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Should the United States Ban Tobacco?

Cigarettes+remain+a+public+health+risk.++
Cigarettes remain a public health risk.

Cigarettes remain a public health risk.

Photo by Max Pixel

Photo by Max Pixel

Cigarettes remain a public health risk.

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Controversy surrounding the use of tobacco cigarettes has been ingrained in society ever since the first Surgeon General’s report on Tobacco use. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of tobacco prevails as the most substantial cause of disease and death in the United States, terminating the lives of over 480,000 Americans each year. Along with this fact, a question arises: should tobacco be banned in the United States?

Those who are against banning cigarettes believe that individuals hold the freedom to do what they see fit when it comes to their own body. They believe that the government is, to a certain extent, threatening their rights as American citizens. Banning smoking altogether would likely induce a system of illegal tobacco trade, similar to the incessant, illegal trade of marijuana. Illegal trade of tobacco could dramatically increase the American crime rate, filling significantly more jail cells.

On the other side of the argument lies those who argue for a prohibition of cigarettes.  They cite the astounding harms that smoking can cause to support their position.  A single smoke contains thousands of chemicals, most of which are still unknown. Moreover, long-term cigarette smoking has been proven to increase an individual’s chance of developing many potentially fatal illnesses, such as cancer, heart attacks, and lung disease. An abounding number of people are also concerned with the potentially fatal effects of secondhand cigarette smoke, which kills upwards of 40,000 people each year. Falling victim to tobacco addiction breaks apart homes, entire families, and relationships. Upon one’s first puff of cigarettes smoke, the horror of addiction, withdrawal, and illness associated is inconceivable.

As junior Kassidy Angelo said, “smoking can cause severe long term effects such as lung cancer, that ultimately leads to death. It is without a doubt a really bad thing to do #tobaccofreeflorida.”

Another junior, Ethan Berman, agreed; “cigarettes are killing machines,” he said.

In the essence of compromise, perhaps rather than banning cigarettes smoking altogether, the sale and use should be more highly regulated. However, banning smoking in public areas nationwide, including all restaurants, is long overdue. Although this could have some effect on the freedom and rights of smokers, the relative moral imperative of preventing the effects second-hand smoke and discouraging the use of cigarettes should be prioritized.  

Sources: CNN, CDC, Tobacco Control, Livestrong, MarketWatch, The Daily Beast

Photo Source: Max Pixel

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Should the United States Ban Tobacco?