Stopping The Killer This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 15, 2010
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There is a killer on the loose. It’s slowly robbing the lives of its victims, while spreading poison to the innocent. It’s planting its seed in more and more places, sucking in more prey, younger prey. It’s finding more ways to harm the globe. Its name is tobacco, and it should be banned.

Have you ever walked into a bar or restaurant and seen the thick, grayish smoke floating in the air as it irritates your eyes? Have you ever felt your throat clogging as you breathe that thick, cloudy smoke? Well you have just experienced secondhand smoke, which kills nearly 50,000 Americans annually. The secondhand smoke that fills the air contains at least 3800 chemicals, and fifty are known as cancer-causing substances. Secondhand smoke accounts for more than ten percent of the deaths caused by tobacco. This means that over six hundred thousand people will die even though they don’t smoke. The following experience clearly shows that secondhand smoke is not a joke. “Gail Routh worked as a flight attendant for nearly twenty-seven years. Routh was a nonsmoker all her life, but after working in contact with secondhand smoke on airplanes she contracted lung cancer.” Gail Routh sued the tobacco industry for lung cancer and bronchitis that was linked to the secondhand smoke. Imagine having your lung taken out of your body leaving you with excoriating pain. This is what Routh had to deal with after she contracted lung cancer. In 1964, the United States Surgeon General declared that smoking was bad for one's health and was related to lung cancer. Therefore, smoking should be banned in all public places to prevent contracting lung cancer from first or second hand smoke, enabling those with lung conditions to be able to have jobs in places that they would not be able to because of the smoke in the air. This would help businesses keep their employees safer while generating more revenue. This in turn would save thousands of lives each year. Why should people have to worry about dying when they aren’t doing anything harmful? They shouldn’t, which is why tobacco should be banned.

There is another way tobacco kills, and it has nothing to do with who is exposed to it. Smoking causes only a small proportion of all fires, about 6%. However, it is the leading cause of deaths in fires, accounting for about 25% of all fire deaths in the United States. Smoking-related fires tend to be deadlier than other fires because they typically occur in people's homes, at night, when everyone is asleep. They usually start either when a person falls asleep while smoking in bed or when a lighted cigarette is dropped on upholstered furniture, where it slowly smolders for hours before starting a fire. According to The U.S. Fire Administration two million fires occur each year in the United States alone from smoking. These fires result in about 5,000 deaths, 54,000 hospitalizations and 1.4 million injuries. Fire damages are also a huge issue. These fires result in a cost of nearly $7 billion in the United States and $27.2 billion worldwide. So is the profit the tobacco companies make worth the damages caused? I don’t think so, I think it’s another reason tobacco selling should be banned.

Smoking is a huge harm to others, but the damages it causes to those who actually smoke is hard to compare to. There are over 1.35 billion smokers in the world, making 1 in 5 people smokers. The horrible thing about this figure is over 25% percent of smokers are or started smoking underage as stated by the American Lung Association. This quote from James Baldwin is perfect in describing teenage smokers, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” After tobacco draws in its victims, it kills them off. Smoking slaughters over five million people a year. In fact, smoking of tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death. The use of tobacco products is not only addicting, but is directly related to a number of health problems and diseases. A few of the oral health problems smokers or smokeless tobacco users can develop are: bad breath, brown, stained teeth, black hairy tongue, gum disease, loss of teeth, and receding gums. The list doesn’t end there; tobacco is known to cause cancers of the cheek, esophagus, lung, and tongue, and these are just a few of the health related problems from tobacco. It doesn’t end there either. Annually, the cost resulting from the deaths that happened in the U.S alone (about 440,000 deaths) is more than 193 billion dollars due to loss of productivity and health costs. With all of these effects, do we really want tobacco? Is tobacco really worth it? No it is not, these murdering Marlboros should be banned.

When a product affects half of the globe (one way or another) negatively, something needs to be done. There is only one benefit from the smoking of tobacco; it makes the tobacco companies a lot of money, a lot of money from the harming of others. Some people will argue that “Oh, tobacco is a choice.” The argument to that is: people can easily make foolish choices. They may not realize tobacco is harming them and it was a bad choice until it is too late. Tobacco is addicting and it’s hard for people to stop that bad choice. When a product unintentionally harms its users, it gets recalled. Tobacco clearly harms its users. Maybe it’s time for tobacco to be recalled.

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