More than 480,000 people dead, every year, due to the “single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States” (Center for Disease Control). Cigarettes are the culprit. The legal age to buy cigarettes in America is 18 years old yet they negatively affect your health, have a negative social impact, and many hidden financial effects. So many people, both young and old, are being negatively affected by the use of this drug without even knowing it.
Over 250 harmful chemicals lay inside a cigarette, including acetone, which is used as nail polish remover. They also contain chemicals used as household cleaners and arsenic, which used to be used in rat poison. According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 36.5 million Americans smoke cigarettes and are putting these harmful chemicals into their body every day. The problem is, cigarettes are so addictive due to the nicotine in them which is “quickly absorbed into your bloodstream” and reaches your brain which “causes the brain to release adrenaline, creating a buzz of pleasure and energy” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). However, this buzz only lasts for a short time and often leaves the user wanting more and feeling tired. The brain forms a love-hate relationship with nicotine because it “changes in response to the very high levels of nicotine delivered by cigarettes” (Mayo Clinic). This turns into an extremely dangerous cycle of addiction. Every day, every morning, and in every way, this addiction controls the mind and body. Smoking cigarettes can cause cancer in a variety of places in your body, including in the stomach, and the pancreas, the esophagus, and the liver. Research has proven that “smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Smoking becoming illegal will be beneficial to all concerned because if cigarettes become harder to get, thousands of lives will be saved due to less people taking in these harmful chemicals.
Not only does smoking cigarettes harm the body, there are also many social effects that come along with this drug. Secondhand smoke, smoke exhaled by the smoker or smoke from a burning cigarette, has also become a major health risk. According to the CDC, “Since 1964, approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke”. In adults, it can cause many serious health issues such as heart disease, lung cancer, or stroke. Even if someone is not regularly exposed to cigarette smoke, these risks still stand. The slightest exposure to secondhand smoke can put people at risk. For children, it can be just as dangerous. It can cause respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia which can become very severe for babies. Making cigarettes illegal will result in goodwill and better friendships because people would not have to worry about the effects of being around someone who is smoking. There is a social stigma that comes along with it and people often do not want to be around someone while they are smoking. The only way to fully prevent damage from secondhand smoke and to protect nonsmokers is to make cigarettes illegal in order to keep them out of public places.
While the physical and social effects are bad enough, cigarettes are expensive and can cause financial problems as well. Depending on where you live, cigarettes can cost anywhere from $5 to $10 in highly populated areas like New York. This means that people who smoke a pack a day are spending up to $70 a week on cigarettes. Not only are they expensive, they can also cause smokers to lose money in the future. A smoker’s car, house, furniture, and anything else they use on a daily basis are exposed to smoke which leads to its resale price decreasing. People do not want to buy something that has the strong and relentless smell of cigarette smoke. Also, smoking negatively affects your oral health which leads to higher dental bills. Smoking can cause “tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, and in more severe cases mouth cancer” (Oral Health Foundation). Many smokers know the danger of cigarettes to their bodies but never consider that oral damage is a factor too.
Overall, it has become very clear that cigarettes are disgusting, harmful, and are killing people at an alarming rate in our country. Cigarettes should be made illegal because we need to take away the substance that is damaging so many people’s bodies and lives slowly. They negatively impact people’s lives in all aspects; physically, socially, and financially. According to the Center for Disease Control, if smoking continues at its current rate, “5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 years of age are expected to die prematurely from a smoking-related illness”.