Making Tobacco Illegal: The Fight That Should be Over I. Tobacco is ever present in this modern society. It is a daily encounter, and little is thought of it. This encounter may be passing through a cloud of smoke on the way to work, or stepping outside to smoke a cigarette, if a person so chooses. Tobacco cannot be ignored with people inhaling smoke by choice or not. In “Smoke alarm,” the article illustrates the dangers of inhaling secondhand smoke that is not directly inhaled, saying,” Nonsmokers have to breathe sidestream smoke continually.
This smoke, which does not pass through a filter, is burdened with twice the tar and nicotine, 50 times the ammonia and substantially more cancer-causing substances, like nitrosamines, than mainstream smoke,” (Cousins). Smoking strongly affects the health of an individual in a negative way, and it affects the health of people around a smoker as well. As the health effects of smoking are becoming increasingly well known, it is difficult to not acknowledge them and take action accordingly. Why then, do people continue to smoke? The addictiveness of cigarettes is one reason why. The nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive. Medical experts say that it is as addictive as heroin or cocaine,” (Kennedy). Once a person starts smoking, they become hooked on it and it becomes more difficult to stop and quit with each cigarette they have. In turn, being physically and mentally reliant to a product that so negatively impacts one’s health leads to the deaths of well over 400,000 people every year in the United States alone. That number is higher than the deaths of automobile accidents, alcohol abuse, illegal drugs, AIDS, murder, and suicide combined (Kennedy).
Our society has not lived without tobacco though, as it may seem obvious to do knowing the harmful effects coupled with that staggering number in mind. The tobacco companies show why all in their numbers. “Tobacco is the country’s fifth-largest cash crop. The industry’s revenues compare with those of the aerospace and electrical-equipment fields; consumers spend about the same amount of money on cigarettes that they invest in radios, televisions, records and musical instruments combined.
Excise taxes alone on tobacco add about $6 billion annually to state and federal coffers,” (Cousins). With that significant of an effect on the economy of the United States, living without tobacco would cause an enormous impact on the people of America. The tobacco companies have a stronghold in the economy of the United States and with certainty they do not want tobacco gone. But many people make a strong push for tobacco to be outlawed as it has been in other countries. A regulation of tobacco is the least they push for and that voice has not been quiet. II.
Edward Kennedy defines the fight against tobacco in his article “The Food and Drug Administration Should Have the Authority to Regulate Tobacco Products. ” Senator Kennedy understands that the complete illegalization of tobacco products is out of hand currently, and the best option he has is to allow for the regulation through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This article utilizes the overwhelming impact that tobacco products and smoking have on the health of Americans and the dishonesty and the ignorant practices of the tobacco companies to prove why a regulation at the least is needed.
Kennedy details in this article the marketing techniques that tobacco companies use in their advertising to attract new smokers, the bent claims the the companies make and the concealment of information. Annually, the tobacco industry will promote its products using thirteen billion dollars. A large majority of that money is going for the crooked process to get children to try smoking and get hooked on it before they are even legally allowed to (Kennedy). With the seemingly infinite number of deaths from tobacco stated above, it is cruel that the companies would want this for children as well.
Without anymore advertisement than there currently is, four thousand children smoke for the first time this day which hooks twenty five percent of them (Kennedy). Tobacco companies have been proven to place claims on their products that hold false information, and they naturally conceal the true dangers of their products from the consumers. All of these wrongdoings show that there is a need for actions to be taken, and that action is a regulation. Kennedy also proves the need for an FDA regulation by showing the horrible health effects smoking has on people. Six million of the youth today will die from diseases tobacco has caused, and that is over four hundred thousand every year”. This number may be caused by “the nicotine in cigarettes being as addictive as hard drugs” (Kennedy). The levels are still on the rise and that is another reason why so many of the 40 million Americans hooked on cigarettes die (Kennedy). People against the regulation, Kennedy says, say that the “FDA should not regulate a product as dangerous as tobacco” (Kennedy). It is just the opposite, however, because such a dangerous product needs more regulation to make it less dangerous.
