it spends each year on the treating of smoking related diseases. www. nhsdirect. nhs. uk).
Supporters of the ban also maintain their argument by saying that a ban on smoking in public places would encourage smokers to quit as well as deter non smokers from taking up the habit , this in turn should lower the cost to the NHS of treating smoke related dieses. While also simultaneously developing a more health conscious society. Opponents of the smoking ban argue that the smoking ban would mean that people would lose their freedom of choice. Opponents of the ban say that would rather have restrictions then an out right ban.
Smokers should also have freedom of choice that is should be their decision if they want to smoke indoors not anyone else’s. A smoker’s lobby group called forest pointed out to a BCC poll that showed that 64% of people thought that smoking should be a personal matter. (www. forestonline. org). Smokers that are against the ban also argue that it could lead to a decrease in takings for bars and restaurants. They also argue that the link between passive smoking and ill health is unproven. People still don’t want a ban on smoking in public places.
The office for national statistics published a report which showed that 65% of people favoured restrictions in pubs but only 33% wanted a total ban 48% wanted pubs to be mainly non smoking but with smoking areas. The forest lobby smokers group said that the government are ignoring public opinion by completely banning smokers in pubs. The government is there to make sure that the public are informed with unbiased information but the UK is a free country which allows the public to make their own choices.
People can choose to listen to the information that the government gives out but it is up to the own person to make up their own mind if they want to follow the advice or not. Passive smoking and smokers get the blame when hereditary conditions like lung cancer happen but what about vehicle pollution, diet and stress which can also cause the condition. The government is taking away basic human rights when they enforced the smoking ban. The public’s health is too important just for people to be left to make informed choices about their health by themselves.
It should not just be put upon the medical profession as well. This is because in the UK medical services cannot often meet the population needs an instead of empowering people they are de- powering people with their health services. One of the important goals of health promotion is demedicalisation. This is where the government is trying to take some of the pressure off the health care professionals in health promotion agencies by setting up health promotion alliances to help move some of the pressure away from health care professionals.
People must also want to empower themselves to be responsible for their own health for example if a person who smokes 20 cigarettes a day finds out that they have lung cancer, they suddenly wants to blame the cigarette companies for their illness, but is it not the companies fault. A lot of the companies have health warnings advertised on their boxes telling smokers about the harmful effects of smoking. The purpose of health education is to raise awareness of a person’s health and to help them promote a healthy lifestyle. ‘Health promotion has acquired so many meanings as to become meaningless.
There is a growing tendency for health promotion and health education to mean the same thing’. (Tanahill 1985). Health promotion aims to cover all aspects of the activities that are not good for a persons health and to help people and communities live a healthier lifestyle. Helping people to be responsible for their own health. The government sets targets to help people be responsible for their own health this can also help health care professionals work out the outcomes and risk factors for certain illness’s and disease’s.
Targets can play and important part in health improvement but they have to be carefully thought about and have to be relevant to the subject. A lot of health promotion projects and programmes are developed and implemented with a certain theory, this is because the information is found from the evidence from research that has been carried out earlier but if a person was to add theory to this it would increase their rate of success. (Seedhouse, D). The Ottawa Charter 1986 is a theory that is used in health promotion in defining its role. Public health has been well established.
The challenge for health promotion is to define public health. By doing these health promotion agencies could communities understand their own health behaviours and help them to change and set health targets to improve their health. There are lots of advantages and disadvantages of giving power to the government on deciding how people should behave for the benefit of their own health. The government have taken away a lot of choices that we should be able to make for example there is a food policy act that has been brought in called healthy catering which is called committee on medical aspects of food policy 1994.
What this means is that the government have put a consensus on the direction of healthy eating they are trying to encourage people to eat more fruit and vegetables and starchy foods. Adding in foods from the dairy and meat alternatives and limiting fatty and sugary foods in both amount and frequency. Schools now have to encourage healthy eating and give out smaller portions of unhealthy food less frequently so it will improve the health of children, but should the government be able to say what we eat and how much of it you should eat surly it is up to the person’s choice of how much they eat.
The advantages of the government telling people what to do and how to do it would be that we do become a healthier nation but what freedoms do we have to give up to become one? The advantages of a person being allowed to take responsibility for their own health is that they can choose what they feel is best for themselves and the person is having their own freedom so pick their own personal preferences to how they want to live their own lives without being told what to do. This would not always cause harm to others but it may to do them.
This is why we need the government to advocate advice this is because if we did not have certain policies in place it could cause harm to the nations health for example if we did not have information given to us how important it is for us to eat healthily. The World Health Organisation is responsible for directing and coordinating the health authority within the United Nations. The world health organisation is responsible for giving leadership on a lot of the global health matters which help to set the norms and standards for evidence based policy which provides help countries monitoring and assessing health needs.
The world health organisation is responsible for giving leadership on matters that are important to health and making partnerships where help is needed it also shapes the research agenda and shares important information about health with other countries witch enables our government to look at the state of our nations health. The world health organisation also sets out the standards of monitoring and promoting their implementation articulating ethical and evidence based policy options. It also monitors the health situation and looks at the current health trends and what could be done to improve them.
The world health organisation helps the government to look at what possible health trends could be happening and what could be done to help prevent any new health problems arising I think that without the government interfering with peoples health we would have a very ill nation. If a person wants to be ultimately responsible for their own health they have to think about their attitude and their own behaviour beliefs and what the outcome is going to be if they have a lot of unhealthy behaviours.
As human beings we learn by looking at others and observing their behaviour. We are most likely to copy a behaviour observed by others if we feel we can connect and identify with that person. A person is more likely to carry out certain action if they predict that it will have an outcome that they want. For example if a person who is easily influenced watches another person drunk and having a good time this person then may think that this is acceptable and do the same not thinking about the implications it could have on their own health.
Therefore is it the person who is drunk not being responsible for their own health and well being but also responsible for the other person’s health who copied because of the example that they set. The environment can also play an important part on personal factors and behaviours, this is called reciprocal determinism. Reciprocal determinism is a model that is used when a persons behaviour is influenced by the environment that they are in.
An example for this would be when a person may not smoke or drink, but if they are sat in a busy pub which is full of smokers and drinkers they may also be influenced to smoke and drink. Even if they are aware of the consequences it could have on their health. The smoking ban that has been put in place may help this problem because if a person who is sat in a room full of smokers may want to smoke themselves, since there is a ban on smoking indoors this no longer becomes a problem so this could be the government’s way of improving health.
There are lots of models that a person can put into practice to help them to be more responsible for their own health it is not just the government that is pushing for a healthier nation. Doctor and health care agencies use a lot of different models to help people and communities have a healthier lifestyle. Choosing the right model for people to use can be difficult this is because it depends on the problems itself, the determinants and the action that has to be taken.
There are different models for individual and communities. There is no one model that dominates health promotion. Health promotion is made up of a number of different models. Ecological models keep developing to put together intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental determinants of behaviour. These are also a challenge in operationalising the constructs in subjects like age, sex and race. Theoretical models of behaviour change are useful for developing and evaluating interventions that are aimed at communities or individual.
By using models health promotion agencies, doctors, health care services can help people be responsible for their own health. I feel that people are responsible for their own health, but the government and health promotion agencies, the mass media, schools, friends and family are also responsible for helping people to promote their own health. Once this has been done and people are aware of what id needed to live a healthy lifestyle then they are responsible for a healthy lifestyle.