April 20, 2011
No Cigarettes, No Smoking
The harm of smoking is a hot issue which has being discussed in many countries for a long time. There are 1.2 billion of smokers in this world, which is one-fifth of the world population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that adult male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lost 14.5 years of life because of smoking. Even though people know that cigarette is bad for health, they still have freedom of smoking. Nowadays, both producing and smoking cigarettes are still free choices especially in America because as Americans we first protect our freedoms and the government gives us rights to choose our own ways of life include the free market economy for producing cigarettes and the freedom of smoking. But cigarettes have nothing good for health. It not only kills the smokers themselves but also harms the non-smokers by breathing second-hand smokers, which should be considered as murder. So governments should make law to stop producing cigarettes completely. Smoking cigarettes may increase the risk of many health problems. According to the 1982 United States Surgeon General's report, "Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality [death] in the United States." Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of 90% of lung cancers which is one of the hardest cancers to treat and others cancers in the mouth, larynx, esophagus, kidney. It may also cause heart disease, aneurysms and stroke, etc. Besides, breathing secondhand smoke is also harmful, just like the 2006 US Surgeon General's report said that the secondhand smoke kills children and adults who don't smoke. So, we should find a way to save the lives of the smokers and protect the non-smokers from smoking. There are already variety ways to control smoking, but none of these ideas can stop smoking completely. For example, people think schools should teach kids and teenagers about the harms of smoking because education is the best way to keep their children out of reach of cigarettes. All the high schools in United States have health class which teaches teenagers the health problems that would caused by smoking. I remember that when I was in high school, we had two speakers telling us their smoking experiences. They are two old men who had smoked for many years and when they talked to us, they had to breathe through a hole in their throat. After that class, I felt that I hate smoking much more than before, and I believed that class would help motivate teenagers to get away from cigarettes. However, there are still many teenage smokers who don’t care enough about their own health, they just want to get the short term excitement but never think about the long term effects. According to Harris’s statement in "The Tipping Point", even early education of dangers of smoking doesn't work so well. "Telling teenagers about the health risks of smoking — It will make you wrinkled! It will make you impotent! It will make you dead! — is useless" (The Tipping Point 249). This tells us another truth which is that children don’t care about what adults are saying, but what they are doing. It is impossible for adults to produce and smoke cigarettes, and teach the children not to smoke at the same time. Tobacco products in the UAE found another way to discourage smoking. They carry graphics of blackened lungs and a hemorrhaged-impacted brain on cigarette packs to warn the smokers about the dangers of smoking. This is only a reminder of the dangers of smoking but not an action to stop it. Smokers will buy cigarettes no matter what graphic is on the pack, and the problem of smoking will be still there unsolved. Making law to ban smoking seems like a good idea and many governments have doing it. Singapore is the best example of smoking ban and it has been extended to almost all the public places. According to the present law of smoking ban in Singapore, “Smokers found flouting the rules are fined a minimum S $200 Singapore dollar up to a maximum of S$1000 if convicted in court, while the managers of the establishments are fined S$200 for a first offence, and S$500 for a subsequent offence.” This idea is much better than others. But the problem is that no matter what punishment is it, if someone wants to have a cigarette, they will always find a place to smoke. Besides the examples that I mentioned above, in Gladwell’s book, he also states many other things that people have tried for controlling smoking. “The anti-smoking movement has focused, so far, on raising cigarette prices, curtailing cigarette advertising, running public health messages on radio and television, limiting access of cigarettes to minors, and drilling anti-tobacco messages into schoolchildren.”(TP 250) If any of these ideas have been worked out, we won’t be discussing smoking issue now. I believe that all the methods include the anti-smoking movement are helpful to control smoking and discourage people to smoke less. But we have to face the truth which is that once there are people producing cigarettes, there will be people smoking. In fact cigarette is the guilty agent and it should not be produced. Thus, stop producing cigarettes is the only solution to solve the smoking problem thoroughly and save people’s lives. In the past, we have to use many different ways to discourage smoking because people smoke for different reasons. But if there’s no cigarette in this planet, people who smoke for relieving stress and boosting mood will find other healthy activities to do to relax themselves instead of smoking. Many teenagers who smoke because they’re curious, want to try something dangerous, or to act like adults, won’t have these kinds of thoughts at all if no one around them smoke. And for the heavy smokers who are already addicted and failed to quit smoking, there will be no more temptation. Since here is a solution which can solve all the problems at one time, why don’t we try it? Stop producing cigarettes will affect the benefits of the Cigarettes Company producers and the governments, and it may also lead to unemployment in tobacco industry, so it is the governments’ responsibility to make a law of it to lead and urge all the people include the producers and the smokers to practice together and make this solution works. Although it is not an easy thing to do and it must take long time to be done, we should start from small step and make it come true, because no matter which country we are from, as human we suppose to have at least one common value that health is much more important than material benefits, in fact it is the most important thing in everyone’s life.
Downs, Martin. "Making the Decision to Quit Tobacco Health Information - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment - NY Times Health." Health News - The New York Times. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. . Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. Boston: Back Bay, 2002. Web. "Secondhand Smoke." American Cancer Society :: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. Web. 26 Apr. 2011. .