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Smoking: a Slow and Painful Death This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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A glowing ember slowly drifts to the Earth to fall on top of a collecting pile of ash. Suddenly, a black heel crushes the miniature landfill into dust, soon to be whisked away by the cool autumn wind, lost to the breeze, forgotten. For so many Americans, the feeling of a cigarette in the crook between their pointer and middle fingers is as calming as standing on the beach with the waves softly lapping at their feet. Plastered on walls around them are precautions in regards to smoking and the physical effects smoking may cause later on in life. With how often I smell cigarette smoke around public places, I know nearly every smoker discards those precautions as unimportant or false. Smoking is not the soothing stress reliever so many people believe it to be. It is a one-way ticket to physical difficulties that later may prove to be fatal. Teens, this is one case where seeing an influential person do something questionable does NOT make it cool. We need to unite to create an active front against smoking in all ages, specifically teenage smoking, and anyone around children and young adults. The number of smokers needs to decrease in America for the health and safety of the smokers themselves, the health of others, and for the emotional stress it can cause.

Smokers experience first-hand some of the worst physical burdens from inhaling tobacco and other dangerous chemicals that come wrapped up in the thin paper they constantly light. When nicotine is inhaled, the hormone epinephrine is abnormally increased, which can cause permanent brain changes and or damages if used over long periods. Spurred for one or sometimes many reasons at once, smokers often attempt to quit smoking all together. Since they have been exposed to the effects of cigarettes, they often experience symptoms of withdrawal such as irritability, attention difficulties, and sleep deprivation (NIDA.) One common long-term effect smokers may experience is the development of cancer. Studies show links between smoking and over one-third of all cases of cancer, including 90% of all cases of lung cancer. Adults who smoke increase their possibilities of shortening their life span on an average of 14 years (NIDA.)

Not only does the thick, heavy substance floating from the tips of cigarettes affect smokers, it affects everyone around them. Over the course of a year, an estimated 126 million Americans find themselves exposed to secondhand smoke, with 50 million of them dying from disease caused by the smoke they experience. Risk of heart disease and lung cancer can increase for anyone up to 30% (NIDA.) Each year, an average of 150,000-300,000 children below the age of 18 experience respiratory infections from exposure to secondhand smoke. Infant death syndrome and asthma development risks increase for newborns exposed after, but even before, birth. As children grow older, they are more likely to turn to a life that involves smoking if they have seen parental figures or guardians in their life smoke (NIDA.) The tiny infant you may one day rock back and forth to sleep each night will grow up to be the future of our nation. Do you not yearn to create a world you, and your future, will be shielded from despair and hardship?

Smoking does not only cause physical burdens, but also emotional burdens. With the raised risk of disease and fatality from smoking, families experience the emotional heartbreak caused by the loss of a loved one. In adolescence, teens deal with emotional pain in different ways. Some may become passive with their surroundings, or even find themselves stuck in the dark cloud that is depression, which can suppress their ability to enjoy life and the memories it has to offer. In whatever way teens deal with their loss, all at some point in their lives will feel that pain. Healing the physical loss is possible over time, but funeral costs can cause some economical difficulties in many families, especially if the main source of income came from the person that has now passed. The average cost of a funeral in the U.S to date is $12,000-$15,000 (Average.) So many families feel the strings on their coin purse tightening, and along with the emotional stress of a funeral, the strings tighten to close a families ability to function properly due to financial complexities.

Now, the burning ember fades into white soft tufts of cotton, slowly freezing, swirling to the ground as snow. The flake softly lands to rest on a single red rose; its vibrant hue paled by the frosty December wind. The sun peaks out from behind suffocating, menacing clouds to blanket the rose atop a lonely tombstone in weak, winter warmth. Teens, look at the ones around you that you care about. Your time to act is now. No one wants to see an ornately carved granite headstone display the name of someone near and dear. The time to act and convert smokers in your life to a life of freedom for their own health and safety, yours and others' health, and emotional stress. Reflect now on how things could have been, and you are sure to find it worth it in the end.





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joey.c said...
Sept. 11, 2012 at 8:14 am
i think that cig. will you but don't think that it will that bad :)
 
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