Health effects of Smoking Term Paper

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About 50 million people in the United States alone currently smoke a total of 570 billion cigarettes each year. In each one of these cigarettes there are around 4000 different chemicals, some of which are highly toxic. Nicotine, a main ingredient of tobacco smoke, is the most addictive drug known to man. Two main topics about smoking in general I would like to discuss are the various health effects of smoking and the anti-smoking actions which society has taken.

The American Cancer Society estimates that smoking is single handily responsible for about 419,000 deaths in the United States each year. Among the many cancer contributions to lung cancer amounts to 30% of all U.S. cancer deaths. The risks of dying of lung cancer deaths are 22 times higher for male smokers and 12 times higher for female smokers than for non-smokers. Among other types of cancers smokers are at increased risk for are cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas. Aside from cancer smoking also increases the risk of stroke by 50%. Not only are smokers killing themselves, every time they light up they are killing others as well. The effect of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on non-smokers is deadly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that exposure to ETS, which contains all the toxic agents that are inhaled by a smoker, causes 3000 cancer deaths per year in non-smokers.

The smoking habit almost always begins at an early age. In the U.S. over 70% of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18. Today about 6 million American teenagers smoke regularly. Despite the many restrictions on smoking in public areas plus the many known health hazards that we are aware of, the number of new teen smokers is doing nothing but rising. The only questions I can come up with is WHY?

The U.S. government has played an important role in regulating smoking. The United States first direct action taken towards minimizing smoking was the Surgeon General's warning printed on each cigarette pack which states " Warning! The Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health." Next in 1971 all cigarette advertising was bared from radio and television. Cities and States began to pass laws requiring non-smoking seating in public places and in the work place. As of February 1990 Federal law banned smoking on all domestic U.S. airline flights under six hours. As for the tobacco industry, they deny that there is a direct link between smoking and poor health and that nicotine is addictive. Maybe theses representatives should read the statistics which I stated earlier.

In conclusion, in all my research I have only found one good reason to smoke, to kill you. People do say smoking relieves stress and this is partly true, after all there is no stress when you're dead. All in all, if you smoke, stop and if you don't ever start.

-Andrew Candres

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