Against Tabacco Smoking

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There is every reason to consider tobacco smoking the most harmful of bad habits, since it adversely affects not only the person addicted to cigarette or cigar smoking, but also those around the smoker, who involuntarily inhale the smoke. Statistical reports on the impact of smoking on Americans show that 269,655 deaths annually among men and 173,940 deaths annually among women are tobacco related. Some people might argue that the odds of AIDS, car accidents and homicides taking one’s life, are greater than smoking a couple of cigarettes a day. But the facts prove quite the opposite. Regular tobacco smoking, despite its apparent comparative harmlessness to illegal drugs or incurable diseases, kills more people every year than car accidents, illegal drugs, AIDS, murders and suicides combined. In the US alone, approximately 400,000 people die each year from voluntary cigarette smoking. When we add the deaths from tobacco-related causes, primarily the impact of second-hand or so-called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), the numbers exceed 430,000 people every year. Is this the considerable price you are prepared to pay for allowing yourself to yield to this deleterious addiction?

It is notable that some people in the US zealously argue against making tobacco smoking illegal. Their main argument is that it is a personal choice that everyone should be allowed to make. In a democratic society, doesn’t everyone have a right to make their own conscious decisions, and even if it harms their health, to stick to the choice they have made? Well, certainly, we cannot force someone to give up their personal right in favor of the collective good. Or can we? When it comes to tobacco, the harmful impact it has on health and life goes beyond the person who is smoking. Researchers report that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the United States every year (“Lung Cancer Fact Sheet”). Environmental...
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