Tobacco: Deadly, Addictive, and Environmentally Hazardous
"It has been conservatively estimated that regular smokers of cigarettes sacrifice 7 years of life. If one divides the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime on average into this 7 year loss, it turns out to be 5 ½ minutes for each cigarette." (Petty 1). This fact should sound astounding to anyone. Tobacco use has a huge effect on society. Tobacco is a known killer and there needs to be something done about this issue. Because it is common knowledge that tobacco causes death, is highly addictive, and pollutes the environment, tobacco products should be illegal.
The American Cancer Society estimates that cigarettes are responsible for more than 430,000 deaths in the United States each year. Lung cancer accounts for about thirty percent of all cancer deaths, and smoking accounts for nearly ninety percent of lung cancer deaths. "Lung cancer morality rates are about 23 times higher for current male smokers and 13 times higher for current female smokers compared to lifelong never-smokers." (Tobacco 1). Smoking causes a fivefold increase in the risk of dying from chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and a twofold increase in deaths from diseases of the heart and coronary arteries. Smoking also increases the risk of stroke by fifty percent. Research shows that mothers who smoke give birth more frequently to premature or underweight babies. This is caused because of a decrease in blood flow to the placenta. Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome. (Cigarettes 1). Death by cigarettes is extremely preventable.
The ways in which tobacco smoke affects the human body have been studied intensely. Recent findings may explain why cigarettes are addictive. Nicotine is the drug in cigarettes that causes an addiction. Nicotine over stimulates the brain's reward system, the same way cocaine and heroine do when used. "This activity increases levels of sundry neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and seratonin, inducing pleasurable feelings. Most drugs over activate the circuit so that addicts in danger will often turn to one or several substances." (Leutwyler 2). The US surgeon general declared nicotine an addictive drug, comparable to other addictive substances in its ability to induce dependence. The report also called the monetary and human costs far greater than those attributed to cocaine, alcohol, or heroine. Recent evidence supports this claim, indicating that overall morality attributable to tobacco smoking is about twenty times the morality due to all other addictive drugs combined. (Encarta 5). The habit and addiction to nicotine usually begins at an early age. In the US, more than 70 percent of adults who smoke began smoking before the age of 18. This fact has led to particular concern over smoking in teenagers and young adults. From the early to mid 1990s the...