Tobaccouse is one of the major issues that draw much attention from lawmakers and the public. Whereas some people campaign against tobaccouse, others claim that people should be allowed to use the product ifthey deem it fit. According to Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (2014), approximately 42.1 million people use tobacco inthe United States. This accounts for 18.1 percent of adults.Likewise, it has been observed that more than 3200 children under theage of 18 use tobacco for the first time each day. Most people startusing tobacco before attaining the age of 18 years. It is estimatedthat 1 out of 5 teenagers and adults use tobacco. Further, 18 percentof high school male students use tobacco. Although tobacco smokinghas declined over the years, the number of people who use tobacco isstill high despite the campaigns against tobacco use. Statisticsreveal that tobacco use is responsible for many illnesses and deaths.In fact, tobacco use kills more people than homicide suicide,HIV/AIDS, alcohol, illegal drugs, and car accidents combined. Thefigures are dangerous and calls for attention. Tobacco use is adangerous practice that not only harms the user, but also theenvironment and other second hand smokers. Laws and regulationsshould be ensued to stop tobacco use ultimately.
Argumentsfor laws on tobacco use
Tobaccocontains millions of harmful products that many people are not awareof. Some of the most harmful products found in tobacco includeammonia (used for cleaning households), acetone (used to remove nailpolish), formaldehyde (used to preserve dead bodies), and cadmium(battery acid) among many others. These chemicals are absorbed in thebody of tobacco users leading to several types of diseases. In fact,tobacco use has been observed as the leading cause of dangerousdiseases that can be prevented. Each year, more than 480,000individuals die as a result of using tobacco. Out of these deaths,41,000 die from second hand smoke. Statistics further confirm thatthe country spends more than 289 billion dollars each year in tobaccorelated complications. 133 billion dollars goes directly to medicalcare and the remaining 156 billion dollars is lost through loss ofproductivity. Tobacco smoking is capable of harming almost all organsin the body and reduces the general health of smokers. It affects thegeneral physical appearance in many ways. For instance, it makes theskin look older, turns the teeth yellow, and causes the breath odor(Slama, 1995).
Tobaccosmoking causes 17 different types of cancer. The most prevalent typeof cancer caused by tobacco smoking is lung cancer, which accountsfor 90 percent of all lung cancer in both men and women. In fact,lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer. Other types ofcancer that can be caused by tobacco smoking include blood, cervix,colon, stomach, pancreas, trachea, liver, larynx, kidney, pancreasamong others. One of every three cancer related deaths are caused bytobacco smoking in the United States.
Tobaccosmoking affects the lungs in various ways. Smoke from cigarettedamages the lungs thereby affecting breathing. Smokers are at a greatrisk of acquiring chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that leads toshortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness among othersymptoms. Emphysema is another condition caused by smoking oftobacco. The walls between the lungs lose the ability to shrink andstretch making it difficult to breathe. The lining of the bronchialis also affected such that less oxygen flows into the lung. Otherrelated problems of the lungs include asthma, pneumonia, andtuberculosis.
Studiesreveal that tobacco weakens the immune system making smokers likelyto acquire infections (Arnson,Shoenfeld & Amital, 2010). Someof the diseases that tobacco smokers get as a result of reducedimmune system include rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.Likewise, tobacco is linked to diabetes. People who use tobacco are40 percent likely to become diabetic as compared to non smokers. Themore one smokes, the higher the risk of developing diabetes. Recentstudies have also revealed that tobacco use decreases the density ofbones. It increases the risk for osteoporosis, which is associatedwith bone weaknesses. Quitting tobacco use has been shown to improvethe condition of osteoporosis. It is also notable that the chemicalsfound in tobacco affect are absorbed by the blood hence, harmingbody cells. Some of the diseases associated with blood includeaneurysms and atherosclerosis. Cardiovascular diseases such as heartattack, high blood pressure, heart related chest pain, and coronaryheart disease are some of the diseases caused by tobacco smoking.
Diseasesand deaths culminating from tobacco use are totally preventable ifpeople were to quit smoking. Therefore, it is crucial for thegovernment to address this issue and come up with laws to stoptobacco use. The law will help to save many lives that are caused bytobacco smoking. It is ironical that tobacco is still legal despitethe main deaths it causes. In fact, illegal drugs such as marijuanaseem to have minimal effects as compared to tobacco smoking. As such,it is only prudent to come up with laws to prevent people fromsmoking tobacco (Royal College of Physicians of London, 2002).
Theother major reason why the government should come up with lawsprohibiting tobacco smoking is that it affects people who do notsmoke through second hand smoke. Whenever a person smokes, there is ahigh probability that they will affect non smokers. The smoke fromtobacco reaches people who are close to a person who is smoking. Eventhe smoke from smoking zones may reach people who may be passing by.Therefore, despite harming one’s body, tobacco smoking affects evennon smokers (Slama, 1995).
