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Smoking: Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of Health

1121 words - 4 pages

SMOKING: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of HealthIn April 1976, Calvin Russell Thompson II, or Rusty, my first nephew, died. He was 2 months old. His death was attributed to Sudden Infant Death syndrome (SIDs).In September 1977, Katherine Loy-Richardson, my Aunt Kat, died. She was 52. Her death was attributed to breast cancer.In February 1995, Rufus Loy, my father, was diagnosed as having cancerous growths in his throat and left shoulder. He underwent radical cancer therapy which included the removal of several lumps from his throat, the removal of portions of his jawbone and collar bone and intensive radiation treatments to destroy an inoperable tumor on the left side of his brain. This tumor could not be eradicated. On April 20 1995, my father died. He was 54 years young.Three deaths which have been attributed to different causes, but have TWO very obvious connections. Those connections are the family relationship and presence of tobacco smoke in each of their environments. Tobacco smoke kills. Today I will present some information about both active smoking and passive smoking which will reaffirm you as a non-smoker, and redouble your efforts to live in a smoke free environment. Let's begin with the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States, smoking.According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 419,000 American deaths are directly attributable to smoking each year, making it the most preventable cause of death in our society (1:). There are three major considerations each person must be aware of before lighting up their next cigarette. Consideration one: Smoking will cause a terminal disease eventually, as every smoker knows. This warning is not new; smokers have been taking the warnings in stride for many years despite irrefutable medical evidence that serious, life-shortening illnesses are caused by smoking. According to the ACS, smokers risk losing an average of 25 years of life, and smoking is responsible for 87% of all lung cancer deaths in the United States each year (1:). Consideration two: The fiscal cost, in both human suffering and tax dollars according to the ACS, is that each pack of cigarettes sold to a smoker costs every American tax payer more than $3.90. This money covers the expense to provide for the catastrophic medical expenses and lost productivity of disease stricken individuals. Current US Congressional investigations indicate that one hundred twenty-seven billion dollars are lost each year due to smoking related costs (3:8). That's enough money to buy approximately one hundred B-2 Stealth bombers. The third consideration: Smokers now have to accept the additional burden that their high risk behavior is affecting people who inhale their by-products. New information is providing proof that their smoke is our smoke. In other words, the second hand smoke, or Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS), associated with the burning tobacco affects the health of all who breathe the foul air. Smokers can no longer...

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