Cancer, emphysema, asthma… death. What are all of those tragic health conditions associated with? No, not merely old age or even sucking on the exhaust pipe of a Buick, though the latter’s not too far from the truth. The horrific reality is that everyday, everywhere in this country, people are lighting up cancer sticks. Cigarettes, as they are more generally called, are poisoning the nation with every wheeze-filled puff that anyone draws in and exhales.
Smoking cigarettes is one of this nation’s worst evils, yet is more acceptable than many less hazardous substances that are considered illegal. Cigarettes should be banned entirely from the United States because they kill not only the populace that smokes them, but innocent bystanders as well, are more addictive than marijuana or painkillers, and are produced and distributed by an industry that gains profit from millions of their customer’s deaths. Second-hand smoke warnings swarm all aspects of the media in today’s society, and with good reason.
Anyone that believes they cannot be affected by smokers’ habits is tragically mistaken. So maybe a guy standing at a crosswalk doesn’t mind the fact that he’s poisoning himself, but the mother waiting behind him walking her eight-year-old son to school certainly does. They both are inhaling the toxins spewing from that Marlboro 100, and probably don’t like it. Okay smoker, it’s alright to kill yourself, but not others. Also, anyone with asthma or emphysema can have their illnesses worsened; second-hand smoke is even more perilous to them.
People on the street or in the same room may be able to walk away from the smoky clouds, but what about those that can’t? Kids, infants, and even unborn children may be getting sick just from second-hand smoke in the next room, causing innumerable health risks. In fact, “After the first month of life, infants of parents who smoke have higher mortality rates through the first year of life, mostly because of an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome and respiratory conditions like bronchiolitis” (Gidding 750).
Yet, each smoker is unaware that a small part of their habit damaged the lungs of the girl that now needs constant medical supervision or the boy that looks through the fence at the kids playing baseball, but can’t join in because he’d suffer an asthma attack. If they had just put out their light… But it doesn’t bother a smoker… if the people exiting an airport cough when they walk out of the terminals through the “smoking areas,” what are a few kids? The second-hand smoke that kills thousands of people every year must be eliminated, and can be if the first-hand smoke is banned.
Among the hundred or so chemicals tucked away inside a cancer stick is a pesky little addictive substance called nicotine. So along with urea, carbon monoxide, and methane, those who smoke get a substance more addictive than caffeine, defined by the New American Webster Handy College dictionary as, “ a poisonous, colorless, oily liquid. ” Sounds great, huh? Most smokers might try not to smoke if it weren’t for the fact that they are addicted to their cigs. Surprisingly, the tobacco companies know that seventy percent of smokers want to quit but can’t (Reasons). Addiction is regarded as bad in America.
We spend millions of tax dollars each year to break the addictions of junkies, or to house them in our prisons if their drugs are illegal. Heroine, cocaine, and marijuana are outlawed because they kill people, and lead to more crime based on an addict’s chemical dependency. What is to stop a nicotine addict from stealing money to buy a pack when he says he, “Needs a cigarette,” but doesn’t have the cash? Maybe jail time can act as a deterrent. Addictions, especially those that are life threatening, have been the targets of countless programs to help eliminate them because our nation considers them to be appalling.
An addiction to nicotine is as serious as any other drug addiction and should be dealt with accordingly, by outlawing its distribution, and the cigarettes that are its envelope to the citizen of this country. Big business is part of America and tobacco companies are some of the biggest businesses, but they make their money from the suffering of others. When anybody buys a pack of cigarettes, they are supporting a series of corporations that gain profits from dealing death to the people of America.
Here’s how it works: tobacco companies lose thousands of customers each year… because they die. So every day they need about 3,000 new smokers, and they look to the kids (3,000). Have those capitalists realized that it’s morally unjust to market lethal, addictive substances to kids? Yes, but as long as the money keeps rolling in, the lives of their customers don’t matter. Buying a pack of cigarettes is simply feeding the monster that is the tobacco industry. Before the lungs of a smoker are affected, their wallet is: approximately $4. 00 for a pack of twenty. Let’s do the math on that one!
Twenty cents per cancer stick, a pack each day… Smoking costs $1, 460 per year, but don’t worry because a bonus gift comes with that; it’s called lung cancer, or a few lucky individuals can spend almost fifteen hundred bucks a year for asthma. Tobacco companies profit from death and poor health. Being paid for thousands of murder each year doesn’t seem highly regarded or even decent, so the sale of cigarettes should be illegal. Okay, this is America, the land of the free; smokers have the freedom to smoke. It has been known unofficially as the “right to smoke” in arguments over this matter of banning cigarettes. Right to smoke?
What about the right to breathe clean air? In public places, more people don’t smoke than those who do, and since there seems to be a basis on laws and rights when it comes to this issue, and this is a democracy… TAA-DAA the non-smokers would win this one. God bless the rights in America! At home, in private, it’s okay to smoke though, some would think. A smoker should still have that right, right? Well, again going to the government of America and its laws, suicide is illegal. That includes poisoning; ingesting chemicals that kill the human body slowly, which seems like suicide and in a court of law, could be confirmed.
When it comes to a “right to smoke,” it’s great to live in such democratic society where the people make the laws; maybe a ban on cigarettes should be next on the lists. Tobacco companies make billions of dollars and keep thousands of people employed, but to do that they distribute death cartons. They make donations to campaigns, schools, and even health care facilities. Perhaps they believe that their donations will make people blind to the fact that their product, “kills more people than AIDS, murder, suicide, fires, alcohol, and all other illegal drugs combined” (Perspectives). How could our economy survive without them? Hello!
The United States of America is one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world. The national debt is way over the billion-dollar marker, so does another billion matter? U. S. allies would donate funds to stimulate the economy. Another Great Depression is not an option, and wouldn’t happen, especially since the U. S. is known for its thriving economy. As far as finding new jobs for all the tobacco company employees, well maybe some openings are available as gravediggers and morticians; they could see the error of their ways more clearly by looking at a man that died of lung cancer with a pack of Camels in his pocket.
The economy of the U. S. is structured firmly so that the people back it with their money. If nothing else, $1,460 a year could be spent on something else, like shopping sprees, to help the economy for those that are worried about another stock market downfall. This nation can survive without cigarettes, and so could thousands of its citizens. Who suffers from the effects of cigarettes? Answer: the smoker, because according to Hospital Practice, smokers are admitted to hospitals twice as often as nonsmokers (Hospital 8), and anyone standing around them, including unborn children.
Who benefits from smoking cigarettes? “Big Tobacco,” the heartless corporate giants that profit from death. Second-hand smoke kills, addiction runs rampant and needs to be stopped, and the tobacco companies are laughing at the suffering of consumers all the way to the bank. Such an illegitimate situation can be easily avoided. Ban the cancer sticks; ban the self-poisoning. Eliminate cigarettes… eliminate the problem. Bibliography : WORKS CITED 3,000 New Customers. 6 Jan. 1989. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 16 Jan. 2002 .
Gidding, S. S. and M. Schydlower. “Active and Passive Tobacco Exposure: A Serious Pediatric Health Problem. ” Pediatrics 94 (1994): 750-51. Hospital Practice 15 Jun. 1997: 8. “Perspectives in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Smoking – Attributable Mortality and Years of Life Lost. ” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 46. 20 (1997): 444. Reasons for Tobacco Use and Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal Among Adolescent and Young Adult Tobacco Users. 21 Oct. 1994. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 19 Jan. 2002 ythaddct. htm>.