It Is In The Government’s Interest To Encourage Smoking. Discuss.

1652 words - 7 pages

Laura Howe 12STK Feb ‘05

It is in the government’s interest to encourage smoking. Discuss.

Since early in the twentieth century the evidence for the detrimental
health effects of smoking has increased steadily. With the awareness
of the health consequences of smoking, the proportion of smokers
dropped and the evidence for the health benefits of smoking cessation
began to accumulate.

It is widely know that smoking increases the risk of at least 50
different medical problems, from cancer and heart disease to digestive
problems and dementia. Some of these conditions may be fatal, while
others could do immense chronic damage to a person's health. It is
estimated that about 30,000 people in the UK die from lung cancer each
year and more than 8 in 10 cases are directly related to smoking. (3)
Other cancers, e.g. of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, gullet
(oesophagus), pancreas, bladder, blood (leukaemia), and kidney are all
more common in smokers. Stroke is a leading cause of death and
disability, and it is also associated with cigarette smoking. When
comparing former smokers with current smokers the overall risk of
stroke was 1.17 and it tends to decline with increased duration of
abstinence. The risk of aortic aneurysm and peripheral artery disease
also decreases with duration of abstinence. (4).

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is also thought to cause About
25,000 death in the UK each. More than 8 in 10 of these deaths are
directly linked to smoking. The chemicals in tobacco can damage the
lining of the blood vessels. This increases the risk of atheroma
forming (sometimes called 'hardening' of the arteries). Atheroma is
the main cause of heart disease. It is also the main cause of strokes,
peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation of the legs), and
aneurysms (swollen arteries which can burst causing internal
bleeding). All of these atheroma related diseases are more common in
smokers. (3)

Emphysema is the one of the most common disease related to smoking
with 1 in 4 developing the disease. Emphysema obstructs the airways
affecting the bronchioles and alveoli. Cilia are immobilized for
several hours and stimulate mucus, which begins to block the airways.
The alveolar walls are destroyed because the disease causes them to
enlarge permanently. It also reduces the amount of elastase inhibitors
in the lungs. The lungs have a substance called elastin to make the
walls stretch and not snap; this has an enzyme called elastase to stop
the production of this to ensure too much is not made. But this also
needs to be controlled, this is done with the aid of the protease
inhibitor, but with emphysema, this inhibitor is less and so the
elastase is more, meaning little tears in the walls of the lung are
created.

Despite this, the government has not taken...

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