Smoking is Bad

Smoking is Bad
According to the American Cancer Society, one in five deaths in the United States is a result of tobacco use. This statistic translates into over 400,000 smoking related deaths in the United States each year. From these two statistics alone it is obvious that smoking is bad. It is an epidemic that has been plaguing the United States since early settlers began growing the “stinking weed.” Earlier in the century people weren’t aware of the effects of tobacco, but now the facts speak for themselves and still several million people pick up the habit each year. Two million of these people are children, adolescents ages 11-17. Each day nearly 4,800 adolescents try smoking; of these, nearly 2,000 begin to smoke regularly. That adds up to almost two million teenagers annually.
Even pro smoking groups like the NSA (National Smokers Alliance) and the ASA (American Smokers Alliance) agree that smoking is unhealthy. What the NSA and similar groups are concerned about is the individual smoker’s freedom. Pro smoking groups feel that with public smoking bans and similar legislation smoker’s rights are being abolished. Which is probably a reality that the modern smoker is going to have to face. However, Big Tobacco still insists that smoking is not bad for your health. Even though they see all the same statistics as the general public and probably many of their own, they still refuse to admit the downsides of smoking (apart from the warning the surgeon general forces them to print on each pack of cigarettes). This is for a good reason though, like all business’ it comes down to the bottom line, profits. If tobacco
companies bashed their own product sales would plummet, and that’s the last thing a business wants to see.
The truth is, smoking claims over 400,000 lives per year in the United States alone. Almost half of all smokers die prematurely. The fact of the matter is that smoking can take up to 25 years off a person’s life. It is a documented fact that between Emphysema, lung cancer, and other smoking related diseases, the last few years of a dieing smoker’s life are agonizing. In some severe cases of emphysema people can’t even breath by themselves let alone talk. In these cases, the people need machines to do both. What’s even worse is that the tobacco companies aren’t just going after adults. They target their advertisements towards kids. 90% of new smokers are children and teenagers. This is for many reasons. Children are more impressionable than any other demographic, and if they get addicted early than there is a good chance Big Tobacco has a customer for life, instead of just a portion of that life. An example of this advertisement is the now banned Joe Camel. Joe Camel was a “cool” cartoon character created by Camel brand cigarettes to sell their product. The first problem with this ploy was the fact that “Joe” was a cartoon. Cartoons obviously attract kids. Secondly, the cartoon was drawn to be extremely smooth and cool something that adolescents and teenagers strive their entire lives to be. A broader example is the presence of attractive woman and men appearing on billboards and in magazines holding a cigarette and having such a great time. Who doesn’t want to be attractive and always having a good time?
This is an excerpt from an interview of a friend who is an avid smoker.
Q: When did you begin smoking?
A: When I was 11.
Q: How old are you now?
A: 19
Q: How often do you smoke?
A: I smoke a pack a day, a little more if there’s nothing to do at the firehouse.
Q: Have you noticed any ill effects in that time?
A: Well, last year I couldn’t finish the mile and now in the morning I can barely breath. I wake up gasping for air.

The excerpt speaks for itself, but obviously cigarettes have had a large effect on this man’s life. He can’t exercise without exhausting himself, he has trouble breathing sometimes he can’t at all, and during the interview he kept clearing his throat. It should also be said that this man is only five feet one inch tall. This may or may not be an effect of the cigarettes. All of these things come together and