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The Major Public Health Concern Of Tobacco

1780 words - 7 pages

The Major Public Health Concern of Tobacco

Now, more than ever, more and more people are beginning to look at tobacco use as a major public health concern. It is nineteen ninety nine, and the number of smokers is rising while the average age of smoking initiation decreases. There are those that believe using tobacco of any type should be illegal, or at least restricted. Others believe it is up to the person to choose whether to use tobacco products or not, however most of these people believe tobacco companies should warn their customers of their products harmful affects.
Tobacco has been used since before our nation was colonized. During the seventeenth century, many British settlers earned their living in America from tobacco. King James attempted to decrease the profit made by tobacco growers by imposing heavy tariffs on their tobacco crops. Tobacco use was very well established by this time however, so the taxes didn’t slow production or demand. Many countries at this time had prohibited or restricted use of tobacco. Harsh punishments for smoking tobacco were enacted in Russia, Turkey, and other countries, especially China where tobacco sellers were decapitated.
Cigarette smoking did not become popular until the late eighteen hundreds. Although the U.S. was not the first country to use cigarettes, in eighteen eighty three American James Bonsack developed a cigarette rolling machine. Where a skilled cigarette roller could roll about four hundred cigarettes per day, the cigarette machine could produce one hundred and twenty thousand. Mass production also caused the price of a pack of cigarettes to be cut in half.
With a “smoking epidemic” on our hands, it was only a matter of time before an anti-smoking movement erupted. Concerned citizens pressured for anti-smoking laws. Many states adopted strict policies, some less strict. In Wisconsin and Nebraska, possession of tobacco was illegal. All states banned the sale of tobacco to children.
Despite the prohibitions placed on tobacco in the eighteen nineties, by the first World War, negativity towards tobacco began to fade. The lack of scientific evidence that smoking was harmful at the beginning of the century, and the war effort increased the demand for cigarettes. People only suspected the addictiveness of Nicotine, but could not prove it. It was not until the mid nineteen fifties that smoking was linked to lung cancer and other illnesses. Also at this time, the Tobacco Institute was created. The Tobacco Institute is a lobby, or organization that seeks to influence lawmakers for their own benefit. Today in the nineties, tobacco is legal but restricted depending on where you go. Tobacco sales are restricted to minors, some places have banned vending machines, most have banned sale and use of tobacco in schools, and even more have prohibited the sale of single cigarettes, or free samples of cigarettes.
Arguments for tobacco
Since our nation was founded we have prided...

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