Ban SmokingAlthough smoking is a proven killer, Americans waste hundreds of dollarseach year on tobacco products. Other drugs that are harmful, such as crack ormarijuana, are illegal in the United States. However, the use of cigarettes,which kills millions worldwide annually, is perfectly legal.
If certain harmfulsubstances are illegal, then cigarettes should not be permitted either.Smoking has several harmful effects on the body. Cigarettes causeeighty-five percent of lung cancer and are responsible for thirty percent of alldeaths resulting from cancer. (Bartecchi, 49) People who have smoked for asignificant period of time will have noticeable problems breathing and will mostlikely be in poor health. One out of four deaths of people thirty-five to sixty-four years old result from smoking. On the average, every cigarette takes fiveand a half minutes of life away from a smoker.
(Bartecchi, 46) Althoughrestrictions have been placed on the use of cigarettes in public areas such asrestaurants and airplanes, the US has yet to place a ban on smoking. Thegovernment frequently inspects items sold to the American public. Commercialproducts that may be dangerous such as food, cars, and toys have been recalledin order for alterations. In the August 1995 issue of consumer reports, twenty-four products were recalled because of possible dangers to the consumer. Theseproducts included a car that may lose a wheel while in motion, a hair dryer thatposes a fire hazard, and cookies that can cause an allergic reaction. (ConsumerReports, 500) Yet, the sale of cigarettes, known to be unsafe, has never beenprohibited by the government.
Why are cigarettes any different from otherproducts sold in the US.Cigarettes are not only harmful to users, but are also damaging to allpeople in the vicinity of a smoker. Second hand smoke from cigarettes is just asdamaging as smoke inhaled by users. Each year, 53,000 people die from theeffects of second hand smoke. A person living with a spouse who smokes has athirty percent higher chance of getting lung cancer.
(Bartecchi, 49) Parents whosmoke force their children to breathe the fumes every day. Seventeen percent oflung cancer is attributed to people who grew up with parents who were smokers.Children of smokers have a lower birth rate and are often less intelligent.(Bartecchi, 49) People who have chosen to smoke have accepted the unhealthy riskof the drug. However, nonsmokers have not opted for the hazards involved withsmoking and therefore should not be introduced to these hazards.
The governmenthas chosen not to place a ban on a drug that puts even the nonusers at risk tohealth problems. People who do not smoke must always be wary of toxic cigarettefumes that may be in their presence.Most people are aware of the health risks involved with smoking. Forthis reason cigarette manufacturers have invested much of their advertisingcampaign to the most uninformed segment of the population, minors. The averageage to start smoking in the US is fourteen and a half years old. Ads such as thecartoon character Joe Camel, A camel who rides a motorcycle in the presence ofattractive women, are obvious gimmicks to attract children and teenagers.
Beforethe appearance of “Joe Camel”, Camel cigarettes made six million dollars fromsales to minors. However, just two years after the first appearance of thecartoon character, sales of Camel cigarettes to minors rose to $476 million. Ina recent study, just as many six year old children recognized “Mickey Mouse” as”Joe Camel.” (Bartecchi, 47-48) Thousands of minors become addicted tocigarettes every year, posing health problems later in life. The US should notallow the sale of a product aimed at harming our children.Cigarettes cause health problems in smokers as well as nonsmokers. Theyharm adults as they do youth.
Although smoking has only negative effects on thebody, the use of cigarettes is legal while other drugs are banned. Most productsproven dangerous are banned or recalled. Cigarettes should be no different.