The impact of cigarettes on the economy and health

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Smoking is an act of inhaling and exhaling smoke from a smoking piece with burning contents. Since herbs produce fragrance when they are burnt, the Egyptians and Greeks often inhaled the vapors for medical purposes. Researchers concluded that America is the birthplace of tobacco. They concluded this because it was only spread all over the world after Columbus came. Initially, they smoked raw, folded tobacco leaves and they also chewed on tobacco. After that, they advanced and added a filter, they were rolled in paper, and flavoring (Chidambaranathan para. 1- 4). In the Maya civilization in Central America, the home of the first tobacco users, smoking was extremely popular in religious ceremonies. This is confirmed by paintings of priests and deities depicted on pottery from this region. The Aztecs that lived in South America followed the Mayan's model, and they smoked out of corn husks. In Spain during the 17th century, paper wrappings replaced the corn husk. After Columbus, when they reached France in the 1830s, their name originated. The French modified the Spanish word "sigarito" to the modern day word of "cigarette" ("History of Cigarette" para. 2-3).

Some wonder what the contents of cigarettes are and other may wonder what their effects on the human body are. Cigarettes contain over 4,000 different chemicals. Some are carcinogenic and some are poisonous (Martin para. 1). They include tar, carbon monoxide, urethane, acetone, methanol, arsenic, phenol, ammonium compounds, naphthalene, cadmium, mercury, hydrogen cyanide, nicotine, lead, and butane (Chidambaranathan para. 9). Hemoglobin in the red blood cells is affected by the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke. It causes the cells to be unable to carry as much oxygen. Carcinogens cause cells to abnormally grow or duplicate excessively fast because genes that control these functions are affected. Also, smoking cigarettes affects your immune system. If a woman smokes while she is pregnant, there are higher risks of miscarriage, premature birth, and other side effects. The nicotine from the cigarettes will put nicotine receptors in your baby's brain. This will make them more likely to smoke as a teen (Martin para. 4-5, 7, 26).

In the world, one in three adults smokes. This means that worldwide, over 1.2 billion people smoke tobacco. Every week, over 105 billion cigarettes are bought; this works out to every minute, 10 million cigarette packs are sold ("Cigarette Smoking Facts" para. 1). Because of the massive amounts of smokers worldwide, laws, regulations, and standards are necessary. Currently in Connecticut, smoking is not allowed in most public facilities. This includes restaurants, health centers, bars, schools, stores, and public transportation. If a business has five or less employees, if necessary, a designated smoking area can be assigned. This area must be properly signed and blocked off, so that if an employee does not desire to be around smoke, they can be free from this worry. Smoking in restaurants is prohibited unless there is an outdoor portion of the restaurant. For every tobacco product sold, the retailer must question a customer if their age is in question. They must show proper identification to prove their age. To buy tobacco products, you have to be 18 or older in Connecticut. If a customer does not have proper identification, the retailer is unable to sell to them. If an employee dealer or distributer is caught giving any form of tobacco to a minor, they are fined $200 for their first offence. If they are caught again within 18 months, they are fined $250. If a minor receives tobacco products from the dealer directly, they are first fined $350, then $750 if the next offense is within 18 months. Also in Connecticut, if a minor uses fake identification, they will be fined $50-$100. To maintain these above laws, signs depicting these laws are necessary wherever tobacco products are sold. If signs are not provided, the retailer is fined $100 ("SLATI State Information: Connecticut" para. 1,10,17,18,21,23). Should smoking cigarettes be banned?

Cigarettes should be banned because they are dangerous and they damage your health immensely. There are a number of ways that the thousands of chemicals in cigarettes affect us. They affect virtually every part of your body. Smoking cigarettes has internal effects and also external effects. The nicotine is the part that makes you addicted. This makes a smoker suffer from nicotine withdrawal if they do not smoke religiously. This happens because your brain chemistry becomes altered. Cigarettes cause your 5 senses to be weakened. Smokers have less of a sense of smell and taste. Their eyes also sting and it is possible to get cataracts. The physical effects of smoking make your teeth yellowed and stained as well as your fingers. Some smokers even loose teeth and develop gingivitis. Smokers also suffer from premature aging with wrinkles. Smokers can develop an enormous variety of types of cancer. Cancer of the mouth, lips, throat, liver, lungs, stomach, pancreas, colon, cervix kidney, bladder, leukemia, and more cancers and diseases are caused by cigarette smoking. Cancer can cause death or health risks even if the actual cancer has been cured. Cigarette smoking affects more directly your lungs. The smoke causes your lungs to turn black and to be coated with tar. This makes your lungs unable to clean out unwanted substances, and by smoking, you are putting more unwanted things into your lungs. Cigarettes also cause male and female reproduction to be reduced. This means that males have less sperm and females are less fertile. The major cause of death in America is heart disease. Smoking makes you more likely to get heart disease because cigarette smoke weakens and blocks the arteries close to your heart (Martin para. 1,2 6-25). Some smokers realize that they have a bad habit so they try to quit smoking. This doesn't always work. Nicotine is highly addictive so this makes this task nearly impossible. Out of America's 50 million smokers, 40 percent will try to quit smoking more than once in one year. Nine out of ten smokers will fail. If so many people try to quit the addicting habit that they started, why would you want to start? A smoking ban would be a solution to this problem. There would be no more people regretting the fact that they began to smoke. Even if you smoke just one cigarette, your life expectancy is lowered by 10.7 minutes, and also that one cigarette could be the start of a disgusting habit. Every ten seconds tobacco is the cause of a person's death. This means that by the year 2025, 10 million people a year will be killed. (Cigarette Smoking Facts" para. 4, 11). Overall, cigarettes are highly addictive, they have negative effects on your body and they are very dangerous.

