Cigarette smoking is one of the most powerful addictions known. Since its large-scale industrial production early in this century, the popularity of cigarettes is spreading like wildfire. It is seen in so many movies today. An actor lights up a cigarette on screen going about their lives. Usually certain people wouldn't stop to think twice about it because it has become something we are used to seeing almost every day. But how is seeing all of these smoking advertisements going to affect teenagers and adolescents? A concerned parent would think the smoking in movies puts cigarettes in a good light and encourages young people to start smoking. “The effect smoking has on a person is so extreme and awful, that there really is no reason cigarette smoking should be legal for anyone (Margaux).” Looking into the specific ingredients cigarettes contain, the possible harm to a smoker’s health should be almost an immediate trigger for them to stop. Nicotine and tobacco are the most commonly known substances related to cigarettes. But a large percentage of the population is completely oblivious there are still over 4,000 other compounds and mixtures within a cigarette. An average of 100 of these compounds is used just to filter the flavor and derive from the actual flavor of burning tar (Margaux). The chemicals in cigarettes are filtered, but the hazards effects are still present and are not diminished in anyway. “The most harmful compounds include nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide as well as formaldehyde ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, and arsenic” (Musebaby). So many compounds and mixtures are being added in order for the body to be able to keep up and tolerate these toxins. But once the cigarettes nicotine comes into place, the cause of addiction develops and it becomes much harder for a smoker to quit. The nicotine affects the way the brain produces and sends out pleasure to the rest of the body which are known as endorphin. Normally when the brain gets the signal of pain, stress or any form of uneasiness, the nicotine from the cigarette works to release endorphins from the pituitary gland and is sent to the pain receptors in the brain relieving from pain or stress (Margaux). Nicotine causes the brain to produce an excess amount of endorphins which the body becomes accustomed to. The most amount of damage is found in teenagers and young adults because their body and brains are not developed fully yet. The large amount of endorphins put the brain as well as the body at high risks of chemical structure changes (Maraguax). Unless that amount of nicotine use is maintained, the body will begin to feel withdrawal. The withdrawals people suffer from cigarettes are the most difficult to watch let alone experience. Although the symptoms are only temporarily the body’s nicotine withdrawal is unpleasant and stressful as they undergo high levels of anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, mild depression, dry mouth, headache and nausea (Margaux). “More than thirteen million smokers try to quit each year, but less than five percent of those who attempt it actually do” (Margaux). Tension and craving build up during periods of withdrawal, sometimes it is nearly irresistible for them to stay away depending on the amount they smoked on a usual basis. Some proponents of cigarette smoking argue that the choice to do so is part of one’s individual choice. People who do decide to become smokers claim they are guided by their own experience, observation, pleasure, and family history. The tobacco plant was grown and extremely valued by the Native American and was vital for hundreds of years. They believed the native tobacco had both religious and medical importance (Musbaby). Smokers tend to argue as well that it helps them think, calms their nerves, and eliminates fatigue. Efforts and regulations placed to control areas in which smokers can and cannot smoke are seen as unjust acts. “The law must be in line with the “constitution” of civilization and humankind” (Smoking Is a Matter of Choice). Diminishing cigarettes as a whole violates society’s right to privacy as it can be done within their own home reducing the possible harm of second-hand smoke. As well as eliminate a historical resource. The foremost important proponent argue, in the long run cigarette smoking has a great effect on the economic aspect of the country. The federal, state and local governments continue to pass laws that prohibit smoking in specific areas and makes smoking inconvenient for them in general, yet they haven’t tried to make it illegal. A vast percentage of employment comes for the production and manufacturing of cigarettes. The loss of income would have a severe effect on the economy and would have to be made up in other ways. Not including the large addition of unemployment that would occur from the tobacco industry if cigarette smoking was made illegal. Where would the money come from? The ultimate dispute advocates from the effect cigarettes have on the youth. The cigarette industry captivates and seduces the youth as easy targets. “A half century of aggressive promotion and sophisticated advertising that featured alluring role models from theater, film and sport, has invested the cigarette with an enticing imagery” (Musbaby). Through the imagery media has portrayed, the youth gets the stigma that cigarettes are ‘cool’. They will try their first cigarette or continue smoking cigarettes in order to fit in with friends, to become popular or because they are afraid to say no. Because teenagers are influenced by their peers and the attempt to educate the hazards of cigarettes from parents; teachers and health professionals have become unsuccessful. “There also has been research to show that the majority of smokers are sociable, impulsive, risk taking and excitement-seeking individuals” (Marguax). Cigarettes are one of the leading gate way drugs. A naïve, emotional, teenager is most likely to take high risks when experimenting with foremost dangerous drugs. “There is also research to show that cigarette addiction is very much like heroin addiction” (Maraguax). Through the entire chemical intake the youth is prone to experiencing years of sickness and disease. It has been documented medically that smoking is linked to hundreds of different diseases. Cigarettes affect the overall immune system which makes it difficult for the body to fight diseases, infection and even repair tissue. Cigarette use causes deteriorated air sacs in the lungs which is why lung cancer is most common linked to smoking. “The primary risks of tobacco usage include many forms of cancer, particularly lung cancer, cancer of the kidney, cancer of the larynx and head and neck cancer, breast cancer, bladder, esophagus, pancreas, and stomach” (Margaux). These do not include the horrible smell and the visible damage done by cigarettes which include, yellowing teeth, inflammation around the teeth gum disease, wrinkles, and circles around the eyes. Smoking results in bulk amounts of hospitals, clinics, and doctors, something an adult wouldn’t like to experience let alone a child. After a smoker decides to quit the possible costs associated with treatments for these conditions are unaffordable for the majority of the population. The pros for making cigarettes illegal outweigh the cons. The overall harm being done to a smoker’s individual health as well as the public health is so awful and unnecessary. Especially to those who choose not to smoke but are still exposed to second-hand smoke. The concern for the youth’s involvement in cigarettes is the most important for parents and families. Children are the future, but what if our future consisted of 770 million passive smokers? Which is the estimated amount for the year 2030 (Smoking Is a Matter of Choice). What type of future will these children have when exposed to such hazardous chemicals? The addiction to smoking has become a serious social issue as the high price of cigarettes leads to way too much suffering.
Margaux M. "Smoking Should Be Illegal." Teenink.com. N.p., 23 Mar. 2010. Web. 2 Dec. ssssssssss2012. Musebaby. "Should Cigarettes Be Made Illegal?" Hubpages.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. ssssssssss2012 "Smoking Is a Matter of Choice." Tobacco Facts. N.p., 01 Apr. 2010. <http://www.tobacco- hhhhhhhhfacts.net/2010/04/smoking-is-a-matter-of-choice> . Web. 11 Dec. 2012.