Editorial: Smoking Should Be Illegal

Benji Keeler, Reporter

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Imagine a teen hanging out with her friends. She excuses herself and steps outside to indulge in her unhealthy addiction, a cigarette. She isn’t thinking of the health risks each cigarette brings. It never came to mind that each puff she takes shortens her life. The thought of becoming one of the 480,000 Americans that die from smoking each year never occurs to her.

Smoking is extremely harmful and should be illegal.

Nicotine, a chemical compound in cigarettes, is highly addictive, and cigarettes are extremely difficult to quit according to the American Heart Association. Nicotine quickly reaches the brain when it is inhaled and send a feeling of relaxation. Your mood and heart rate are also elevated, but these feelings are only temporary, which leaves the smoker craving another cigarette. When smokers crave more and more cigarettes, they go through what they have quickly, leading to them buying more.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more than 16 million Americans living with a disease caused by smoking, and more than 480,000 die each year. Of those 480,000, over 41,000 die from secondhand smoke, which is about 1,300 deaths daily just from being around someone with a cigarette in their mouth. Additionally, smokers tend to die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Researchers from the University of Bristol reports that scientists calculated that each cigarette takes off an average of 11 minutes of life.  

There are many diseases caused by smoking, many which prove to be deadly. Approximately 44% of CHD (coronary heart disease) death rates have gone down from 1980-2000. According to The American Heart Association, this can be attributed to the decrease in risk factors, such as the quitting of smoking.

The smoke from cigarettes is the burning tobacco and chemicals added to make smoking more pleasant. These chemicals cause diseases such as cancer. Smoking is the leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. There are radioactive materials in cigarettes, because of the fertilizer that farmers use to increase the size of their tobacco crops contains the naturally occurring radionuclide. According to the American Cancer Society the cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals in it, around 70 of which are known cause cancer. When someone is smoking, not only are they hurting themselves, but also those around them. Almost half (48.5%) the deaths from 12 different types of cancer combined are attributed to smoking.

The cigarette industry is huge, therefore making cigarettes illegal would be extremely difficult, but if you know someone who smokes, try to get them to quit. Smoking is deadly and we aren’t invincible. Convince them that what they are doing is hurting them and others, you could save their life. Contact local members of Congress such as Pennsylvania’s Senators Robert Casey and Pat Toomey to try and put an end to smoking.