Health Risks Of Secondhand Smoke Essay, Research Paper
“The Health Risks of Secondhand Smoke Are Exaggerated,” according to an article written by W. Kip Viscusi, which is published in 1997 in Smoking, Opposing Viewpoints. The article, is not effective. Not only are the sources of the evidence not clearly identified, but also Viscusi uses logical fallacies, and the organization is confusing.
The first reason why Viscusi’s article is not effective is that the sources of the evidence Viscusi uses are not clearly identified. To begin with Viscusi talks about how the percentages of non-smokers in society have risen, then he says to consider the following “Gallup Poll results”, which are that the 16% believed that smoking in public places should be banned. But Viscusi fails to tell the reader what the “Gallup poll” is, when it was taken and who produced it. Equally important, in the seventh paragraph Viscusi states that “cancer researchers” generally note. Again he fails to let the reader know the credentials of the cancer researchers. Another example of poor credentials is when Viscusi states some percentages in “a 1991 survey of company smoking policies”. He again fails to let the reader know the credentials of the survey.
Another explanation as to why Viscusi’s article is not successful is because the organization is confusing. The thesis Viscusi is trying to prove is that the health risks of secondhand smoke are exaggerated. He fails to support his thesis because his main points in his story are all scattered and have no organization. Also, Viscusi’s main point is that
risks are exaggerated, but he fails to bring out the “risks” until after the he writes about insignificant topics that have nothing to do with the point he is trying to make. In addition to not supporting his thesis and scattering the main points, Viscusi also fails to stick to the point and he
often goes off topic. For example, Viscusi states in the second paragraph that the “debate over taxing cigarettes has intensified,” while taxation on cigarettes has nothing to do with the risks of secondhand smoke.
In addition to poor credentials and confusing organization, Viscusi often provides logical fallacies. The first way he does so is by using hasty generalizations. For example, Viscusi says that for many years non-smokers view secondhand smoke as a “smelly annoyance.” He generalizes that smokers annoy all non-smokers. Viscusi also uses shared assumptions to stand for
proof. One is he does so is when he stated that “one whiff is less likely to be risky than sustained exposures.” But goes on to say that the EDA and the OSHA hasn’t made those distinctions but that its instructive to use the estimates anyway. Another way Viscusi uses logical fallacies is by using circular reasoning. He “beats around the bush” by slipping in words like
“proposed” and “would have” to explain the laws about taxation of cigarettes.
Therefore, in conclusion, the susceptible credentials, confusing organization, and all the logical fallacies prove that this article is written unsuccessfully. This type of article should have been written with impressive credentials, better organization, and true statements. If
Viscusi had used those key topics, he would have been more successful in convincing the reader that secondhand smoke health risks are exaggerated.