I believe that tobacco and cigarettes should be banned from the United States. Smoking is one of the top causes of deaths that can be preventable, not just in America but all around the world. Of course, it does not seem dangerous at first but after continuous use of these things, they can be very harmful to you and your body. The smoke is also dangerous because not only does it damage your lungs from breathing it in but it also harms the lungs of those breathing in the smoke you exhale that are around you. They cause cancer and have major side effects that will live with you your whole life. My grandpa’s father actually died of lung cancer. He started smoking at the age of 12. Some people I know have even started smoking younger than that. Tobacco and the other ingredients in cigarettes are toxic for your body. They are addictive which causes your body to rely on the substance. It also costs a great amount of money when you add in how much you spend on them. It is overall a thing that is not good for you and your health and can end up being deadly.
Tobacco and smoking cigarettes have been around for ages. Back in the 1800’s – 1900’s everyone smoked and chewed tobacco. Leading towards the 2000’s is when scientists really began to look at how bad for you it really is. The tobacco crop was first acknowledged around 6,000 B.C. and was originally found in the Americas. In 1492, when Christopher Columbus first set foot on what is now the North American continent, he was greeted by Indians. They brought the explorers many gifts, one of those gifts being a dried-up leaf of a tobacco plant. Back in those days, Native Americans smoked the tobacco leaves for medical and religious reasons. The addictive plant was always around but it became very popular in the 1770’s, during the time of the Revolutionary War.
Tobacco was used by the revolutionaries to pay back the loans they were getting from France (Tobaccofreelife.org, 2018). Now, it is used as a variety of things, most commonly it is rolled into cigarettes and cigars and is smoked. It can also be used as something you can chew. In 1906 the government created a Food and Drugs Act. This was the first food and drug law and was used to tax people for buying these certain goods. In the original act there was no reference to tobacco. However, when it was revised in 1914, they added that tobacco only be included when used to cure, mitigate, or prevent disease. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 included jurisdiction in cases where the manufacturer or seller has made medical claims with their products. In 1953, Fairfax cigarettes manufacturer stated that these particular cigarettes prevented respiratory and other diseases. Then in 1959, Trim Reducing Aid Cigarettes had an addictive tartaric acid inside them which was said to aid people in losing weight (CDC, 2012).
The Federal Trade Commission act of 1914 (which was amended in 1940) states that it is to “prevent persons, partnerships, or corporations … from using unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce”. Then from 1945 – 1960 the FTC finished seven formal “cease-and-desist” order or proceedings for health and medical claims. An example of one of these claims is in 1942 there was a countering of claims that Kool cigarettes provide extra protection against illnesses and could even cure the common cold. This then caused a rule to be made about being stricter when regulating the imagery and copy of cigarette ads and the need to get rid of explicit or implicit health claims with the product (CDC, 2012).
It was not right to falsely advertise that a product can cure something or benefit your health wise when in reality they are not good for you. Many companies did not know that at the time. In 1960 came the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act and then eventually in 1965 they added Advertising onto it. This act required the package to have a warning label stating “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health” (other health warnings prohibited). It also prevents the states or local governments from regulating or agreeing to cigarette adverting being able to promote them for health-related reasons (CDC, 2012). There are more and more Acts and Laws that stem from these original ones, far too many to mention. This is a good sign because it shows that the public know that cigarettes and tobacco use are harmful and dangerous. In 2018 they have started to even make electronic cigarettes put on a warning label about addiction and nicotine.
Many people and children are thought to have begun smoking cigarettes due to peer influence or to “look cool”. Kids seem to try it because they see someone they know doing it. My father, Mike Squires, started chewing tobacco when he was 14 and started smoking cigarettes at age 16. He says he first decided to smoke because it was the thing to do back then, everyone did it. He was influenced by his dad and his brother who was 5 years older than him (Squires, 2018). Whenever his brother and all of his friends started experimenting with cigarettes my dad did also. It was what the “cool” kids were doing and he didn’t want to seem “lame”. My dad now smokes cigars but they are still not good for you. They still contain tobacco and hurt your lungs throat, nose, and your overall body/brain function.
When interviewing my dad, I asked him if he knew exactly what was in cigarettes and he didn’t. Actually, many of the worlds smoking population don’t know exactly what they are smoking and how harmful they can really be. Cigarettes only have 600 ingredients in them, however, when they are burned the smoke is a toxic mixture of over 7,000 chemicals not good for humans. 69 of those toxins have been known to cause cancer, which in most cases has ended up fatal (Scrub, 2018). If I went through the whole list of chemicals produced by the smoke this essay would be 100 pages long. There as been a large controversy on if cigarette companies should put their ingredients on the packaging and still to this day many of them don’t. Although even if they did, the labels still will not tell you how dangerous they are once you actually light them and the ingredients mix together.
