This paper reviews the age old argument regarding the use of tobacco and whether it is a harmful substance. An opinion will be presented towards the end concerning the banning of possession of tobacco from society. Arguments from both sides – that is, those that support the banning of tobacco possession and those against the banning – precede the final opinion. An analysis of the social and legal environment regarding tobacco usage is also reviewed. The paper begins with the nature and usage of tobacco in society.
Tobacco is extracted from plants for a variety of uses such as pesticides and medicines. However, the more renowned application of tobacco is for the purpose of consumption through chewing, smoking and snuffing ( Student's Encyclopi?? dia) and this will be the primary focus of this paper. Tobacco smoke contains a variety of chemicals, mainly nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Nicotine is the addictive component of tobacco. It is as potent and harmful as cocaine and heroin. The mood of an individual and the brain functioning and behavior is also changed after a nicotine dosage.
Tar is the factor that causes lung cancer and a variety of other diseases. And carbon monoxide when inhaled substitutes oxygen in the body and affects the proper working of the lungs (help with smoking). There has been a long standing debate on the issue of tobacco consumption and whether it is a harmful substance that causes various forms of cancer and an assortment of other diseases. I personally believe that tobacco is harmful and addictive and a menace, rather a parasite in today's society.
While tobacco manufacturers have led us to believe that it is a matter of personal choice and any one can quit if they so desire, that is not the case. My own experiences include spending time with peers who have been smoking for a prolonged period and wanting to quit for a number of years. Most of them have been unable to do so despite years of struggle. Based on my own observations, I believe that not only is tobacco harmful, it is fatal in the long run. And the pain that accompanies the death is tantamount to pure torture.
Therefore, I believe that tobacco usage should be banned domestically. To further illuminate my position, in case of any ambiguities, I present a statement by Victor L. Crawford, who was a trial lawyer for the tobacco industry: "One day I was sitting in one of the smoke-filled rooms in the Tobacco Institute – they all smoked – and thinking, My God, maybe we're on the wrong side of this issue, because I can hardly breathe! " (Crawford). Take the example of the United States of America.
More than four hundred thousand people die on a yearly basis due to cigarettes. Health care cost more than seventy five billion in 1998 due to cigarettes. In the year 2004, more than two million people started smoking and almost seventy percent of these were under eighteen years of age (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). These results just barely scratch the surface of the seriousness of the issue at hand and before proceeding to the rest of the arguments in favor of banning smoking, the views of tobacco advocates are presented first.
One of the most common arguments made by the people who are against banning tobacco substances (mostly the tobacco companies) is that tobacco usage is a matter of personal choice. They support this claim by claiming that the nicotine content in the cigarettes for example is very low and is not sufficient to cause addiction. As mentioned earlier, nicotine is the addictive factor in cigarettes and other tobacco products. However, according to a previous article in the Washington Post, tobacco companies have, over the period 1998 to 2004, increased the content of nicotine by an estimated ten per cent.
The greatest nicotine increases have been observed in brand names that are primarily targeted towards the youth (Brown). Another argument is that of the economic benefits provided by the tobacco industry. For example, nearly three million people were employed by the industry which also contributed over ninety five billion dollars in salaries and more than sixty four billion dollars in tax income for the government in the year 1994 (Friends of Tobacco).
Tobacco companies state that the vast amount of benefits provided by the industry cannot be overlooked or replicated by anyone. Finally, the tobacco industry has taken many steps to be viewed in a positive light. For example, the Canadian tobacco industry has planned to launch an increased campaign on their "no sales to minors" policy, and also offer some insight into the addictiveness (or lack) of tobacco (Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada).