Photo: National Library of Medicine
In 1966, 43 per cent of the adult U.S. population smoked cigarettes.That number plummeted to just 19 per cent by 2010, a new paper in the American Journal of the American Medical Association points out.
Harvard’s David Hemenway and other researchers say the methods the U.S. government used to dramatically reduce smoking can be used to target another public health problem: gun violence.
First off, they argue the government should add a “new, substantial” tax to firearms like it did with cigarettes. That tax revenue could then be used for a public health campaign to educate people about gun violence.
The U.S. also needs to “modify sociocultural norms” about violence, as it did with cigarette smoking, the paper argues. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, movie stars like Lauren Bacall glamorized cigarette smoking.
But then celebrities like Brooke Shields began speaking out against smoking in the 1980s, and the public began to see smoking as a sign of “weakness, irrationality, and addiction,” the paper points out.
The paper goes onto argue that “an analogous campaign could equate gun violence with weakness, irrationality, and cowardice.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.