'Poisoning our minds': Arizona declares 'porn epidemic' a public health risk

Arizona state Senate passed a bill on Monday declaring porn a public health risk.
Arizona state Senate passed a bill on Monday declaring porn a public health risk. Photo credit: AAP Photos

The US state of Arizona has declared pornography a public health risk, one year after Florida made the same announcement.

The declaration was put to vote in the state Senate on Monday (local time), the end result coming to 16-13. There are no concrete ramifications associated with the declaration.

Republican Senator Sylvia Allen insists it's a powerful move towards making people aware of "the epidemic of pornography".

Senator Allen blames porn as the root cause of unplanned pregnancies, underage sex and the rise of syphilis, stating that porn is responsible for "poisoning the minds of our citizens".

Opponents say the vote was a waste of time in comparison to other significant health concerns, including the increasing rate of mortality during childbirth and the measles outbreak, the Daily Mail reports.

Florida declared porn a public health risk last year, a move initiated by Republican Representative Ross Spano. Spano claimed that research pointed to several connections between porn consumption and mental and physical illnesses, individually and societally.

Spano reportedly wanted adult material dubbed a state public health crisis - the same status labelling the opioid epidemic.

Media outlets have reported that Spano's disdain for porn allegedly stems from raising his son.

"I asked my child, 'Well when did you first?' He said, 'I was probably 10.' And I said, 'Well how did you?' And he said, 'An older kid showed me."

Pornography has been labelled a public health crisis in two US states.
Pornography has been labelled a public health crisis in two US states. Photo credit: AAP Photos

The verdict was 18-1 in the House. The one separatist, Democrat Dr Cary Pigman, was the only medical doctor on the board, the Daily Mail reports.

"We have problems with hypertension, with obesity, with diabetes," Dr Pigman said to local station WFSU, citing the rise of HIV and STDs as more pressing sexual health concerns than porn consumption.

Research has tied porn to a number of concerns such as eating disorders, normalised abuse of women and children, marital problems, issues relating to low self-esteem, and addiction.

A handful of studies suggest early exposure to porn can affect men's attitudes towards women, and can lead to various issues associated with becoming sexually active at a young age.

Most experts agree the findings on porn are inconclusive.

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