SURGEON GENERALS WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy. Cigarette smoking has been proven to be hazardous to your health. It wasn t until 1964 that the actual truth came out about cigarette use. From the years 1952-1956 Kent brand cigarettes was allowed to use a filter containing asbestos. Cigarette ads were allowed on television up until the year 1971, and it wasn t until 1979 that it was discovered that women smokers could cause major damage to the fetus if they are pregnant. In 1964, the annual Surgeon General s Report On Smoking And Health reported an overwhelming association between smoking and early death from lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and all other chronic diseases (Payne 2). Smoking has been proven to cause many life threatening problems, therefore cigarette use should not be tolerated.
The number one killer of smokers is heart disease (Bailey 135). Not only that but also, Cigarette smoking accounts for 30% of all heart disease deaths (Kim and Saltzberg 1). Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke causes the amount of cholesterol clogging the arteries to rise dramatically. Smoking also makes the walls of the arteries harden which increases the chance for the artery to rupture. Another drug in cigarettes, nicotine, causes your blood pressure to rise, your heart rate to rise, and your heart increasingly requires more oxygen to keep pumping.
Along with heart disease, smokers are afflicted with life threatening cancers. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of cancer of the lips, tongue, salivary glands, mouth, larynx, esophagus, and middle and lower pharynx (Kim and Saltzberg 2). Stomach cancer has also been found to be directly related to cigarette smoking. Another cancer that is related to smoking is bladder cancer. In addition to these, leukemia is also directly related to cigarettes. Smoking is responsible for 30% of all cancer-related deaths. The carcinogens contained in tobacco smoke attach themselves to the DNA of the smoker. These carcinogens cause damage to the DNA, which in the long run can cause life-threatening cancer (Bailey 138-139).
There are approximately 53,000 deaths every year as a result of secondhand smoking in the United States alone. Passive smoking kills one nonsmoker every six and a half minutes (Bailey 166). The effects of tobacco smoke are just as bad, and maybe even worse in nonsmokers as they are in smokers. The smoke that comes off of the end of the cigarette has been found to be much more harmful than that of the smoke that the smoker is actually inhaling. The particles coming off of the end of the cigarette are smaller and therefore they go deeper into the lung tissue and cause much more damage. When a nonsmoker marries a smoker, the risk of the nonsmoker getting lung cancer and/or heart disease is doubled (Kim and Saltzberg 3). When parents smoke, or have their small children around someone who does smoke, then they are putting their children at great risk. Infants and small children have very tender tissues; therefore they are obviously going to be more susceptible to passive smoke.
Anyone familiar with botanical insecticides knows that nicotine is a good one. It is sprayed on plants as a freebase concentrate spray. It kills aphids, but it also can kill the person doing the spraying. The lethal dose of nicotine is ten times less that of pyrethrum or rotenone, making it one of the most toxic insecticides (Bailey 76).
Nicotine is and should always be considered a drug by all people. It is only second to alcohol as the most abused drug. Each cigarette that is smoked contains anywhere from 6-8 mg of nicotine (Kim and Saltzberg). Nicotine is the only addictive drug in cigarettes, but that is all it takes since it is a very addictive drug. A regular smoker has a psychologically, physical, and/or social need for nicotine. There is a persistent craving in all smokers for the nicotine drug.
The younger people start smoking, the more likely they are to become very addicted to the drug nicotine. Many tobacco companies have been accused and been found to target some of their ads toward the underage smoker. Research has found that out of all of the people who smoke, 80% started before the age of 21. Smoking in the teenage population starts usually around grade 6 and almost 75% of teenagers who smoke now started around grade 9, according to a study done in 1986 (Kim and Saltzberg 2). Young people who smoke are all around in worst shape than that of the nonsmoking teens. Their resting heart rates are two to three times faster than those of nonsmokers.
Teens who smoke are three times more likely than nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine. Smoking is associated with a host of other risky behaviors, such as fighting and engaging in unprotected sex (CDC. Preventing tobacco use among young people 36, 104).
Smoking is associated with poor health among young people, and can be associated with mental health problems such as depression.
Almost all smokers regret the day that they ever started, but now they cannot quit. It is a disease that begins in childhood, and runs all through the smoker s life if you do not do something about it. People continue to smoke because of that infamous drug, nicotine. If parents smoke there is a greater chance for their children to smoke. If the children smoke, then there is a greater chance that they will die of a smoke related disease. Cigarette smoking should not be tolerated.