Give Me the Knowledge

March 17, 2017
By cjm21 BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
cjm21 BRONZE, Clarkston, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Liability is one concept that should evoke emotion and action.  To be liable for your own actions is one step closer to wisdom, I believe.  Without liability is deceit, wrongdoing, and perpetual acts of negativity.  Cigarette companies have been disregarding liability for years, blaming customers for their contracting of diseases and conditions.  If they had ever owned up to their actions, cigarette smoking wouldn’t’ve been such a large problem, for they would most likely not be sold.  However the cruel reality is that cigarette companies keep their secrets in the shadows and don’t ever avow to their products causing so much hardship for families.


Heart disease, cancer, and chronic lung disease are the top three leading causes of death in the United States.  Smoking cigarettes is an origin of each one of these dispositions.  CDC says that cigarette smoking is the root of 480,000 deaths every year in the United States alone (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).  If 480,000 people in the U.S. are dying each year, this means that about the same amount of families will lose a loved one due to smoking.  These families have to be dragged through the sorrow, mourning, and sullenness that is present with the loss of a loved one.  Also, out of the 480,000 thousand people, 41,000 or more are second hand smokers (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). This means that about 8% of people that die each year in the U.S. don't even smoke; the second hand smokers are only in the presence of a smoker, they are not making the undefined decision to smoke and they are still dying.  Decisions that one may pursue don't only affect them, but they also affect the people around them. These people that are in our atmospheres are usually people that we want to be around.  If one smokes around someone they want to be around, they are haphazardly doing damage to their life.  This damage is what shortens life spans of smokers,  on average, nonsmokers live nearly 10 years longer than smokers (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).  These nonsmokers do not include second hand smokers.  Smoking can ensue disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).  This should uphold many questions.  People may wonder why smokers even smoke if they know these facts, but the truth is, many people do not know about what smoking can do to you.  In fact, they are falsely persuaded by advertisements that smoking is cultural, customary, or cool. 

To reinforce my claim, cigarette advertisements do not show negative consequences, and they should.  What I am not saying is that the advertisement of cigarettes should be banned.  "Bans on alcohol and tobacco marketing are among the least effective tactics for combating underage drinking and smoking" (Penn State University) according to Jon Nelson, a Penn State economist who has studied the effects of advertising since 1985.  Tobacco advertising being banned does not alter the fact many people use cigarettes. This makes sense because most underage people are influenced by their peers and not the marketing of cigarettes (advertisements).  These bans may make users want to smoke even more.  Also, said by Jon Nelson, " 'More effective policies need to be sought to deal with issues of youthful risk-taking associated with alcohol and tobacco' " (Penn State University). What Jon Nelson is saying is that what is presently being done to try to advert smoking is not effective.  There needsto be alternatives.  Instead of banning cigarette advertisements, reforming them could be more advantageous.  Including very explicit health warnings that delineate negative consequences of smoking could adopt new concepts for smokers and they may consider quitting.

Many reliable sources have recorded information of secrecy amongst cigarette companies.  A source of such knowledge is CBS News, who stated that “in an issue of Nicotine and Tobacco Research, UCLA researchers examined dozens of internal tobacco industry documents made public after a 1998 court case, and found tobacco companies had known cigarette smoke contained potentially dangerous radioactive particles as early as 1959” (Jaslow).  The information that the companies withheld is so obscure in the fact that cigarette smoke is radically harmful that it has made many people want to put them under the microscope, which was proven in the court case that revealed of this information. "They knew that the cigarette smoke was radioactive way back then and that it could potentially result in cancer, and they deliberately kept that information under wraps," study author Dr. Hrayr S. Karagueuzian, professor of cardiology at UCLA's cardiovascular research laboratory, said in a written statement (Jaslow).  This research brought to light the cruel reality of how these companies that sell tobacco products hide the fact that their products are dangerous.  They know that their product could hurt people, however the money that they gain off of the products that they sell - which amounts to a lot - outweighs the risks of people being damaged, in their eyes.  Also stated by Dr. Hrayr S. Karagueuzian was, "We show here that the industry used misleading statements to obfuscate the hazard of ionizing alpha particles to the lungs of smokers and, more importantly, banned any and all publication on tobacco smoke radioactivity" (Jaslow)  In Layman's terms, the overall unhealthiness of cigarette smoking has been completely kept in the shadows by industries that sell cigarettes.  They tried to make it arduous for people to publicate this information and they defaced information on cigarette smoke's radioactivity.

Multiple attempts at halting the purchasing of cigarettes have been performed, such as the following: an act in 2009 made the FDA develop labels on cigarettes that depict the unhealthiness of smoking.  Most cigarette packages feature only a small warning of possible side effects.  But is this enough?  Some countries have gone as far as featuring negative images of the consequences of smoking.  In my eyes, this is a great idea.  However, a federal judge in DC struck this policy down and declared that the  labels  violate the First Amendment's protections against compelled speech (Millhiser). Credit is due where it is deserved, as I too value the First Amendment. Therefore I cannot firmly disagree with what this judge is arguing.  Although this argument is strong, it does have weak spots. Our government has been disobeying the constitution for years in good and bad ways. Disregarding an Amendment for the safety of the people of America seems to me as a positive way to disobey.

In our modern day, the amount of people, groups, or organizations who are starting to try and fight for knowledge is rising.  Tobacco companies are being exploited, however this has just begun, so not much effect has taken place.  Commercial advertisements , like The Real Cost, are starting to bring to light the cruel reality in which cigarette companies hide the fact that their product can ruin lives.  Also, The Truth, has recently created a commercial advertisement that that reveals Big Tobacco’s secrets, such as who they target.  More and more people are realizing that in actuality, cigarettes are ruining so many aspects of our world.  So, what I ask you is: what will you do to put cigarette companies out of business? 


The author's comments:

This issue is very personal to me, so I felt that I needed to write thid piece to get my piece of mind out there.

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