Nathan, a Native American and member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, never smoked cigarettes. For 11 years, he worked at a casino that allowed smoking. Secondhand smoke contains dangerous chemicals. The exposure to secondhand smoke caused him to develop allergies and serious infections that triggered asthma attacks, eventually causing permanent lung damage called bronchitis. “The casino was filled with smoke from so many people smoking,” he said. Breathing in other people’s smoke on a daily basis made his health so bad that he had to leave that job.
Nathan used to be active and athletic. He served in the Marines. He loved to participate in tribal dances. After getting sick, dancing just a few steps wore him out. Nathan hoped that sharing his story would help others understand how dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke really is. Nathan’s lung damage led to his death on October 17, 2013. He was 54.
How do you feel when you pass by a person whose smoking and you get caught in the smoke? I’m assuming it’s not pleasant. Cigarette, a long cylindrical roll of tobacco has been smoked by men for centuries. However, due to the fact that it has been the cause of several debilitating diseases, there have long been calls for it to be banned. In recent times, the calls for a total ban on cigarette smoking especially in public places have become more strident. Yet, there are many that feel that a ban on cigarette smoking would be out of place. What are the facts? Should cigarette manufacturing and smoking be banned outright?
The Health Hazards commonly associated with Cigarette Smoking
Did you know, “Scientific studies show that smoke from a neighboring apartment can travel through ventilation systems, pipes, walls, open windows and doors, and electrical sockets” (TOBACCO FREE CA). Cigarette smoking is known to cause several devastating diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, oral cancer, high blood pressure, and birth defects among women who smoked during pregnancy. Cigarettes are also known to cause frequent fire outbreaks in homes. Governments all over the world have either proposed or are already implementing a range of measures designed to cause a downward slope in the consumption of cigarettes. Such measures include increased taxation on tobacco products, bans on advertisement, increase in the size of areas where smoking is prohibited, and the promotion of an outright ban on its production and consumption.
“Smoking causes more deaths in the U.S. each year than alcohol use, firearm-related incidents, HIV, illegal drug use, motor vehicle incidents combined” (Seymour, 3). Cigarette smoking is known to kill about half of the smokers, reducing their life spans by about 14 years on the average and killing 6 million people worldwide every year. In the United States, 400,000 smokers die yearly from smoking related diseases and a further 50,000 non-smokers from passive or second hand smoking. In China, about 1.2 million people die yearly from smoking cigarette. Cigarettes contain about 7000 ingredients including nicotine which is very addictive and almost 70 of those ingredients are carcinogenic.
Arguments for and against Ban on Cigarette Smoking
The case for an outright ban on cigarette smoking seems to be very strong. However, there are those who argue to the contrary. Those who argue against a ban on cigarette smoking propose a range of arguments such as cigarette not being the only consumable that is lethal to human life. They say that junk food is also carcinogenic and that a ban on cigarette smoking should also mean a ban on fast-food restaurants that sell junk food. Equally, they argue that the right of smokers to choose what they consume will be compromised by a ban and that public warnings as to the dangers of smoking should suffice. Some argue that guns, alcohol and exhaust from car engines and industrial pollutants are equally as damaging to human health as cigarettes and should also be banned in the event of a ban on cigarette smoking. Yet others insist that tobacco industry creates jobs and revenue for governments.
Some go as far as insisting that cigarette smoking has not been proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be the cause of lung cancer. The tobacco industry generates about 35 billion US dollars in the United States and tobacco industry chieftains are known to wield considerable influence on government thereby blocking many of the moves targeted at either reducing the scale of production and consumption of cigarettes or placing an outright ban.
Each smoking ban leads to a decrease in the number of cigarettes. With every banning law more and more smokers make a decision to quit altogether. In accordance with the information provided by the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center representatives, the number the brain receptors that are longing for nicotine increase from the inhalation of tobacco. Once the number of receptors begins to decrease the need to have “just one more cigarette” decreases too, which, in turn, results in no smoking. All the bans also give smokers one more reason to quit smoking for it is really inconvenient to spend hours searching for a place where smoking is allowed.
Cigarette smoking should be prohibited since it is the primary cause of preventable diseases as well as premature deaths all over the world. The cigarette smokers suffer the impacts of such acts do to their choice. However the cost incurred by the public as well as the non-smokers who suffer due to secondhand smoke should not be the case as these activities can be avoided. No matter how strong the arguments of those that oppose outright ban on cigarette smoking, the hard facts are that cigarette smoking kills an unacceptable number of people yearly and the argument that it is within the rights of smokers to choose to smoke is rather mute considering the fact that cigarette smoking kills thousands of non-smokers as well from second-hand smoking. Therefore, an outright ban on cigarette smoking seems to be logical.