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Negative Impacts of Smoking on Individuals and Society Essay

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Updated: Jan 13th, 2020

Introduction

Each cigarette smoked, shortens life by 11 minutes. It can affect the strength of bones and the color of teeth. Stamina gets reduced, owing to decreased blood circulation. Smoking is the root cause of different kinds of cancers, the most common being lung & throat cancer.

It also decreases our body immunity i.e. the power of body to resist illness. It also reduces fertility in men as well as women. It deprives the skin of oxygen and as a result, the skin loses its texture. Hence, a smoker will appear to be 5 years older than his/her non-smoking counterparts.

Tobacco consumption is an addiction similar to the addictions of alcohol, drugs or even sex for that matter. An addict of such habits cannot come out that easily. While efforts should be made to discourage such an addiction, such measures should be taken that keep the new generation spaced out. Then, we know that the problem is not incessant and the focus of the approach can be centralized. This would make the job a lot easier.

The main culprits of spreading this addiction are the tobacco products manufacturing companies. They should maintain some code of conduct. But their profits are based on the sufferings of others. I am saying this because an addict doesn’t buy the product out of choice, but out of compulsion and addiction.

The companies are to blame for promoting the tobacco products in a deceptive manner. If at all any tobacco manufacturing company wants to promote its products, it should be based on facts. The hazardous side effects of smoking should be highlighted in their advertisement campaigns.

A simple mention of “Smoking kills” or “Smoking is injurious to health” on the packs is not enough. Moreover, they should respect the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). But despite restrictions to entice teenagers, their marketing is such that the youngsters are allured to try out smoking. The “cowboy” campaign of Marlboro cigarettes is a paradigm. Due to this campaign, the sales of the company increased manifolds.

Smokers’ diseases and higher death rate by smoking

Smoking has an ill effect on almost all the parts of a human body. In general, smoking leads to deteriorating health conditions of smokers. According to reliable sources, smoking has lead to “269,655 deaths among males and 173,940 deaths among females in the United States” (Adhikari et al, 2008, par. 3).

Ira Ockene claims that, “As many as 30% of all coronary disease (CHD) deaths in the United States each year are attributable to cigarette smoking, with the risk being strongly dose-related. Smoking also nearly doubles the risk of ischemic stroke” (Ockene, par. 1).

Chronic bronchitis is one of the most common diseases found in smokers. Patricia Macnair claims that, “Smoking is the most important cause of chronic bronchitis” (Macnair, par. 8).

A claim made by the authors of an article is very astonishing in the sense that, “The adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States” (“Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking” par. 2). A table depicting the annual death rates caused by smoking is at Appendix 1.

Passive smoking affects non-smokers

Passive smoking is as dangerous as smoking. Besides inhaling the dangerous smoke, the smokers exhale the remnant smoke. This smoke is also very dangerous when it mixes with the surrounding environment and goes into the lungs of the non-smokers, making them passive smokers. “Evidence suggests that exposure to secondhand smoke also can result in adverse health effects, including heart disease in non-smoking adults” (Institute of Medicine, 2009, 1).

Non-smokers’ diseases and death rate caused by passive smoking

Jinot and Bayard found “suggested evidence in the data that passive smoking may be associated with lung cancer (OR = 2.01, p<0.03 for a one-sided test), but that is based only on the crude odds ratio in unmatched data and needs to be confirmed by a more thorough evaluation of the data” (A-102). A subsequent study was conducted and Jinot and Bayard claim that the results showed that “any effect of passive smoking on risk of lung cancer or other smoking-associated disease is at most quite small, if it exists at all” (A-104).

Medical cost and insurance caused by smoking and passive smoking

Just to put forth the quantum of money involved in the treatment of smoking related disease, a study conducted by McGhee et al can be very informative. McGhee et al conducted a research that showed that in Hong Kong (in the year 1998), “The annual value of direct medical costs, long term care and productivity loss was US $532 million for active smoking and US $156 million for passive smoking; passive smoking accounted for 23% of the total costs” (McGhee et al, 2006). The study further claims that “Adding the value of attributable lives lost brought the annual cost to US $9.4 billion” (McGhee et al, 2006).

Governmental efforts to reduce the smoking rate

A majority of health effects of smoking were known almost 40 years back. However, governments were moderate to react to the increasing health hazards. Even though there are many strategies (anti-tobacco strategies) being developed by the nations across the globe, the smoking-related deaths continue to escalate. Now there is a general understanding that in order to decrease smoking rates considerably, governments need to embrace a complete new approach to control tobacco. This might as well incorporate a variety of measures.

Like, a boycott of tobacco promoting and advertising; restraints on smoking out in the public places and in the work environment; increase in tobacco taxation clubbed with measures to check pirating; huge and striking health warnings on tobacco features; smoking discontinuance and health training crusades; and to follow the guidelines agreed by the health community rather than the people in the tobacco business. Strict laws should be enacted instead of waiting for voluntary control on smoking.

Given the huge trouble that smoking places on health department, governments in advanced countries have reacted by presenting an array of tobacco control measures. On the contrary, the less developed countries have shown greater and effective results of their campaigns against smoking. So there is a lot to learn for governments of developed nations. A global treaty to contain tobacco trade can be very effective in reducing the diseases and loss of lives.

Following are some of the initiatives that can be taken by the government.

Public information campaigns

Society can participate at par with the government in such campaigns. Awareness about the perilous side effects of smoking should be spread at a warfront level.

Higher prices

This policy has been tried by a few countries and the results were encouraging. The logic behind this, in my opinion, is that in adolescence, the children have limited pocket money and if there is a price rise, they will be left with no option than to reduce their smoking.