Secondhand smoke leads to a variety of illnesses such as lung cancer,stroke, and heart disease. It can also cause respiratory problems,osteoporosis, and Crohn’s disease. These conditions cause coughing,eye irritation, nausea, airway irritation, and shortness of breath.Specifically, second hand smoke increases the rate of heart diseaseand lung cancer by 25%-30%. Second hand smoke has over 4000 knowncompounds in which more than 40 of them are carcinogenic. Somecompounds may be mutagenic and pharmacologically active even thoughthey may not be smelt (Slama, 1995).
Thereis evidence that there are dangers of second hand smoke in variousplaces. Employees in work place are at a greater risk of second handsmoke, which increases cases of carcinogens in the body. There areseveral people who smoke in work places hence, high chances ofworkplace second hand smoke. Many people in work place do not go todesignated areas for smokers because of time. As such, they smoke intheir offices and others in the bathrooms. Some work places have poorventilation that retains smoke for a long time. This means thatpeople in workplace may inhale second hand smoke for a lengthy periodof time. The ventilations in work place may not be enough to letsmoke off the rooms. Since majority of people spend their time inwork place, they are at a high risk of second hand smoke.
Accordingto Ward,Lewis & Coleman (2007),second hand smoke affects children and pregnant women. Studies revealthat pregnant women who are exposed to second hand smoke are at ahigh risk of having underweight children and premature birth.Likewise, parents who smoke at home expose children to second handsmoke. This risks the health of innocent children who have no ideawhat tobacco smoking is. The problem is high for children who spendmost of their time indoors where ventilation may not be adequate.
Secondhand smoke is a violation of humans’ right to a healthy and cleanenvironment. Every person has the rights to live in environment thatdoes not damage one’s health. People who smoke seem to violate thisright because they spoil the environment of others. It is seeminglyunfair for a person to suffer because of the mistakes of others. Insome cases, non smokers may experience greater impacts than smokersdue to second hand smoke. Such people are forced to bear the burdensof medical bills due to an illness that was caused by someone else.Therefore, the government should put a strict law against tobaccosmoking as it affects not just the smokers, but also those who liveclose to smokers. It would only be wise for the government toimplement laws that would protect both tobacco smokers and nonsmokers from harmful effects of tobacco (Edwards,2004).
Tobaccouse is not harmful to people’s health, but also to the environment.Plastic filters, cigarette butts, and other remnants of cigarette arediscarded on the streets, natural environments, and other publicplaces. Some of the remnants are carried as runoff to rivers andfinally to the ocean. The filters of cigarette are made from nonbiodegradable materials and can persist in the environment forseveral months. Multiple litter studies confirms that cigaretteremnants contribute significantly to litter found in waterways andsubways. The litters comprises of up to 25 to 50 percent of litterfound on the streets and roadways. Smoking related debris accountsfor 38 percent of all debris collected from rivers, streams, andbeaches. This shows that tobacco contributes significantly toenvironment problems.
Tobaccowaste is regarded as toxic waste because it contains some poisonousproducts when ingested by living organisms. Therefore, when cigarettebutts are deposited in water bodies, they kill aquatic organisms suchas fish. According to a study, cigarette butts soaked in fresh waterkilled half of the fish at a concentration of one butt per litter.This shows that in high concentration, cigarette butts can killseveral organisms in water to unsustainable levels. In addition,slurries, paper, plastics, wood, solvents and other packagingmaterials pollute the environment. Tobacco production contributesmillions kilograms of hazardous wastes into the environment. It hasbeen rated 18thin the production of chemical wastes. Government spends a significantamount of money cleaning cigarette related wastes.
Inareas where tobacco is grown, trees are often cut to create more landfor tobacco crops. Around 6 million trees are cut down each year inproduction of tobacco. Tobacco farmers use an average of 3kgs of woodto cure tobacco. The most devastating effects of tobacco growing arethe physical destruction of forests and soil erosion. Further, theproduction of tobacco in semi arid areas where there are very fewtree can be devastating for the few trees available. This is becausetrees are cut to produce tobacco.
Productionof tobacco also contributes to climate change, which is regarded asone of the biggest issues affecting the environment today. Cuttingdown of trees for curing tobacco produces carbon dioxide thatcontributes to global warming. Likewise, trees absorb carbon dioxidein the air and thus help in eliminating green house gases that causeclimate change. It is also noteworthy that cigarette smoking producesmethane and carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change andglobal warming. Every year, tobacco smoking contributes to 2.6billion kilograms of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Likewise, itreleases approximately 5.2 billion kilograms of methane each year.
Tobaccosmoking is a major environmental problem. At all stages, tobaccoproduction and use contribute to climate change, which is recognizedas the biggest environmental threat in the planet today. Cuttingdown of trees to cure tobacco and smoking of tobacco all contributesignificantly to global warming and climate change. Further,cigarette butts are major causes of litters in the environment.Therefore, banning of tobacco smoking can help in mitigatingenvironmental pollution and global warming (White, 2009).
