Law and Policy
There have been numerous attempts over the past decade to have an outright ban ion the smoking of cigarettes. This has especially been the case among different jurisdictions within the US. Scientific research studies conducted in the last three decades present evidence that smoking is indeed not only dangerous to the active smoker but to the passive smoker as well (Proctor, 2013). It is common to find smokers lighting and smoking a cigarette in public places such as parks, parking lots and entertainment spots. Some states have gone a step further in the limiting of smoking cigarettes by banning the act of smoking in public spaces. As such, smoking is done in designated areas within city parks, entertainment spots and other public areas. Smoking in public areas has been banned in an effort to protect non smokers from adverse health effects associated with it. This paper seeks to employ the Kingdon’s Three Streams Theory in an attempt to frame cigarette banning so that policies can be formulated towards a total ban on cigarettes in the US.
John Kingdon’s Three Streams Theory
John Kingdon identified three agenda setting challenges on a given national issues which ultimately converge to present a window of opportunity necessary for the issue to progress onto a policy setting agenda stage (Policy Perspectives, n.d). These three agenda setting challenges are problems, politics and policy.
Problem: In Kingdon’s Three Streams Theory, an agenda setting challenge is the process which enables policy decision makers to concentrate on reacting to a particular problem over a host of other similarly weighty problems. For instance, in this paper, the problem is that cigarette smoking presents all members of the society, both the smoker and non smoker with adverse health consequences (Proctor, 2013). It is important to note that the probability of a policy proposal being adapted to the agenda setting stage is highly dependent on the magnitude of seriousness attributed to a problem. It is also imperative that the identified problem should have been accorded much scholarly research and public debate to warrant consideration. For instance, a problem related to budget crisis will inadvertently attract recognition from policy decision makers and other related stakeholders.
Proposals: This is essentially the process which results in the generation, revision, debate, and adoption of policy proposals. It is important to understand that a number of proposals compete at any one give time and as such, to have a proposal shortlisted requires the concerted efforts of policy makers towards employing numerous tactics to this end (Law & Policy, 2013). For a proposal to be successful, it has to have the unobstructed appeal of the general public and more so it has to be feasible.
Politics: this relates to factors of a political nature which inadvertently have an influential force on a given agenda. These political factors include changes in the holder of a politically elected office, political environment and the general political mood prevailing in a country to state (Law & Policy, 2013). It is important to note that in some instances, political factors tend to integrate the voice of advocacy stemming from political opposition groups.
All three elements of Kingdon’s Three Streams Theory operate autonomously although in some instances; actors relative to each tend to always overlap. Successful agen