Something must be done, because “four hundred thousand deaths a year” and “four thousand new child smokers a day” is too high (Kennedy). Overall, this article did an excellent job of showing just why a regulation on tobacco is needed. The fight to regulate and ban smoking in the United States should be much easier than what it is. The youth of America are being educated on the dangers of smoking so often that they should never think to take a single puff of a cigarette, but still so many do.
As with countless other actions, the first step is the most important one, and the decision to try a tobacco product could hurt them for the remainder of their life. From that first step into the world of tobacco, the quality of the user’s life drops with each day. The tobacco companies will gladly accept this new victim into their deceitful world and clamp down on their life until it’s end. The terrible effects tobacco has on the human body, the highly addictive nature of cigarettes along with the harm from other chemicals, and the danger that cigarettes pose show reason that tobacco should be banned in the United States.
III. Ultimately, smoking and tobacco products have a devastating effect on the well-being of a human body no matter if an individual inhales one breath, or thousands of breaths from thousands of cigarettes. The short term effects are bad enough, but the long term effects rival those. The tobacco companies themselves do not even want to acknowledge these effects as they have shown in the past, and they are the creators of these problems. “Smoking cigarettes is linked to lung cancer and other types of cancer, heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, a decreased power of prescription rugs, and birth defects in infants” (Cousins). Smoking increases the user’s chances of having a heart attack and getting lung cancer. It is the top cause of lung cancer in the United States (Cousins). The lungs are not the only organ smoking affects, either. Links to cancer of the mouth, cancer of the larynx or cancer of the bladder have been found connected to smoking (Cousins. ) There is no winning with tobacco. Putting the extremely high numbers of chemicals into one’s body numerous times per day for many years cannot end happily. One-third of the deaths from cardiovascular disease, …, are caused by smoking,” writes Cousins about the other health problems of smoking (Cousins). If a smoker is fortunate and does not get cancer from smoking, they still have a much higher chance of having a heart attack in their future. While these ravaging events may not be fatal all of the time, they continually weigh down on the quality of a life a person is able to live. Smoking may affect the body’s ability to become healthy again from other health conditions or illnesses.
In “Smoke alarm,” the author demonstrates this by pointing out, “Some smokers require twice the quantity of certain drugs before they benefit from those drugs” (Cousins). Talking about presription drugs, it shows that the body takes more medicine to reach the healthy benefits of the drug. This means more quantities of the drug need to be used to obtain the same effects as in a non-smoker. Prescription drugs have side-effects, as all drugs do, so taking more of them increase the risk of having the side effects.
Tobacco enters all aspects of a smoker’s life and it should be banned because of the horrible health problems it causes the smoker. Furthermore, smoking has additional effects on women that prove its danger even more, and show reason for the necessity of a ban. The author shows this increased risk for women when he states, “… women smokers who use birth-control pills increase their chances of heart attack exponentially,” (Cousins). A ban on birth-control pills is highly unlikely, showing the solution for the problem being a ban on tobacco and smoking in order to protect women from these harmful effects from smoking.
Additionally, smoking during pregnancy has some adverse effects on the child as well as the effects it causes the smoker. The author illustrates the effects on the child when he says, “Pregnant smokers substantially increase the chances that they will miscarry, induce fetal birth defects, bear their infants prematurely and have babies of low birth weight. They increase the likelihood their newborns will die in the first month,” (Cousins). This means that a woman should not smoke on birth-control, which could lead to more preganancies.
If she smokes during her pregnancy, she raises her chances of having a miscarriage, have a child with birth defects, have her child too early and that are too small, or having her child die in the first month. Something needs to be done to stop smoking from harming more than just the individual who makes the decision to smoke, and the solution is making such a horrible product outlawed. The harmful chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco products are another reason why tobacco should be illegal. The staggering number of chemicals, some with no purpose other than harm, in cigarettes is disgusting.
A smoker inhales thousands of these chemicals with every puff, and many stay in the body as the author reveals, “about 1,200 chemicals–chemicals also contained in chimney smoke and auto exhausts–would remain,” (Cousins). The same chemicals found in cigarettes could be attained by inhaling the exhaust from a car, or from a chimney. A person might find that behavior odd, but it is the same as smoking a cigarette, and they continue that practice for years. One of these powerful chemicals is carbon monoxide.