AgainstTobacco smoking Laws
Thereis a group of people who feel that tobacco smoking should not beprohibited or banned. This view claims that tobacco banning willcause a million of jobs of people who work in the tobacco industry.There are millions of tobacco farmers and employees in the tobaccoindustry. Likewise, distributors and sellers of tobacco relatedproducts will suffer a great deal. According to the UN’s Food andAgriculture Organization, tobacco consumption has increased overyears. It is also estimated that tobacco users will increasetremendously in the next twenty years. The assumption is that such adramatic increase would create more employment opportunities forpeople in the industry. This industry argues that legislativemeasures and regulations of tobacco smoking would lead to loss of jobopportunities. They also argue that ban of tobacco smoking willmislead buyers who might buy cheaper and smuggled cigarettes. Thetobacco industry claims that it adds value to the economic sector(Haustein & Groneberg, 2010).
Thetobacco industry states that in countries where tobacco smoking hasreduced over the years, many people have lost employment. On theother hand, in places where tobacco smoking is increasing, there aremore job opportunities. There are so many people and entrepreneursemployed in the tobacco industry. For instance, tobacco farmersbenefit greatly from tobacco industry. There are some tobacco farmerswho solely rely on it for survival. These farmers in turn employ manyother people who are involved in the primary production of tobacco.This is more so in the developing countries that rely heavily onagriculture for survival. This claim views that regulating tobaccowould lead to loss of jobs in the agricultural sector.
Likewise,companies that make and sell tobacco employ a lot of people. Thesecompanies have managers, junior employees, distributors, and manyother types of employees. Tobacco industry claims to employ thousandsof full time employees in distribution, retailing, and supplierindustries. It is claimed that there are distributors and suppliersthat rely only on tobacco products. The government also benefitsgreatly from tobacco through taxes. In fact, the tax for tobacco ismuch higher than other products. High tax means more funds for thegovernment to fund important projects in the country. This means thatnot just people who are employed in the industry that benefiteconomically, but also the government (Pampel, 2009).
Itis also indicated that banning of tobacco may lead to high cases ofsmuggling, which affects the international market. In fact, smugglingmay avail cigarettes to potential customers at a cheaper price due tolack of taxes inherent in clean trade. From this perspective, itmeans that regulating or banning tobacco may create another problemin the country and the international markets. Just as people smuggleother illegal products, so will they smuggle tobacco.
Theclaims about the economic impact of tobacco are refuttable. The WorldBank claims that instead of contributing to the economic development,tobacco industry creates a loss of 200 billion dollars annually. Itis true that there are several people employed in the tobaccoindustry however, this does not solve the problem of economicdevelopment through employment. The said job opportunities arepursued at the expense of the health of others. Many nations lose alot of money through tobacco related complications and loss ofproductivity. It has been noted that several people incur a lot ofmedical expenses catering for the diseases caused by tobacco smoking(Haustein & Groneberg, 2010).
Additionally,people spend a lot of money in buying tobacco daily. Generally,premium tobacco is quite expensive hence, people have to spend a lotof money on cigarettes daily. This is so especially for those who areaddicted and smoke about 10 pieces of cigarettes or more. Some ofthem may even neglect other luxuries in order to afford cigarettes.Usually, heavy smokers cannot go a day without smoking. They spendmoney that they would have otherwise used in buying food andaffording some luxuries. As such, tobacco smoking is a drawback tothe economic development. Some studies reveal that people who quitsmoking are likely to increase other job opportunities in otherindustries such as recreational and tourism because they can shifttheir spending to these sectors (Bearman, 2011). Money not spent ontobacco smoking does not disappear rather, it is spent in otherservices and goods that lead to creation of more jobs outside thetobacco industry. Some of the jobs claimed to be lost due to reducedused of tobacco, were actually lost through improved productivity andnot because of volume factors. The claim that there are people whoare dependent on tobacco industry is also not true. There are veryfew people who are committed to cigarette business fully (Pampel,2009).
Itis also imprudent to promote tobacco smoking at the expense of healthbenefits of individuals. In fact, it is not logic to promote jobsthat eventually lead to loss of money in medical expenses. For eachemployment in the tobacco industry, there are 140 deaths lost throughcigarette smoking related complications. Cigarette smoking has beenspotted as one of the largest contributor of preventable diseases inthe world today. It is more beneficial to have a healthy communitywithout the alleged jobs than to have a population of diseased peoplewho cannot even work. Several people today have dies to due toavailability and consumption of tobacco. The government should lookinto the issue keenly and decide whether to promote illnesses or helpa few individuals acquire jobs in the killer industry.
Itis evident that tobacco smoking has negative consequences on thehealth of individuals and the economy in general. There are millionsof people who smoke tobacco without knowing the dangers they arebeing exposed to. Statistics reveal that smoking of tobacco causesmore deaths than any other factor today. Therefore, the governmentshould formulate laws prohibiting or banning the use or sell oftobacco. The claim that tobacco industry employs several people andboosts the economy is not true. In any case, tobacco lowers theeconomy of any country through tobacco related diseases andcomplications. Further, it is the right of people to live in ahealthy environment free from pollution. The facts that tobaccosmoking pollutes the environment and causes environmental degradationare more reasons why tobacco laws should discourage tobacco smoking.It is the duty of law makers to make the best decisions based on thewellbeing of individuals and the country at large. The best decision,in this case, is to completely ban tobacco smoking and make itsconsumption illegal (Warner & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,2006).
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