Health care costs, the cost of smoking, and advertising costs have grown in huge amounts and this has raised the taxes for people to pay. Although packs of cigarettes are taxed, the money earned does not come nearly close enough to the cost of the healthcare for diseases related to cigarettes. In California, the tobacco industry raised $11 billion dollars in taxes, but it also had health care costs of at least $50 billion dollars. As you can see, the taxes aren't enough. This is why taxes have been raised. For the non-smokers, this is not fair because they are not the cause of the high healthcare costs ("Tobacco's Impact on the Economy" para. 7). Advertising alone costs $5,000 per minute. "Smoking costs the nation $65 billion per year in health-care costs and lost productivity - that's $262 per American per year" (qtd. in "Cigarette Smoking Facts" para. 10). As you can see, it is a huge amount of money. Some smokers reach up to $1500 dollars worth of cigarettes a year. This money could easily have been invested in other, more practical things. Smokers also pay more money for health care, health insurance, medications, and more. There are more hidden costs to smoking. Smokers have to pay higher home owner's insurance because they are more likely to burn down their house. Smokers also decrease the value of their house and belongings by making them smell like smoke. The same thing goes for your car, the value goes down, and you are more likely to get in an accident so you have to pay higher insurance ("The Cost Of Smoking" para. 1,3-12). Kenneth E. Warner & George A. Fulton say, "The amount of economic activity associated with tobacco product sales would not disappear if consumers decrease their spending on tobacco products. Rather, it would be redistributed as consumers use the same money to purchase alternative goods and services. Just like spending on tobacco, this alternative spending would generate employment and tax revenues associated with the production, distribution and sale of purchased goods and services" (qtd. in "Tobacco's Impact on the Economy" para. 5). This quote proves that if smoking were eventually to be banned, it would not negatively affect our economy in any way. Smokers spending would be redistributed on other items.

Smoking does not only affect the smoker, it also affects anybody around the smoker. Secondhand smoke is more toxic because it is unfiltered (Johnson para. 23). Smoking harms family members, neighbors, coworkers, strangers, and even your pets. Also smoking while pregnant will have a much higher risk of spontaneous miscarriages, still birth, complicated pregnancies, premature birth, and early death. Not only does it affect others physically, it affects them emotionally too. Since there is so much death related to cigarette smoking, the ones that love and care about you will mourn over your death or illness ("Cigarette Smoking Facts" para. 16-17). Dean P. Johnson said, "I half smiled when I heard the report about a Virginia woman who was sentenced to 10 days in jail for smoking in the presence of her children" (qtd. in J Johnson para. 18). Although Johnson was a smoker himself for a time in his life, he still thinks it's wrong and unfair that your wrong choice affects other people.

Smoking should not be banned because people should have the right to choose what they put in their body and what they don't put in their body. Every individual has the right of privacy. This right should allow everyone to choose if they wish to harm their bodies or if they choose not to. You should be free to put dangerous drugs into your body just like you are free to put unhealthy food in your body, if you wish to do so (Head para. 11). Smoking should also not be banned because smoking was never previously illegal, so why should they all of a sudden be banned? If tobacco was illegal, the tobacco industry would suffer greatly, leaving people without jobs. It is not fair because all tobacco companies are required by law to state the risks of their product, but people continue to buy them (Llosa para. 24). Smokers are not ignorant about the risks of smoking, they just do not care.

