People are unconsciously embracing slow and painful death every single day. This is evident from the thousands of people who smoke cigarettes on a daily basis despite being warned and reminded that smoking is harmful and it kills. According to a report prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, currently, 42.1 million of American adults are smokers (Jamal et al.). Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that smoke-related illnesses accounts for around 480, 000 deaths annually in the United States, which makes cigarette smoking as the number one cause of diseases that is preventable (qtd. in Office and Smoking Health). Despite this, most people seem to find smoking too hard to resist, and this is understandable. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco has been ingrained in the society’s culture for the longest time. In fact, people used to believe that it can improve one’s health, which contribute to its popularity. Back in 1571, Nicolas Monardes, a Spanish doctor, claimed in his book about medicinal plants that tobacco can help cure 36 health issues while Thomas Harriet promoted the habit of smoking in 1588, believing that it’s a good way to get a daily dose of the supposedly “healthy” tobacco; ironically, he eventually died of nose cancer (Randall). However, years have passed and the society, little by little, became aware that what used to be believed about tobacco is not true. During the 1950’s, smoking cigarettes was categorically associated with the growing number of cases of lung cancer (Brandt 63). Given the fact that smoking is a habit that is not easy to forget and one that only brings suffering to a person in the long run, producing and selling cigarettes must be banned entirely. If this is done, the number of smoke-related illnesses and deaths will be greatly reduced, government will save a significant amount of money from health care cost, and the well-being of non-smokers and the environment will be protected as well.
First of all, smoke-related illnesses and deaths will be significantly reduced if the manufacturing and selling of cigarettes is banned. Almost every organ in the body is being harmed whenever a person smokes (“Health Effects”). For instance, it can cause cancer in the bladder, esophagus, blood, pancreas, cervix, colon and rectum, kidney and ureter, larynx, liver, stomach, oropharynx, trachea, and bronchus (“Health Effects”). Of course, the most popular of all the harmful effects of smoking cigarettes would be lung cancer. According to the U.S. Department of Health, most of the reported lung cancer cases are caused by smoking cigarettes; male smokers are 25 times more at risk of lung cancer while women smokers are 25.7 times more at risk of the same illness (qtd. in “Health Effects”). In the United States, this remains the leading cancer that causes death. CBC News reports that in 2011 alone, 156, 953 people died because of lung cancer. In fact, there are celebrity smokers who also suffered from the habit. For instance, Peter Jennings, a known TV reporter and heavy smoker died from lung cancer in 2005 while film and TV actors Lou Rawls and John Wayne, both smokers, also suffered the same fate earlier than Jennings (“10 Celebrities”). Now, more than ever, the society is very much aware that smoking can kill, but this doesn’t help them quit the habit. However, if there will be no cigarettes to smoke, they will have no other choice but to forget it. This will potentially save their lives from different kinds of diseases and more importantly, from death.
In addition, a total ban on production and selling of cigarettes will help the government save a significant amount of money on health care costs and other expenses. According to Xu et al., the United States spends around $170 billion for the cost of medical care of adults who suffers from smoke-related illnesses (5). In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that around $156 billion are lost because of impacted productivity, early death, and the effects of second hand smoke (qtd. in Office and Smoking Health). Clearly, smoking has become a financial burden to the society. What the government spends to support the health care needs of those who are affected by smoking are coming from the taxes that each people pay, whether they are smokers or nonsmokers. This means that even those who are not in favor of the habit are being robbed off their hard earned money just to support preventable conditions. With a total smoking ban, a big sum of money will be saved and may be allocated to the resolution of other societal or non-preventable health issues.
Lastly, the well-being of non-smokers and the environment will be improved and protected if smoking and production of cigars will be banned. The harmful effects of smoking don’t just concern smokers; even non-smokers may suffer from the consequences, too. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 700 children breathe smoke-polluted air, which contains around 250 harmful chemicals (“Why is Smoking”). A far more alarming fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is that exposure to secondhand smoke usually occurs at homes and workplaces. Another report by the CDC shows that in 2012 to 2011, two out of five children are regularly exposed to second hand smoke (Homa et al.). This means that smokers are putting not just themselves in danger, but also their family, especially the innocent children, who they should care for. Moreover, even the environment is not safe from the dangers of cigarette smoke. According to Legacy, an organization that studies and provides information about the impact of tobacco, around 280 billion cigarette butts end up in public places in the United States annually (“Cigarettes and the Environment”). These release toxic chemicals, like arsenic, lead, and many others, which are harmful to the ecosystem. These chemicals are poisonous and may potentially contaminate the water and harm the animals. If smoking will be totally banned, both non-smokers and the environment will be safer and protected against the dangerous effects of cigarettes.
In the end, the society must be more aggressive in fighting the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. This habit is hard to break because of the addicting nature of cigarettes and tobaccos, and this has been proven for so many years. However, no matter how addicting it may be, if the government will not allow cigarettes to be produced and sold, then, the smokers will have no choice but to quit the habit. If this will be implemented, there will be less people who will suffer from lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and other fatal illnesses. Also, the government will be able to save more from health care costs of people stricken with smoke-related illnesses. These savings may be contributed to the study and treatment of other health care issues that are not preventable or not self-induced, like Alzheimer’s diseases or dementia. In addition, there will be less innocent people, especially children, who will suffer health issues due to second-hand smoke, and the environment will be a lot cleaner because of the reduced pollution. By not allowing the production and marketing of cigarettes, the United States will definitely be a safer place to live in.
Brandt, Allan. “Inventing Conflicts of Interest: A History of Tobacco Industry Tactics.” American Public Health Association 102.1 (2012):63-71. Print.
“Cigarettes and the Environment.” Legacy. Legacy, 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
“Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking.” Smoking and Tobacco Use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 February 2014. Web. 19 June 2015.
Homa et al. “Vital Signs: Disparities in Nonsmokers' Exposure to Secondhand Smoke—United States, 1999–2012.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, 6 February 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
Jamal et al. “Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2005–2013.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, 28 November 2014. Web. 19 June 2015.
Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Smoking and Tobacco Use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 23 January 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
Randall, Vernellia R. “History of Tobacco.” Boston University Medical Center, Community Outreach Health Information System, 1999. Web. 19 June 2015.
Xu, X. et al. “Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2014): 1-8. Print.
“Why is Smoking an Issue for Non-Smokers?” World Health Organization. WHO, 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.
“10 Celebrities who Fought Lung Cancer.” CBS News. CBS Interactive Inc., 2015. Web. 19 June 2015.