This chemical is extremely bad for the human body as the author writes, “One dangerous compound found in smoke from all cigarettes, whatever the level of tar or nicotine, is carbon monoxide. This gas tends to “bump” oxygen from red blood cells and depletes the body of this vital element,” (Cousins). The vital element is oxygen, and humans need it to survive. There is no advantage to putting chemicals into a body that do the reverse the gains of one of the necessities of life. Perhaps the worst chemical in cigarettes and tobacco products, however, is nicotine.
Nicotine is the chemical in tobacco products that makes the user addicted to it both mentally and physically as Cousins notes, “Nicotine has been classified as an addictive or compulsive substance by growing numbers of scientists and institutions, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse,” (Cousins). With this chemical in cigarettes, the smoker finds it more and more difficult to quit smoking and that is a reason that such high numbers of Americans are reliant on cigarettes as Senator Kennedy writes, “Over forty million Americans are currently addicted to cigarettes,” (Kennedy).
With numbers this high, a ban must be put on tobacco. People are trying cigarettes when they are young, and nicotine works its black magic to keep them as lifelong customers as asserted in “TOBACCO WARS”, “‘Because of the addictive nature of nicotine, very few of those kids who became smokers in middle school and high school quit’ by college, said Henry Wechsler of Harvard University, the author of the study,” (“TOBACCO WARS”). Tobacco will not go away anytime soon as long as the tobacco companies want money, so serious and immediate action is needed.
The dangers that tobacco and smoking causes people does not stop with health effects. Cigarettes pose a great danger of fires and damage. Cigarettes burn very easily, and a simple misplacement of a burning cigarette butt can lead to unrelenting fires and astronomical numbers in property damage as Cousins describes when he adds, “Cigarettes cause 74,000 fires a year, in which 2,000 people die and 6,000 are burned. Aside from the midical costs incurred, the fires add $210 million to property damages alone” (Cousins).
This shows once again the tremendous financial cost of tobacco as well as humanly cost in lives and medical care. There is nothing safe about tobacco, and a ban must be put into place to give some safety back to citizens. Tobacco is the most deadly product legal in America today. Anyone can smoke cigarettes, and anyone over 18 can purchase them. The law does little to stop the spread of tobacco all around the nation, so the ultimate step must be taken. Tobacco must be illegalized because it causes too much harm to the user, the people around the user, unborn babies and to people from fires.
Without looking ahead to the future, the overwhelming high number of deaths is reason enough for taking action as mentioned in an article stating, “The deaths of more than 400,000 Americans each year, 160,000 of them from lung cancer, make a strong case for the prohibition of tobacco, and particularly of cigarettes,” (“An evil weed; Tobacco”). The education of this epidemic is not enough, it must be banned to save the lives of Americans and their children. IV. The largest opposition of a ban on tobacco and smoking is how it is such a great factor in the economy. Tobacco is a huge part of the agricultural industry in America.
It is heavily relied upon by many people as Cousins conveys as he states, “Tobacco is the country’s fifth-largest cash crop…. About 500,000 farm families are dependent on the continued success of this industry,” (Cousins). With half a million people dependent on the crop as well as the economy of a nation, it is impossible to deny the enormous impact the removal of this would have on the nation. Nonetheless, tobacco does far more harm than it does good. For the half a million families dependent on it, there are another half a million each year who lose a loved one due to tobacco and smoking.
There are other jobs out there that are not related to the deaths of so many, and those can be found easily. The help the tobacco companies do for the economy and the government is overshadowed by the spending in health care that the government must do to combat the detrimental effects that tobacco causes. So much money was needed to help the nation with their smoking-related health costs, that the government went back to the tobacco companies for help. An agreement in 1998 shows this as the article writes, “… the attorneys general of 46 states signed a historic agreement with tobacco companies. … he nation’s four largest tobacco companies will: pay $206 billion of 25 years to states to help pay for smoking-related health costs;” (“TOBACCO WARS”). Cousins shows the yearly cost of tobacco on health care in 1984 when he emphasizes, “The cigarette industry costs the nation about $27 billion for medical care (estimated by the American Cancer Society);… ” (Cousins). This shows that the health related cost and cost in human lives far outweighs the good that tobacco does for the economy of the nation. An additional argument against the fight for the illegalization of tobacco is that it is the choice of the user.
