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Cigarettes continue to be the most popular form of tobacco world wide. “In 1993 the total cigarettes, ” (Facts About… 3). This useless habit causes many problems in the United States today; cigarettes cause health problems, are extremely addictive, create health hazards for nonsmolers, and cause complications for women who smoke during pregnancy.
Many people have tried smoking once or twice, but never continue. Other people who start smoking continue and become addicted to the nicotine. Many people believe that the power of nicotine has no effect on them, and think that they can stop at anytime;however, this is incorrect. If smoking continues, addiction usually develops before the smoker even realizes it; when this person tries to quit smoking, it is very difficult (”N-O-T: Not on…” 1).One substance found in tobacco smoke, which can make it difficult to quit smoking is nicotine, a highly poisonous oily liquid that acts on the brain. It is poisonous,although, only in large amounts. Its poisonous properties make nicotine addiction very powerful. In 1988 the Surgeon General of the United States published a report concluding that “nicotine in cigarettes is addicting inexactly the same sense as alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. Most former smokers have made at least one unsuccessful attempt to quit before finally succeeding, and many have to try several times,” (Taylor 17). The quitting process is so hard vecause the body develops a dependency on the drug nicotine. This dependency is so great that people do not quit smoking even though they are aware that it may cost them their lives.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 419,000 American deaths are caused by cigarette smoking each year. Surprisingly, many smokers are aware of these statistics, but continue to risk theur lives anyway. “In the United States, smoking is responsible for 1/5 of all deaths, and kills 1/2 of all long term smokers,” (Troyer 33). These statistics are small compared to the number of people who suffer everyday because of smoking related illnesses.
Thirty percent of all cancer deaths, according to the American Lung Association, are caused by smoking. Besides lung cancer, smokers also suffer from a number of other smoking related illnesses. The least significant effect that most smokers experience is ” smokers cough”. Although “smoker’s cough” is not deadly , it is very painful and disgusting to others. It usually occurs early in the morning, because the smoker’s lungs are trying to cough up some of the harmful substances that have built up from the previous day of smoking. Many respiratory diseases are also attributed to smoking. These diseases occur because of bacteris growing in the lungs which makes it difficult for a person’s immune system to fight viral infections. As a result, ” Smokers develop more flu, pneumonia, coughs, tuberculosis, and other breathing related problems than nonsmokers,” (Troyer 33). Other potentially fatal diseases can result from smoking, such as cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are those that affect the heart and circulatory system, such as heart attacks, stroke, vascular disease, and aortic aneurysm,” (34). With so many potentially fatal diseases attributed to smoking, “smoker’s receive more than 1/2 of all medical care,”(35).
The effects of smoking are very costly to the economy. If the sale of cigarettes was banned the United States government would save billions of dollars each year. Opponents argue that banning the sale of cigarettes would eliminate nearly one million jobs in the tobacco industry, and rob the government of billions of dollars they receive from cigarette taxes. However, the truth is that each year 100 billion dollars is spent on somking related health care costs, which is twenty-three times greater than the amount that hte government receives from cigarette taxes. Most of these costs come from the cost of treating dieseases caused by tobacco and from the loss when workers are too ill (or have died) and cannot contribute to economic activity, (Taylor 17). if cigarettes were banned in the United States, the government could apend the money currently used to pay medical bills, on more necessary causes. Instead of this money being used for diseases which were knowingly brought upon by the smoker him or herslf, this money could be used in finding a cure for diseases that are not preventable.
Perhaps the saddest effect of smoking is that on pregnant smokers and their babies. When pregnant women smoke, their babies are being forced to smoke, too. many women begin smoking at an early age and find it hard to quit even during pregnancy. Information given from Health Watch discribes smoking as a harmful gas and deadly substance thats passes throughout baby’s blood from mother’s blood (2). This selfish act on the mothers part can result in miscarriage, stillborn (SIDS).When a pregnant woman smokes, the various chemicals, including nicotine and carbon monoxide , also affect the baby. “These chemicals have a direcct effect on the growth of the fetus. The more the mother smokes during pregnancy, the lower the weight of the newborn infant. Smoking increased the risk(by more than 50% in light smokers and well over 100% in heavy smokers) taht the baby’s weight will be less than 2500 grams,” (Tye 6). Such babies are more likely tio be stillborn, to need intensive care in the hospital, or to die in infancy. Not only does smoking gave dangerous and fatal effects on the baby, but the mother is at risk as well. The more a pregnant womean snokes, her risk of placenta abnormality and excessive bleeding increases. Also, nicotine may decrease mild production and make successful breast feeding more difficult, (Taylor 8). So if a mother would knowingly endanger her life and the life of the baby she is carrying, this woman would have no problem smoking in a room full of nonsmokers, endangering their lives as well.
Many people who do not smoke so not enjoy being in a room where people are smoking. However, discomfort should be the least of their worries. Cigarette smoke carries carcinogens and other harmful substances. ” Many of these substances are poisons: tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, arsenic, cyanide, and other deadly aubatances. Anyone exposed to secondhand smoke breathes in over four thousand chemical substances. Secondhand smoke kills 53,000 Americans each year. It is the third largest preventable cause of death . Only direct smoking and alcohol-related deaths rank higher,”(Rumph 20). To demonstrate that nonsmokers are affected by the smoke, a study was done by the Americans for non Smokers’ Rights Foundation on children living in homes with parents who smoke. The study was compared with children living in homes with no smoking. The children living with smokers, had a ten percent lower amount of high density lipoprotein, which prevent against heart disease, as compared to children in non-smoking homes, (Rumph 20). Also, ” girls with parents who smoke have a lower ability to carry oxygen in the blood, while boys had a lower testosterone level than children living in non-smoking homes,” (Houston 121). Although some progress has been made to reduce secondhand smoke in public places, it is not enough. There are no laws to protect people on the street or innocent children in their homes. The only way to protect innocent non-smokers is to ban the sale of cigarettes, so there would be no second-hand smike at all.
Cigarettes are harmful to everyone. They result in addiction, fatal illnesses, birth complications, and death. Cigarettes create economic problems because of the high costs the government must pay for medical bills. cigarettes benefit no one, they only cause harm.
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