Sale of Cigarettes
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Cigarettes contain tobacco or other herbs such as cloves and cannabis rolled up for smoking. A smoker ignites one end; allows it to smolder the inhale the smoke from the other end. Cigarette production dates back to the 9th century where plant wrappers were in use. It was not until the 17th century that there was use of fine paper. Cigarettes got to France around 1830, and in 1845, the French state tobacco monopoly began manufacturing them (Goodman, Jordan Elliot (1993)). In the 1880s, James Albert Bonsack made a cigarette-producing machine that saw the production of cigarettes rise from 40,000 to 4 million daily. There was an increase in the consumption of cigarettes up until now. This is despite the adverse effects it has on human health and the environment.
One could argue that cigarette production is economically viable, and that it leads to the gross economic growth from the large sales made daily. Most governments make cigarette production a state monopoly from which they get lump sum tax revenue. It would be pointless to have an economic increase in terms of profits while losing an increasing number of people to cancer and other smoke related disease. In as much as its production and sale is beneficial, it should be made illegal. There should be an enormous fine imposition on those found producing and selling cigarettes. This is because the negative effects of this economic activity far much outweigh the single benefit of income generation.
German doctors first discovered the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. This became the starting point for anti-tobacco campaigns, with the US government putting a stop to cigarettes in the military rations. This is a clear sign that the government recognizes the grim danger that cigarettes pose on its citizens’ health. Cigarette smoking is known to cause the following forms of cancer; acute myeloid leukemia, bladder cancer, cancer of the cervix, cancer of the esophagus, kidney cancer, cancer of the larynx (voice box), lung cancer, cancer of the oral cavity (mouth), pancreatic cancer, cancer of the pharynxes (throat) and, stomach cancer. The chances of a male smoker to get cancer increases by 23 times, and that of a female is by 13 times. Tobacco related cancer causes a significant number of deaths in the US annually.
Cigarettes are also responsible for other health issues such as heart attacks, strokes and emphysema. It can cause coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Smoking narrows blood vessels and reduces blood circulation thus causing the peripheral vascular disease. According to CDC, about 8.6 million people suffer from a chronic disease related to smoking. There are even cases of male impotence and harm to women reproductive systems. Furthermore, it worsens cases of asthma and pneumonia especially among those who smoke mentholated cigarettes.
Cigarettes are known to cause as many as 443,000 deaths per year in America; this is about one in every five deaths. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it is more than death caused by a combination of drug abuse, homicide, AIDS and car accidents. It is approximated that men lose about 14.5 of their years when they smoke while women lose 23.5 of theirs.
From these statistics, we can see that many people die annually from smoking cigarettes. As a result, there are both social and economic impacts that arise from these deaths. Economically, the country loses a significant number of its producers in terms of labor. Many people in the employment sector succumb to smoke related diseases hence leaving gaps in their former employment areas. They also spend a large sum of their income in the purchase of cigarette sticks. The money could be put in to investments. This leads to a general drop in the country’s economy thus slowing down development. Socially, families of those with diseases from smoking such as cancer, get the burden of taking care of their sick family members. It is particularly demoralizing at some extent and can lead to a rise in conflicts among the family members.
Cigarette smoking is an addictive behavior because the tobacco found in cigarettes contains the addictive drug, nicotine. The body and mind quickly become so used to it that a person needs to have it just to feel normal. Nicotine is readily absorbed into the bloodstream on inhaling the smoke. Smokers take an average of ten puffs with each cigarette sticks ,thus, one and half packets of it daily is equivalent to 300 hits of nicotine daily. When it gets to the bloodstream, it stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine, adrenaline. This then stimulates the central nervous system and increases the heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. There is release of glucose into the bloodstream while nicotine suppresses release of insulin by the pancreas. This results in chronic sugar levels. In the long run, nicotine causes neurotransmitter dopamine, which affects the brain pathways that control reward and pleasure. It then leads to addiction, which requires the constant need to seek and use nicotine. More income is spent on meeting the addictive behavior thus slowing down individual development.
Smoking is also related to other health effects such as reproductive problems and early childhood effects, such as risk for; stillbirth, infertility, preterm delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low birth weight. This is an unfair effect or impact on the unborn children who have a right to be born. This further leads to a drop in the demographics hence a drop in the number of voters, workers, consumers etc. It also leads to poor personal hygiene in some cases. For example, situations where a smoker has a smelly breadth from continuous smoking. They may also have unkempt hair, cracked lips, and red eyes, hence, are not presentable. This could have a psychological effect on the smoker, leading to low self-esteem and even suicide.
Then there is the case of passive smokers where those who stay around people who smoke feel the effects of smoking. Inhaling the smoke causes cancer and heart related diseases to second hand smokers. It may also result in phlegm, shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. It is a crime because it is a way of causing harm to the health of an innocent person.
Production and sale of cigarettes should be made illegal because research shows that it is the leading cause of death. Allowing it to go on would be tantamount to encouraging the indirect murder of people including innocent ones. In as much as smokers are made aware of the adverse impacts of smoking, it is hard to quit. The government should therefore take a firm stand in totally eradicating any activity related to cigarette production and sale. Tobacco is a mixture of harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ammonia, tar and cyanide, some of which are carcinogens. It would not be logical to continue with its production knowing that it would encourage the consumption of the carcinogens. It is only realistic that it is made illegal to reduce loss of lives.
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