Total ban on advertisements

As mentioned earlier, the “cowboy” campaign gave such a masculine effect that people were mad about Marlboro. If, at that time, the campaign would not have been approved by the government, today, for sure, the number of smoking addicts would have been much less. The government should learn from its past follies and put a ban on any sort of advertisements regarding tobacco products.

More health warnings with emotional touch

“Man is a social animal”. He is attached to his family and friends with so many emotional strings. If the health warnings touch these emotional strings, it will definitely create a positive impact and people will try to keep themselves away from the hazards of smoking.

Ban on smoking at public places

Success in today’s world means progress. Progress means to be on the run for better prospects. Better prospects can’t be achieved sitting at home. A person has to spend most of his time in public places; office, railway platform, bus station, etc. So if smoking is banned at public places, automatically the quantum of smoking will be reduced.

Celebrities should be involved

People are greatly impressed by celebrities and their life styles. So if celebrities are involved in anti-smoking campaigns, I am sure it will help in achieving the motive to a great extent.

Conclusion

In concluding this paper, it is understood that whatever said and done, the main responsibility rests on the government and the society. The government should take stern measures to uproot this evil. The society also has a major role to play in rooting out this evil.

Adolescence is the time when most of the habits are developed. This period is most crucial for the development of a human being’s personality. If certain evils are kept away from him throughout this period, it is quite possible that the person will remain aloof from inculcating a habit of such things. In my opinion, the age limit for the consumption of tobacco products should be 21 years. For addicts, quitting smoking is a battle that can be won by controlling the urge and by having a strong will power.

Annotated Bibliography

Adhikari, B. Kahende, J. Malarcher, A. Pechacek, T. and Tong, V. (2008). “Smoking – Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses – United States, 2000 – 2004.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 57(45), 1226-1228. Print.

“Smoking – Attributes Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses – United States, 2000 – 2004” is a report compiled by B. Adhikari, J. Kahende, A. Malarcher, T. Pechacek, and V. Vong. The report is part of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report is very informative and up to date. The authors have also provided a table that shows the annual deaths and estimates of smoking-attributable mortality (SAM), years of potential life lost (YPLL), and productivity losses, by sex and cause of death. The results pertain to the United States from the year 2000 to 2004.

Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking 2010. Web.

The article “Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking”, sponsored by the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’, makes the reader to comprehend the various ill-effects of smoking. The author has also included some astonishing facts and figures of smoking-related diseases.

Even though the author hasn’t gone into the depth of everything, the article definitely includes a detailed list of the diseases associated with smoking. Since the targeted audience for this article is the layman, the language used in this article is very simple and explanatory. The author has used some authenticated sources for getting the information included in the article.

Institute of Medicine 2009, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence. PDF file.

The article “Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence” is a report published by the Institute of Medicine, in 2009. In addition to educating the reader about the serious hazards of smoking, like coronary heart disease, the report also includes the reports on the effects of ban on smoking.

According to the report, there has been a reduction in the heart attack cases due to the implementation of prohibition on smoking. One negative aspect of the report is that due to the fewer quanta of available data, the effect of the ban on non-smokers could not be established. Further research includes the effects of indoor smoking prohibitions.

Jinot, Jennifer, and S. Bayard. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders, Washington, D.C.: Diane Publishing. 1993. Print.

The authors, Jennifer Jinot and Steven Bayard, wrote the book “Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders” in the year 1993. The book is very informative as far as the physical and chemical aspects of the cigarette smoke are concerned.

The authors have given in-depth details about all such properties. The author’s view (in fact, findings) about passive smoking is that the passive smokers are not affected to a great extent by passive smoking. According to them, the effect is very nominal. The authors have also included some studies in their book and have used the data to arrive at certain conclusions; the one on passive smoking is one of them.

McGhee, SM, LM Ho, HM Lapsley, J Chau, WL Cheung, SY Ho, M Pow, TH Lam and AJ Hedley. “Cost of Tobacco-related Diseases, Including Passive Smoking, in Hong Kong.” Tobacco Control 15.2. (2006): 125-130. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web.

The journal titled, “Cost of Tobacco-related Diseases, Including Passive Smoking, in Hong Kong” has been written by the authors, SM McGhee, LM Ho, HM Lapsley, J CHau, WL Cheung, SY Ho, M Pow, TH Lam and AJ Hedley. The authors aim to bring forth the details of expenses incurred by the government in treating the smokers and the passive smokers.

The journal is a well written one and includes information from reliable sources. The authors believe that the expenses incurred on the smokers and the passive smokers are a total loss to the society and as such, the government should take stern steps to curb this menace.

Works Cited

Adhikari, B. Kahende, J. Malarcher, A. Pechacek, T. and Tong, V. (2008). “Smoking – Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses – United States, 2000 – 2004.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 57(45), 1226-1228. Print.

, 2010. Web.

Institute of Medicine 2009, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence. 2013. Web.

Jinot, Jennifer, and S. Bayard. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders, Washington, D.C.: Diane Publishing. 1993. Print.

Macnair, Patricia. n.d. Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema and COPD (‘Smoker’s Lung’). Web.

McGhee, SM, LM Ho, HM Lapsley, J Chau, WL Cheung, SY Ho, M Pow, TH Lam and AJ Hedley. “Cost of Tobacco-related Diseases, Including Passive Smoking, in Hong Kong.” Tobacco Control 15.2. (2006): 125-130. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web.

Ockene, Ira. . Web.

Appendix

Table - Annual deaths and estimates of smoking-attributable mortality.

Source: – United States, 2000-2004. Web.

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