“The first commercial cigarettes were made in 1865 by James Buchanan Duke. It was not until 1881 when James Bonsack invented the cigarette making machine” (Quora). Duke and Bonsack worked as a team and started making a lot of profit from the production of cigarettes, for they were first intended for the men in the civil war. “These men would advertise their cigarettes by giving them out for free at beauty contests and placed ads in the new ‘glossies’- the first magazines. Duke also sponsored races to get his product in the mouths of Americans” (BBC News Magazine). As of today, cigarettes and tobacco are very dangerous and they should be illegal for all ages or even completely banned in America. Here are five examples of why tobacco and cigarettes should be illegal and two reasons why they should still be accessible to the public.
“It is proven that the tobacco and other carcinogens in smoking cigarettes can cause cancer. Not only can one get cancer in the lungs, but it can appear all over the body” (History and Headlines). There are many times where people will get skin cancer over lung cancer while they are smoking. My grandfather is a great example of that. A black, cancerous mass started growing on his back in 2014, which he then had removed. He had gotten cancer on his back before he got it in his lungs. “There are seven thousand different chemicals in tobacco smoke and sixty nine of them are cancerous”(National Cancer Institute). It seems almost impossible to have that many chemicals in one cigarette, but it has been a proven fact that there is that many. “Almost half a million americans die prematurely each year because of tobacco use” (History and Headlines). Many people, such as my grandfather, know that smoking will kill him but he is so far gone and way too addicted to stop. He has had countless doctors tell him bluntly that he will die sooner than he is supposed to, because of smoking. He has also had three different types of cancers that all tie in with his excessive smoking. My grandfather also has a horrific cough that will make any baby cry.
Someone doesn’t even have to smoke to be in harm’s way. For example, “If a pregnant woman walks down the street and inhales second hand smoke, that smoke can harm her unborn child” (History and Headlines). It is not fair for that mother to be worried about her child being exposed to secondhand smoke before it is even born. If a pregnant women does smoke that “Tobacco can cause babies to be born underweight or too early. They can also be born with a cleft lip or cleft palate and babies can even become stillborn and/or die in the first year of their life; therefore known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)” (National Cancer Institute).
Not only has smoking become such a dangerous activity to do in a restaurant, at a party, or in a house with children, but it is also very unsafe for those who smoke and drive. “Many times the smoker who is driving will start to fumble around with the cigarette and the lighter just to get a smoke. Not only are they distracted for twelve long second while driving, but they are making the environment around them very unsafe for themself and others” (History and Headlines). Someone who is fumbling with a cigarette is causing more danger than someone talking or texting on their phone, as they are distracted from driving longer than someone who is texting. Now, not saying that texting or calling while driving is not as dangerous or distracting, it is just that someone may fumble for a cigarette longer than someone using their phone, depending on the situation.
Many people these days are doing whatever it takes to look younger. Some use botox, exercises, dieting, but one thing you will never see on that list of looking younger is smoking cigarettes. “Cigarettes will start to make you appear older than your age. You will start to wrinkle faster on your face and hands. Your fingers yellow, teeth become discolored, and you have horrible breath” (History and Headlines). These are definitely not qualities people are looking for when trying to appear younger and healthier. There are documentaries of children who are under the age of eighteen who are smoking and they look as if they are twenty five years old.
Although tobacco and cigarettes have so many negative effects, there is one to two benefits to it; tax revenue. Each individual cigarette has a ten cent tax on it, a twenty pack would cost two dollars of tax. “If everyone stopped smoking, the 2.8 million premature deaths would have been avoided. During that same time, the healthcare spending would decrease by $211 billion” (Business Insider). The only other reason why smoking would be acceptable is because Native Americans smoke tobacco during ceremonies and other celebrations. These people use tobacco as a cultural and religious use instead of recreational like most people in America.
Tobacco and cigarettes are very dangerous and should be illegal for all ages or even completely banned in America. Tobacco will most likely be on earth forever and it won’t be completely wiped out like I would hope, but all advocates who want to get rid of tobacco and smoking cigarettes can do whatever they can to put an end to the production of it. In the future, I hope smoking cigarettes and tobacco are completely banned in America and many lives will be saved from it.
- Quora: When Cigaretes began https://www.quora.com/Why-were-cigarettes-invented-1
- Business Insider: Economy from cigarettes https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-what-would-happen-to-the-economy-if-we-all-quit-smoking-2011-9
- National Cancer Institute: How many chemicals are in smoking cigarettes https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
- History and Headlines: why smoking cigarettes and tobacco should be banned
- BBC News Magazine: The start of the cigarette https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20042217