Tobacco smoke is a complex substance that contains upwards of 5000 different chemicals. Smoking during pregnancy has important negative effects on fetal growth. Maternal smoking during pregnancy can decrease birth weight and increase risks for premature births. With each pack of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy a 2.8 gram decrease within neonatal body mass has been noted (Banderali, Martelli, Landi, Morettie, Betti, Radaelli, Lassandro, & Verduci, 2015). Low birth rates among maternal smoking coincides with the reduced amount of blood and oxygen transported to the fetus. Not only can fetal growth be restricted due to smoking during pregnancy but so can brain development. A reduction within brain size and changes in brain functions have been observed in infants exposed to prenatal smoking (Banderali et al., 2015). It is unfortunate to realize that even though the effects of smoking while pregnant are known, there is currently no policy condemning and illegalizing the act. Because of that I have selected maternal smoking and its effect on the fetus as a healthcare policy in hopes to explore and research all of the reasons as to why it should become illegal.
In the information-processing model, decisions can be reached in a systematic and analytical approach. A set of procedures is followed that gathers information, generates ideas, interprets information, and provides evaluation. The information-processing model is context-invariable and can be applied in all decision-making environments (Muntean, 2013). This is why I feel this model of policy-making would be best for creating a policy for maternal smokers. By using communication and clarity the best possible decisions are made. This model will present the straight facts as to why smoking during pregnancy should be illegal and come with penalties to mothers who participate in the act.
In 2015, 3,477 individuals were killed and 391,000 were injured due to a distracted driver and a motor vehicle crash (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2017). Though that is shocking news, we all know it happens on a regular basis, to everyone, most of us are culprits. I have selected to research and present texting and use of cellular devices while driving as a policy priority because it is an epidemic and currently a social norm. Prevention of these activities is imperative to keeping the public safe while on the roads. When many deaths and injuries may be preventable it is necessary to involve law enforcement, schools, and the community at large. Public education and understanding of risk a key to saves lives on our streets and highways. Currently, Florida is one of only four remaining states that maintains texting and driving as a secondary offense. In other words, if you get pulled over for running a stop sign then you may be cited for texting and driving but cannot currently be pulled over for distracted driving. Interestingly, it was just this past Thursday, Florida House Representatives voted 112-2 to pass a bill fully banning texting while driving in the state (Associated Press, 2018, March 1). The public may wonder if the social norms have become so strong that no education can break the unsafe habit of distracted driving. A multidimensional platform for public awareness and may ultimately increase observance of new laws before they are instituted (Sherin, Lowe, Harvey, Leiva, Malik, Matthews, & Suh, 2014). I propose that local authorities support an awareness campaign to educate the public of the new law coming to fruition and that saving lives of those they love is the goal.
The policy making model that should be applied to my policy issue is incrementalism, or the pilot method. This model involves following degrees of change and bolstering a more gradual step process than other models. Incrementalism should be utilized in approaching the public awareness and education regarding driving safety and bans on texting while driving. This is primarily because it can and should be started quickly with intention to increase in frequency and severity by using a step process. This policy is for local review for community education and awareness. Though distracted driving is an issue that affects each of us daily and involves many stakeholders, the policy being developed is on a smaller scale for local institution and understanding.