Addicted Until Death Essay, Research Paper
Addicted Until Death
It is Easter Sunday, and your whole family gathers together for a wonderful meal. This is one of the few times each year you get to see all of your aunts, uncles, cousins, and nephews. A special occasion such as this would be perfect if it weren t for that gray cloud looming overhead. It is an actual gray cloud of smoke. No, mom didn t burn the turkey; it s cigarette smoke. Most of your family members are smoking. Despite your great aunt s recent struggle with lung cancer, your loved ones continue filling the room with that disgusting carcinogen. It isn t because they don t realize the dangers of smoking, but because they simply can not stop. Cigarette smoking is very addictive and many people have little power to quit. If people can not remove this demon themselves, I call upon the government to remove it for them.
Since 1964, we have known that cigarette smoking is a cause of cancer and other serious diseases, yet hundreds of thousands of Americans still die each year because of tobacco-related illnesses (CDC 1). Lung cancer, which is responsible for over 400,000 deaths each year, is the number-one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States. Greater than ninety percent of these deaths are directly caused by cigarette smoking (Grannis). With the absence of cigarettes these deaths could have been avoided. How can we sit back and watch the senseless suicides caused by smoking? Not only are the smokers that in danger, but also the ones that are closest to them.
Environmental tobacco smoke, second hand smoke, is responsible for over fifty thousand deaths every year (Grannis). These deaths should be classified as murders. Smokers are involuntarily killing their loved ones and themselves, but they cannot seem to stop. Only seven percent of smokers who determine that they want to quit are successful long-term (2). This addiction is primarily due to the nicotine in cigarettes. It has been proven by numerous studies that nicotine is addictive; therefore, people really have no control over their problem. Something must be done to release the power that cigarettes have over the American people.
There are many different ways to approach the control of tobacco and cigarettes, but they must all have a common result: The banning of cigarettes all together. The best starting point for abolishing cigarettes is in the youth. Ninety percent of smokers became addicted as teenagers (Grannis). Teenagers are often rebellious and will smoke just because they aren t supposed to. Peer pressure and heavy advertising play hand in hand to influence teens to start smoking. An action similar to the State of Nebraska s teen tobacco education and prevention project could be a good starting point (Andersen 1). This project earmarks money to be used to encourage teams of high school students across the state to develop anti-smoking projects up to 100,000 each (1). If we could encourage teens to get involved with the anti-smoking campaign, we might have a chance to stop cigarettes where they first start.
Anti-smoking advertisements should replace cigarette ads, hopefully making smoking less acceptable among teens. When these teens mature, they will consider the effects of smoking more carefully, and we would have a significantly lower number of cigarette smokers in our society. Using graphic warnings on cigarette packages would help illustrate to people the dangers of smoking. As Dr. Wang states, Pictures on cigarette packages of the effects of smoking are a good way of giving people the information they need to make a more informed choice (1). The older, already addicted people would make up the largest portion of smokers. The government would need to gradually increase the tax on tobacco; therefore, raising the price of cigarettes at the same time as generating extra money for the treatment of lung cancer patients. Soon, only the rich and the very determined will continue smoking.
Although the solutions seem simple to abolish smoking totally, the problem cannot be solved overnight. Many drawbacks can and will arise with any step towards il-legalization. Addiction is the strongest force in keeping cigarettes legal and people will go to any extent to fashion the craving. Others will claim that we all have the right to smoke since it has been acceptable for centuries past. If this were true we wouldn t be able to deny people the right to use marijuana, which was once an acceptable drug by society. Simple ignorance has kept cigarettes on the market for this long. The Surgeon General prints the effects of smoking on every pack of cigarettes and people persistently take these warnings with a grain of salt.
By outlawing cigarettes, we solve the smoking problem in our society. Our youth would be safe from the harms of this killer drug. Money that the government spends on treating lung cancer could be put toward a better cause in the future. American people could live longer, healthier lives. Smoking is just a sign of our predecessors ignorance to the effects of drugs; if we truly are a more sophisticated society, we should have no problem ridding ourselves of this outdated form of euphoria. Why not kill the addiction before it kills us?
Anderson, Harold W.. Enlist Teens in Anti-Tobacco Push. The Omaha World-Herald.
20 February 2000: 3.
Elliot, Stuart. Youth Rhymes with Truth. The New York Times. 4 February 2000: 3
Grannis, Frederic W., Jr. The Lung Cancer and Cigarette Smoking Web Page.
Tobacco Control Milestones. St. Louis Post-Dispatch 5 March 2000.
Wang, Hsiu-Li Dr. Show the Effects of Smoking The Montreal Gazette 7 March 2000.