Tobacco products boost the economy in rural countries and they also offer more job opportunities. Many individuals depend on the tobacco companies for jobs. With there already being a lack of employment in America due to the recession and the lack of jobs, there is no reason to take away huge companies to make this problem even worse. Tobacco is a necessity to rural communities because it gives people jobs. In many rural societies, there are not many jobs, but the tobacco business helps this problem, especially when tobacco products are in such high demand all over the world (Head para. 18). The Tobacco Industry argues that if they were banned or even if they were controlled, that it will start chaos with tax revenues, jobs, the economy and tobacco farmers. In the U.S., there are over 48,800 employees in 21 states with 114 factories. These are solely the manufacturing employees. There are also over 136,000 farming employees in 23 states ("Tobacco's Impact on the Economy" para. 1-2). As you can see, a huge commotion would happen if all these jobs were taken away.

If you are addicted to smoking cigarettes, the cigarettes make you feel relaxed and comfortable. Even just holding a cigarette makes the smoker feel comforted and it also keeps their mind busy. If people are happy, relaxed, and calm when they do something they fully know the consequences of, it makes no sense to stop them from it. Stress is also released when an addicted smoker smokes because the nicotine calms them. The smoker feels gratified and happy when they smoke. Also, smokers feel like they immediately have a strong bond with other smokers because they both have the same hobby. This is more of a bond than people who share other hobbies that are the same because smokers smoke many times a day. This hobby is an everyday event that happens multiple times (Aronsen para. 2-5).

I think that banning smoking would be practically impossible because of the huge population of smokers worldwide. Since about 45 million Americas smoke, I think that it is humanly impossible to ban because there would be riots and huge controversies. If tobacco was to be banned, the effect the politics of the U.S. would be immensely changed too. Whichever political party that was responsible for the ban would most likely lose power. Although the U.S. government is extremely powerful, it does not have the authority and the adequate amount of people to follow through on a ban such as this. There are over 45 million people who smoke in America; it is unable to change them overnight (Head para. 22-24). Especially because smoking is an addictive drug and it is extremely difficult to quit. Nine out of ten smokers will fail to quit smoking every year out of the 40% who try. A ban of cigarettes would end up in violence and chaos ("Cigarette Smoking Facts" para. 11). In the 1920's, prohibition of alcohol was attempted. Prohibition did not work because people continued to homebrew and illegally buy from other countries. This ban also enabled organized crime. If a ban on alcohol did not last because of people disobeying, why should a ban on cigarettes be plausible? The answer is it won't. I think that banning smoking would never work. There are just too many smokers in America.

I think that smoking should be a choice of each individual. We choose everything we put into our body so why should cigarettes be any different? Everyone is fully educated about the consequences of cigarettes, so the choice should be saved for the individual. If smoking makes them happy, let them smoke. There are four surgeon General's Warnings printed on each pack of cigarette. Makers must rotate each through their packs. "SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy, SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health, SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, and Low Birth Weight, SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide" (qtd. in "SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING" para. 1-6). These are the four warning labels required. As you can see, we are all fully educated about the dangers of cigarettes. Therefore we cannot blame the company for our poor health. We are warned about every product that we own, so the company cannot be sued for injuries, and we know what to expect with the product. For example, when you buy a coffee, there is a label that says "Caution: May contain hot contents." If we are warned about coffee and we are also warned about cigarettes, why should one be banned but not the other? I believe that cigarettes should be legal because of their more than adequate warning labels and information about the effects of smoking.

Cigarette companies have made billions of dollars that contribute to the economy of the United States yearly. The United States right now already has a bad economy, so since the cigarettes contribute to money for the country, I think they should be legal so we can get out of this recession. In Connecticut, we receive $3.00 per pack of 20 cigarettes sold. This may not seem like a lot, but this money adds up fast. The Tax Revenue Collected in Connecticut was $329,500,000 ("SLATI State Information: Connecticut" para. 13, 15). This is a huge amount of money that helps the state and government in many ways. By increasing the taxes on cigarettes, less people smoke. I think that this is good because although I think that smoking shouldn't be banned for a variety of reasons, I also think that it is good that less people smoke because they will have an early death. Obama made the federal tax on cigarettes increase $1.01 on April 1, 2009. With all the cigarette packs being bought, this adds up to a lot of money going to the federal government. Making cigarette taxes higher makes the smoking population less, but it also keeps the economy going because more money goes to the state for each pack. I think that this situation is ideal because on both sides it's good. Fewer smokers, but higher revenue would be obtained. The higher revenue fund helps the state fund health care and many other things. Since higher cigarette taxes reduce the amount of smokers, it also reduces the amount of money needed to be spent on health care ("Higher Cigarette Taxes: Reduce Smoking, Save Lives, Save Money" para. 2-5). Overall, in my opinion smoking should be by choice. We are fully aware of the effects, the cigarette taxes contribute to our economy, and a smoking ban would be nearly impossible due to the massive numbers of smokers.