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Cigarette Smoking: The Slow Killer Essay

1016 words - 4 pages

Recently American people have become obsessed their health. While most people are constantly worrying about the dangerous consequences of obesity, many have forgotten about the United States' highest actual cause of death, smoking. In a 960 page Surgeon General's report entitled, The Health Consequences of Smoking, Dr. Richard H. Carmona highlights that 440,000 Americans die annually from cigarettes. Smoking is also responsible for a plethora of other health problems such as cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and asthma. So why, with the knowledge of these things do over 46,000,000 Americans continue to smoke (CDC 1)? Some say it's the addiction to nicotine, others testify that it relieves stress. Whatever the habit is, this essay will reveal the truth about America's tobacco abuse, and attempt to illustrate some of the hazards of smoking.Addiction is defined by Merriam Webster's dictionary as " the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance"(M-W 1). Though most people would not say they would die without cigarettes, some claim they smoke because the "cigarettes are their friend" (Dean 1). Of the many excuses, experts have found one thing to be true, the oily substance with the formula C10H14N2 called nicotine is highly addictive in the same sense that other hard drugs are (Whyfiles 1). While many tobacco companies have disagreed and fought the idea that cigarettes are addictive, the FDA recently established with the anti-tobacco campaigners that one does form physical and mental dependency on nicotine (Liggett 1).Despite the rules many agencies and organizations have created about the distribution of tobacco products to minors, many smokers begin their habit while in their pre-teens. Almost 34.7 percent of teens smoke in high school (CNN 2-3). Kids are often attracted to the idea of smoking because of their role models and or peers. Studies show that "four out of five teenagers smoke their first cigarettes with friends."(Lang 28) Here, one addict explains a childhood story in his journal "Cancer Sticks Are too Good"(1-2):...My love affair with nicotine began when I was 12. My friends and I would run down to the grocery store and buy or steal [cigarettes]... Then we would sit on my porch for hours getting high on the bursts of nicotine...While many people smoke for social acceptance, some claim that smoking demonstrates their rebellion and independence from others. In another example this man gives one reason why he still smokes, and what made him start ("Cancer Sticks Are Too Good" 2)....At least SOME people find [smoking] attractive, like me for instance. When I see a beautiful woman smoking I get tingles up and down my spine. Smoking is so sexy and so suave and so fun and so cool...Smoking begins as an aesthetic attraction, and one develops an addiction to the nicotine. Most kids are naïve about the consequences and struggles that adults encounter because of smoking, so they begin at a young age harming their health.Although...

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