Outline the argument for and against smoking ban

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Outline the main argument for and against creating a smoking ban in public areas. Is it good overall - justify your view

        Smoking is a de-merit good. This means that it is over-provided in a free market economy. The price mechanism has allocated too many resources than is socially desirable. Smoking is over consumed, as shown in the diagram below:

 The MSC (marginal social cost) and the MPC  (marginal private cost) are not the same. They diverge. This is because society experiences a different cost from the good being consumed than the individual. The demand side is the same hence why MSB = MPB. The individual is happy when MPB = MPC, (10 a day). Therefore they consume where the red and green lines meet. Here their MPC = MSB so they are happy. Society is happy when MSB = MSC. So they want people to consume where the pink lines meets the green line. MSB = MSC (5 a day). Below 5 a day both the MSC and MPC are below MPB and MSB. So both society and the individual wants to consume the good. Above 10 a day the MSC and the MPC are above the MSB and the MPB so neither the individual or society wants more than 10 cigarettes a day.

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        However in between 5 and 10 cigarettes a day, the MSC is above the MSB so society does not want to have that many cigarettes. The MPB is still above the MPC so the individual does want to have 6 to 10 cigarettes but society does not want them to.   It can be concluded that individuals only ever think about the private costs and benefits so make poor decisions from what society would like them to do. This is because even though people are aware of the damages of smoking to their own body, they may not realise how ...

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The essay has a good structure, having a clear introduction defining the key terms, and a concise conclusion offering a justified judgement. Having a clear structure allows for a focused argument, and this is evident in this essay. There is not one point where they don't focus on the task in hand, which will gain them credit. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are strong, and I liked the variety of technical terms used. Terms such as marginal cost, marginal benefit, etc will make your essay more convincing, and this essay uses them well!

The analysis in this essay is strong. The introduction ably explains demerit goods, and why it is relevant to smoking. If I were doing this essay, I would've mentioned how price and quantity are determined by market forces, which do not take into account externalities. A buzzword for an essay like this is "market failure" so it was a bit of a shame that wasn't included. The diagram showing a demerit good is particularly good - the diagram is clear and large enough to see the difference between marginal social cost and marginal private cost. I would advise that you always show the equilibrium prices also, whereas this essay has only chosen to show the quantities. I don't use colours myself in economics, but it is clear to see that it helps strengthen the analysis. There is a good awareness of the argument that the NHS has limited resources, and this is simply made worse by smokers. A perceptive debate including social arguments will gain credit! When talking about the significance of the cigarette industry, I would always do a bit of research to see how many people it employs. It is a weak argument without numbers, as it seems a big assumption to just say it is large. Including research and up-to-date figures makes any argument stronger. My favourite economic concept when discussing the smoking ban is an unintended consequence. In hindsight, we can see the smoking ban led to an increase in outdoor heating, which in turn has increased carbon emissions - a market failure in itself. Such evaluation will gain high marks. I liked how the essay ended with a justified judgement, rather than sitting on the fence. Being able to draw on arguments and saying which is strongest is a skill examiners will look for!

This essay engages well with the question, discussing the positives and negatives of the smoking ban. I would note that I think there's another interpretation of the question, where a discussion of whether a smoking ban is the best way to correct market failure. However, that is irrelevant! I liked how this essay progresses from knowledge and understanding, to analysis, and then evaluation. A clear progression allows for a convincing and clear argument, always focused on the question.