Each year, the U.S. government passes numerous laws to protect its citizens. Yet, one perfectly legal product manages to seize over 400,000 American lives annually (American Lung Association, “American”). Despite the efforts of the U.S. government to protect its citizens, the government continues to ignore the single most preventable cause of premature deaths. The vicious culprit attributed to these deaths is the common cigarette. Death, however, is not the only transgression cigarettes are responsible for. Cigarettes pose a clear threat to the public, to the economy, and to the planet. Without a doubt, the government should ban cigarettes on account of the fact that they are harmful to the economy, to the body, and to the environment.
The government should ban cigarettes because they hurt the economy. Essentially, cigarettes rob the economy of wealth. One area where cigarette smoking is costly is health care. Smokers often seek medical care because of the negative effects cigarettes have on the human body. As a result, the government spends a large amount of money treating medical illnesses that are, many times, preventable. In fact, “[s]moking costs the United States approximately $97.2 billion each year in health-care costs and lost productivity” (American Lung Association, “American”). Also, citizens must fund health care costs through tax dollars.
A wiser and more productive utilization of tax dollars would be funding for schools. Despite the fact that the tobacco industry contributes a significant amount of tax dollars, economic costs far exceed tobacco profits. Another area where cigarette smoking is costly is the working environment. Employers must spend more money on smokers than on nonsmokers. Statistics indicate, in fact, that smokers do not attend work as often, receive more health insurance, show reduced job performance, and require higher maintenance expenses (Tobacco). Lastly, and most obviously, smokers themselves can save money by not buying cigarettes. Simply put, cigarettes are stifling to economic growth. Cigarettes are not only harmful to the economy but also harmful to the body.
Undeniably, the government should outlaw cigarettes because they are harmful to the body. First of all, cigarettes contain nicotine, “an addictive drug, which when inhaled in cigarette smoke reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body intravenously” (American Lung Association, “American”). Secondly, cigarettes contain numerous chemicals and poisons such as ammonia, arsenic, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde. Some of these chemicals even cause cancer.
Besides harmful effects on smokers, they also have unpleasant effects on nonsmokers. Nonsmokers often breathe in the smoke from burning cigarettes, whether they want to or not. Thus, nonsmokers suffer some of the same ailments as smokers. Another party subject to the dangers of cigarette smoke includes unborn and newborn children. Women who choose to smoke during their pregnancy often put their child at risk of many defects. Statistically, “[s]moking in pregnancy accounts for an estimated 20 to 30 percent of low-birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and some 10 percent of all infant deaths” (American Lung Association, “American”). In addition to being a threat to humanity, cigarettes are also a hazard to the environment.
A ban on cigarettes should go into effect because they impose many hazards to the environment. One hazard deals with the fact that tobacco companies do not make cigarette filters from environmentally safe materials. Although this does not seem like a great threat to the environment, often times, smokers throw their cigarettes on the ground. Because cigarette filters are non-biodegradable, they do not disappear, subsequently causing a build-up of litter.
Furthermore, “[c]igarette butts are deadly to wildlife, which eat the filters mistaking them for food” (“No”). This error in judgement is lethal because of the numerous chemicals and poisons left in the filters. Cigarettes also contain a major source of air pollution: carbon monoxide. Consequently, air pollution can “worsen and may cause lung disease” among other things (American Lung Association, “Major”). Undoubtedly, the government should not advocate smoking because cigarettes are dangerous to the environment.
In summary, the government should prohibit cigarettes because they are economically, bodily, and environmentally detrimental. Cigarette use is costly to maintain and cumbersome to economic prosperity. Additionally, cigarettes induce damaging effects on the human body. Furthermore, the environment suffers from pollution given off by cigarettes. Society should not tolerate a product that yields malicious effects on such a magnitude. If mankind should seek an ideal life, mankind must take the necessary steps to achieve it, starting with a ban on cigarettes.
American Lung Association. “American Lung Association Fact Sheet Smoking.” Sept. 1999. 27 Oct. 1999 .
– -. “Major Air Pollutants.” n.d. 28 Oct. 1999 .
No Butts About It, Use an Ash Tray.” Jan. 1996. 28 Oct. 1999 .
Tobacco Free Kansas Coaltion Inc. “Tobacco Facts: Economic Impact Of Smoking In the Workplace.” 1999. 16 Oct. 1999 .