With all these harmful chemicals and ingredients, you would wonder why people would smoke cigarettes. In cigarettes and chewing tobacco there is a substance called Nicotine. It is a drug that effects your body and brain. Once taken in, it makes your brain release adrenaline which then creates a “buzzed” feeling, gives you energy and pleasure (Markou, 2008). The buzz leaves quickly once felt which causes you body to feel tired and your mood to feel a little down. Your body wants to feel the buzz again thus continues to go back to the substance you were intaking before. The immediate side effects that hit your body depend on the dosage. A low dose of nicotine causes a reduction of activity in the nervous system and brain. It also increases your alertness and concentration almost like a burst of energy (Martin, 2008). Like I stated earlier, it gives you a buzzed sensation, a type of relaxation. My dad said that he does not feel a buzz but he does feel an overwhelming sense of calm, and begins to feel relaxed in stressed situations (Squires, 2018). The nicotine also increases your blood pressure and heart rate.
While doing this, it is limiting your blood flow to your fingers and toes, and decreasing your skin temperature. The cigarette and tobacco itself will cause bad breath, dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, headaches and coughing due to smoke irritation. It also causes a decrease in your appetite which can also make you sick. The high doses have the same side effects as the low doses except they are heightened because of the stronger intake. Confusion also becomes a part of it as well as a rapid decrease in breathing rate, seizures, and respiratory arrest (Martin, 2008). Your body can go into respiratory arrest when your lungs are over working themselves so you just stop breathing, which then ultimately leads to death.
The long-term effects are even worse. Tar coats the inside of your lungs and can cause lung and throat cancer. Your finger nails and teeth begin to have a yellow/ brown stain on them. Your whole body is running harder because it is not getting enough oxygen in which the brain, muscles, and heart need. All of this then leads the risk to a heart attack or stroke. You can develop eye cataracts and can lose the sense of smell and taste. Also, there are reports of losing the sense of hearing. Your teeth will eventually start decaying and you will experience shortness of breath, coughing, early wrinkles, heart disease, and back pain. Of course, you have even more risk of cancer in your nose, lip, tongue, mouth, stomach, and bladder. You can also get stomach ulcers. For women, can have a lower chance of fertility because of the damage to your insides and men can damage their sperm (ADF, 2012).
With all this information out there, there are still some people who say we should keep cigarettes and tobacco around because they are used to get off other habits. For example, a continuous drinker may decide to stay sober but instead of going cold turkey, he will smoke cigarettes to help take the edge off. People use cigarettes as a way to cope with stress. This has to do with the calming factor that the side effects give you. However, as I have said before that relaxing feeling is a temporary feeling, making you crave more which then causes you to smoke more. “People who quit smoking say that stress is the number one reason for relapse” (New Foundland Labrador, 2017). When actually smoking may cause more anxiety and tension within the body. In the effects mentioned earlier the cigarette actually causes your blood pressure and your heart rate increase which is actually something that happens to your body when you are in distress.
Your muscles become tense because of the lack of oxygen. And once this feeling of “relaxation” wears off, you will actually feel more stressed then you did before because your body will begin going through withdrawal. My father runs his own restaurant and stresses 24/7. He told me that when he stresses, he gets fidgety and needs to do something with his hands. So, he goes outside on a smoke break to relieve the stress and he did confirm that after the breaks his stress becomes more frequent and bigger. This then causes him to go on more and more smoke breaks. The only thing that keeps him from doing that is if he is constantly kept busy, then he has no time to stress let alone think because there is so much to get done. He does not notice the urge as much (Squires, 2018). There is no real evidence that cigarettes help with stress and get others off of other bad habits.
Everyone knows cigarettes and tobacco are harmful and deadly. One of the many reasons they still around is because of money. Because of the addictions, cigarette companies make a lot of revenue from continuous buyers. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that cigarette companies in the United States make close to $26 million dollars each day. This means the average smoker spends $29 a day on cigarettes and about $250 a year (CDC, 2017). In 2010 there was a count on how much the top six tobacco companies made throughout the year and the total number was $35.1 billion (Society, 2014). Squires stated when speaking with me that he spends at least $10 a week since changing to cigars, however, he does not smoke as often anymore and cigars are less expensive (Squires, 2018). Some of this money is being put back into the growing production, manufacturing and shipping of the product, as well as packaging.
The most part of the money is spent toward advertising. The government is also making a major profit off the cigarette market. At the end of the year 2010, the federal government made $25 million off cigarette taxes and the state governments made $10 million (Lauren, 2017). This is a money-making industry which is also why many people want to the toxic substance around. Companies and the government are taking in all the revenue from these addicted persons. But what the government need to realize is the health of their people matters more. In 2011, about 6 million people died from the continuous use of tobacco. This means that the tobacco companies real-in almost $6,000 in profit for every death that was caused by tobacco (Society, 2014).
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