Tobacco: Deadly, Addictive, And Environmentally Hazardous Essay, Research Paper
Tobacco: Deadly, Addictive, and Environmentally Hazardous
“It has been conservatively estimated that regular smokers of cigarettes sacrifice 7 years of life. If one divides the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime on average into this 7 year loss, it turns out to be 5 ? minutes for each cigarette.” (Petty 1). This fact should sound astounding to anyone. Tobacco use has a huge effect on society. Tobacco is a known killer and there needs to be something done about this issue. Because it is common knowledge that tobacco causes death, is highly addictive, and pollutes the environment, tobacco products should be illegal.
The American Cancer Society estimates that cigarettes are responsible for more than 430,000 deaths in the United States each year. Lung cancer accounts for about thirty percent of all cancer deaths, and smoking accounts for nearly ninety percent of lung cancer deaths. “Lung cancer morality rates are about 23 times higher for current male smokers and 13 times higher for current female smokers compared to lifelong never-smokers.” (Tobacco 1). Smoking causes a fivefold increase in the risk of dying from chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and a twofold increase in deaths from diseases of the heart and coronary arteries. Smoking also increases the risk of stroke by fifty percent. Research shows that mothers who smoke give birth more frequently to premature or underweight babies. This is caused because of a decrease in blood flow to the placenta. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome. (Cigarettes 1). Death by cigarettes is extremely preventable.
The ways in which tobacco smoke affects the human body have been studied intensely. Recent findings may explain why cigarettes are addictive. Nicotine is the drug in cigarettes that causes an addiction. Nicotine over stimulates the brain’s reward system, the same way cocaine and heroine do when used. “This activity increases levels of sundry neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and seratonin, inducing pleasurable feelings. Most drugs over activate the circuit so that addicts in danger will often turn to one or several substances.” (Leutwyler 2). The US surgeon general declared nicotine an addictive drug, comparable to other addictive substances in its ability to induce dependence. The report also called the monetary and human costs far greater than those attributed to cocaine, alcohol, or heroine. Recent evidence supports this claim, indicating that overall morality attributable to tobacco smoking is about twenty times the morality due to all other addictive drugs combined. (Encarta 5). The habit and addiction to nicotine usually begins at an early age. In the US, more than 70 percent of adults who smoke began smoking before the age of 18. This fact has led to particular concern over smoking in teenagers and young adults. From the early to mid 1990s the proportion of teenage smokers in the US rose from one-quarter to one-third, despite increasing warnings about the health hazards. (thetruth.com). “The federal Office on Smoking and Health estimates that 3,000 young people begin smoking every day.” (American 1). Advertisements aimed at a young audience are blamed for this new generation of smokers. One of the most popular cases was with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. They were the creators of “Joe Camel,” the cartoon that looked extremely cool to young people. The Joe Camel magazine advertisements combined promotional pull-out sections, which offered neon Camel signs, Camel leather jackets and “Joes’s feet flip flop sandals” in exchange for coupons from Camel cigarette packs. The youth would have to smoke up to 600 packs of Camels to receive some of the advertised promotions. (American 1). The tobacco industry has had to remove some youth-targeted marketing, yet the industry still finds a way to market their products to children.
Research has been focused on the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Meaning, the effect of tobacco smoke on non-smokers who must share the same environment with a smoker. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that exposure to ETS, which contains all the toxic agents inhaled by a smoker, causes 3,000 deaths and an estimated 40,000 deaths from heart disease per year in non-smokers. (EPA 1). Secondhand smoke can aggravate asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and impaired blood circulation. Littering is also another cause for concern with cigarette smoking. Since millions of people smoke in the United States, there are a lot of cigarette butts thrown on the ground. CigaretteLitter.Org, a not-for-profit organization has found that, “an estimated 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year.” The most littered item in America happens to be cigarettes. Cigarette filters are not biodegradable and can damage the environment along with cause fires when thrown in certain flammable areas. (Litter 1). Protecting people’s health should be of great cause for concern as well as keeping our country clean and livable. Cigarette smoking needs to be controlled in the United States. Many actions have been taken, but the battle will not end until smoking is banned. Public smoking is no longer tolerated in many areas. California has laws that prohibit smoking in restaurants and many other workplaces. There are 281 California communities that passed local laws prohibiting smoking. Many other states are passing similar laws to protect their communities. (Secondhand 2). An often-asked question is, “Why can’t the state or Federal government deal with this problem?” The answer to this question is, preemption. “Preemption is a provision in state (or federal) law which eliminates the power of local (or state and local) governments to regulate tobacco. A way to eliminate smoking in public places is to enact community laws. Research has shown that once a community places initial smoking restrictions and there are no major issues with the laws, better protection for the people can be enacted. (Secondhand 2). A cleaner community will only come with time, start now.
There are many valid points why cigarettes should not be illegal. The American Smokers Alliance is committed to letting smokers’ know they have the right to smoke. The slogan used for this alliance is, “Wake up Americans, open your eyes! There are 46,000,000 people who choose to smoke in the US.” (American 1). Smokers feel that since there are so many smokers around, that they can outnumber the amount of people voting against smoking. The fact is that there are 46,000,000 people killing innocent Americans every year. This comes off as a killing spree, since 3,000 people die each year from secondhand smoke. It is the right of every human to choose to smoke, but the effects are fatal. Peoples’ morals should be triggered after hearing these astonishing facts. The cigarette industry is a huge moneymaker for our society. It seems that morals are pushed aside by profit and a feeling of obligation to deliver value to executives. Nicotine is clearly a drug, yet there are still some skeptics. Some people believe that cigarettes are not as harmful as marijuana or other drugs. The fact is research indicates that smoking just a few marijuana joints seems to cause as much DNA damage as ten or more cigarettes. (Ammenheuser 2). Cigarette smoking is a problem. It may be the right of smoker to smoke a cigarette, but it is also the right of the non-smoker to have a fresh and clean community to live and breathe in. Morality should be taking over in the minds of smokers. There is no need to kill innocent human beings.
Restricting tobacco use may be the only answer to a healthy world. Tobacco is harmful not only to us, but to the people in surrounding areas. Tobacco use has been passed on from generation to generation. It is now time to put a ban on smoking. With the help of thousands of people smoking can be controlled. Now is the time to start a tobacco battle. Smoking needs to become extinct worldwide.
American Smokers Alliance. Wake up Americans, Open your eyes! 10 March 2001. http://www.smokers.org/
Ammenheuser, John. Worse Than Cigarettes. Dec. 1999. Royal College of
Nursing conference ‘99
Cigarettes and Pregnancy Family Internet. 2 March. 2001
Cigarettelitter.org. Cigarette Litter. March. 2001
Leutwyler, Kristin. Closing in on Addiction. 12 March. 2001 Scientific
Encarta 2000. Smoking Cessation in individuals.
Microsoft Encarta online encyclopedia 2000. 12 March. 2001 http://www.encarta.msn.com/
Enviornmental Protection Agency. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive
Smoking. Jan 1999 http://www.epa.gov/
Petty, Thomas M.D. It’s Never Too Late To Stop Smoking. Jan 2000. The
Emphysema Foundation. 20 March 2001
Secondhand Smoke and Community Laws. 6 Feb. 2000.
Tobacco & Cancer. 10 October 2000. American Cancer Society.