Transforming Vain Danger: Second Hand Smoke And The Abject

2166 words - 9 pages

Coughing, wheezing, and faint cries of an infant; all are sounds of children affected by their parents’ terrible habit: smoking. Secondhand smoke affects everyone nearby, everyone breathes in those horrible chemicals found in cigarettes. What a smoker does to themselves is a personal matter, but what they do to a non-smoker is different. New laws in Texas can help protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke, as well as the harmful effects it causes. Secondhand smoke has many classifications, a well known term being Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS. There are two compounds of secondhand smoke; one is side-stream smoke. Side-stream smoke or SS smoke is the smoke coming from the lighted end of a ...view middle of the document...

A little before 1964, there were smokers everywhere, in theaters, airplanes, and offices. More than half of America were smoking in public place. This all changed when in 1964 when Surgeon General, Luther Terry, linked smoking to cancer. After this discovery there was a law stating every package of cigarettes had to have a warning label: “Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous in your health” (“Facts about Secondhand Smoke”). In 1971, smoking ads and commercials were then banned from TV. Surprisingly this was the year in which smoking production had an increase (Kittleson 33). We went from banning ads, to suppressing smoking in public areas, California was the first state to do this. What started out as a campaign to keep people from smoking, turned into a restriction of smoking in industry revenues. California proved that establishments could still thrive without the use of a “smoking” section and decrease a nonsmokers exposure to secondhand smoke all at once. After California passed a restrictive law, many states started adopting the same idea. To date, there are 47 states that prohibit or restrict smoking in public areas. Seventeen of these states have laws that either penalize the smoker, the restaurant, or both. Five only punish the restaurant and five penalize the smoker. An immense amount, seventy-one percent, of state laws restrict smoking and appoint an enforcement authority (Boyle, Gray, Henningfield, et al. 289). So why did tobacco become a huge problem for the majority of the United States? And what exactly is tobacco?
Tobacco contains around 7,000 different chemicals and about 69 of them are know to be a cancer causing agent in humans. More than 250 are known to harm humans but have no direct link to cancer (“Secondhand Smoke”). The components of smoke are known as mutagens and compounds, toxicants, or tumorogenetics. Many of the ingredients in cigarettes are known to cause cancer, disease, and tumors (Giovanni 230). Secondhand smoke contains cancer causing chemical which are extremely toxic. A few of these are Formaldehyde, Benzene, Polonium-210, and Vinyl Chloride. This ingredients are usually used to to embalm dead bodies, are found in gasoline, is radioactive, and used to make pipes. Toxic metals that can cause cancer, damage the brain and kidney’s, and can cause death are also found in secondhand smoke. These toxic chemicals consist of Chromium, used to make steel; Arsenic, used in pesticides; lead, was once used in paint; and Cadmium, used in making batteries. The list does not stop there. Secondhand smoke also contains poison gases that can affect heart and respiratory functions, burn the throat, lungs, and eyes, cause unconsciousness, and cause death. These gases consist of Carbon Monoxide, normally found in car exhaust; Hydrogen Cyanide, used in chemical weapons; Butane, used in lighter fluid; Ammonia, used in household cleaners; and Toluene, this has recently been found in paint thinners (“Facts about Secondhand...

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