In the free country of the United States, the people should have the freedom of choice to do as they please with smoking. This free choice affects the safety of others who do not want to exercise this choice. Sidestream smoke is just as, if not more dangerous as inhaling directly from a cigarette. and people who have care for their health choose not to be exposed to this. The right to a safe environment is more important than a person’s right to smoke and Cousins compares this right to others as he notes, “… our freedom to do as we please has always been limited by our freedom to live in a safe society.
Because spitting can spread tuberculosis, we are encouraged not to spit in public places. We are not free to start gunfights” (Cousins). Tobacco should be made illegal because the freedom of choice to smoke puts others at risk, and the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness is compromised when this safe environment for men, women, and children who choose not to smoke is ruined. Moreover, an argument against the fight on tobacco is that a ban on tobacco will increase the number of fatal alcohol-related car accidents.
The reasoning is justified by research that shows that counties that introduce a ban on smoking in public places, have an increase in fatal alcohol-related car accidents. An article shows this claim in numbers when it states, “The researchers analysed data from 120 American counties, 20 of which had banned smoking. They found a smoking ban increased fatal alcohol-related car accidents by 13% in a typical county… ” (“Unlucky strikes; Smoking and drinking”). This increase in accidents shows the strength of the nicotine in cigarettes because the smoker’s go anywhere where they are permitted to have a cigarette.
While this number of deaths can not be ignored, it is still miniscule compared to the nearly half a million deaths that smoking causes nationwide in a year. The way to stop this accident increase is a complete ban on cigarettes, which will save them the trouble of driving far away to smoke, because it will not be permissible to do this action anywhere, as well as the trouble of future health problems that are nearly inevitable with smoking. The tobacco companies may claim countless items in the attempt to keep their product prospering in the nation, but they have not faced the facts.
The facts show that cigarettes create many other health problems, and no amount of economic help, free choice, or car accidents will stop these health problems from being an undeniable part of life for smokers and non-smokers. Tobacco and cigarettes must be made illegal to stop this terrible epidemic. V. Conclusively, the utter destruction tobacco and cigarettes cause on the bodies of millions of humans across America the world show beyond any doubt that this product must be outlawed. Cigarettes cause severe health problems like lung cancer, other cancers, heart disease and a much higher risk of heart attacks.
These effects account for almost half a million deaths in the United States each year. Cigarettes can increase the amount of medicine it will take to achieve the same effects in a non-smoker and in women it can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks when coupled with birth control pills. Smoking while pregnant can lead to birth defects, miscarriages, a premature birth or a low birth weight. Cigarettes contain deadly chemicals such as carbon monoxide which is found in car exhausts and nicotine which keeps a person addicted and coming back to smoke more and more cigarettes.
This means they are inhaling more and more of the other thousands of chemicals found in cigarettes. Outside the body, cigarettes are a fire hazard. Thousands of fires are started every year due to cigarettes and this leads to even more deaths and health care costs. Still people argue that cigarettes should remain legal. They claim that because tobacco’s status as the fifth largest cash crop in the United States and the fact that it supports thousands of families that it should remain legal. A product, however, that kills as many or more people as it helps is not beneficial for anyone.
Another argument they throw out is that it is the smoker’s choice whether or not they want to smoke. They are correct because people can choose to harm their own bodies if they want. Smoking interferes with more than just the user’s body though. People die from secondhand smoke as well as from the fires cigarettes cause, so the harm is not limited to only the user and compromises the safe environment of others. Finally, people who are against tobacco illegalization say that banning tobacco will increase fatal alcohol-related car accidents.
While the research shows that is true in the low number of places they sampled, it also reveals the power of nicotine and the need people have for smoking when they are introduced to this substance. The only way to stop this problem, and all of the monstrous health effects that smoking causes is to make it against the law. It is a simple fix for such a colossal problem that affects so many millions of people, and must be done immediately to save the men, women, and children held by the grasp of the devilish tobacco companies.