Smokers Guilt 

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As a father I am tested every day when it comes to the safety and well-being of my six-year-old daughter. With so many elements of information given to us in the current ‘digital era’, it is easy to become paranoid and obsessive when it comes to the well-being of your offspring. Over time, law makers have made incredible strides to insure the welfare of our nation’s youth in the fight against child abuse, endangerment, and misconduct; bringing a small ease to parents. In result, more and more children are saved from the horrific possibilities that could have very well impacted their lives into adulthood in a negative way. On May 17th of the year 2018, the state of New Jersey plans on taking an even larger leap into child safety with a bill that, if passed, will prohibit the free-dom of smoking in an enclosed motor vehicle with a child present (New Jersey Legislature). As a smoker myself, I am a parent first so I am in agreement with the passing of this bill, as should any parent that truly cares about their child’s future health and well-being.

Secondhand smoke is the inhalation of smoke that a smoker breathes out from the burning cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. “It contains about 4,000 chemicals. Many of these chemicals are dan-gerous; more than 50 are known to cause cancer” (Healthy Children). Whenever children inhale secondhand smoke they are exposed to these toxic chemicals. Even for non-smokers, breathing in another person’s smoke can still be extremely dangerous. “Secondhand smoke causes about 3,000 deaths from lung cancer and tens of thousands of deaths from heart disease to nonsmoking adults in the United States each year” (Healthy Children).

Everyday civilians are breathing in ‘secondhand smoke’ anywhere from school to their own homes. Secondhand smoke can be especially harmful to your children’s health because their lungs still are developing. If you smoke around your chil-dren or they are exposed to secondhand smoke in other places, they may be in more danger than you realize. Children whose parents smoke only outside are still exposed to the chemicals in secondhand smoke. The best way to eliminate this exposure is to quit.

Regulations, throughout history, have become more and more restrictive in effort to cause awareness to its negative effects on the human body. There are people that doubted the abundance of scientific findings that have surfaced in history but with the advancement of technology and re-search the facts have become cemented and indisputable. Still, in despite of scientific findings peo-ple still decide to smoke, at their own risk, across the world. The issue of smoking becomes a larg-er concern when a person is exercising their right to ‘indulge’ and his/her smoking starts to affect the environment of the non-smokers that they may be sharing their space with.

Medical studies have determined that secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and lung cancer, has effects on the cardiovascular system, and causes sudden infant death syn-drome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear infections, and asthma attacks in children. The American Lung Association stated that, “Secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 deaths from lung cancer and 33,950 deaths from heart disease each year” (American Lung Association).

Some smokers will bring up the fact that tobacco, though harmful, is completely legal and they should be able to smoke as they please and where they please. This way of thinking is com-pletely absurd and dangerous. In 2016, out of 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years, 214 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver (Center of Disease Control and Prevention). Secondhand smoke causes almost 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers. Subsequently, you are better off letting your child get in the car with a drunken Uber driver than expose them to constant secondhand smoke from cigarettes (Cen-ter of Disease Control and Prevention). Practicality is also a raised concern to those that oppose this bill.

“How do we expect an already overwhelmed police force to coerce these types of regula-tions on the road?” Yes, it is true that there are many things that police force needs to pay attention to. They might not catch every single smoker that decides to light a cigarette while driving in the car with their child. Does that mean that they should not attempt to? As a child, wearing seatbelts was also an option that some parents did not enforce until it became mandated for them to do so years later. Police patrols did not catch every violating parent but the number of deaths due to traffic col-lisions reduced overtime as regulations began to take effect.

Often, we do not realize the influence that we have on our children whether good or bad. Parents assume that the bad habits and vices that they may partake in only affect themselves. Con-trarily, it is very possible that your impulsive spending, ineffective stress management skills, or your lack of ability to communicate effectively can be directly linked to the experience of watching and subconsciously taking on a continued path of your parents’ behavior. Smoking is no different. A study shows that, “13 percent of adolescents whose parent never smoked said they had ever smoked at least one cigarette.

By comparison, 38 percent of teens whose parent was dependent on nicotine had smoked at least one cigarette. Among teenagers who had smoked at least one cigarette, 5 percent were dependent if their parent never smoked, but 15 percent were dependent if their par-ent was dependent. The effect of parental smoking and dependence persisted after controlling for factors such as adolescent use of alcohol and other drugs. Overall, teens had three times the odds of smoking at least one cigarette, and nearly twice the odds of nicotine dependence, if their parent was dependent on nicotine” (Columbia University School of Public Health).

As a society we must come to the idealization that we must take advantage of the science and knowledge that is given to us. We must not continue to challenge the facts, especially when it comes to future leaders of the world. There is a reason thing’s like tobacco and alcohol are age-regulated and that reason is to ensure the health of our youth until they are at the appropriate age to make educated decisions for themselves. It is one thing, as an adult, to expose yourself to things that have been proven harmful, but the children do not have a choice in this matter. We must guar-antee a healthy future for our children and the generation to come by banning and/or regulating as many possible threats to our society as possible. Also, we must not think so selfishly by assuming that your bad habits only impact you. Save your children from a life of sickness or addiction and save yourself from ever having ‘smokers guilt’.

Cite this paper

Smokers Guilt . (2021, Sep 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/smokers-guilt/

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