Should Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Be Banned?

Should Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Be Banned?


The statistics acknowledges that about half of all Americans who die from cancer are smokers. Cigarette smoking affects every organ of the body, causes various diseases and reduces the health of smokers (Pinsky, Church, Izmirlian, & Kramer, 2013). Invented centuries ago, the tobacco has a long history and the cigarette has established itself as a leading cause in destruction the primary functions of the entire body. The paper argues that although many people feel relaxed when smoking, it has turned into a controversial issue in recent years and the cigarettes and other tobacco products should totally be banned as these can lead to a person’s death from cancer or other ailments.

The History of Smoking

The tobacco has grown on Earth for eight thousand years before people started using the leaves of this plant for chewing and smoking. The pioneers of tobacco using were the Mayan civilization who lived in Central America. Primarily, the tobacco leaves were used by Mayans as care for wounds and the means to reduce pain. Moreover, smoking played an important part in their religious rituals; for instance, when a priest smoked a pipe on the ruined temples (Burns, 2007). Afterwards, when the Mayan civilization vanished, the Mississippi Indians in North America also started using tobacco for the religious and cultural purposes in their pipes.

Centuries later, when a famous explorer Christopher Columbus landed in 1492 in America, the astonished native Arawaks, who thought he was a God, greeted him and presented him and his crew with various gifts including wild fruits and dried leaves. However, Columbus threw the leaves away. When Rodrigo de Jerez and Luis Torres a year after landed on the Caribbean Island of Cuba, they observed people smoking tobacco leaves as well. Indeed, Jerez is considered the first European who distributed the tobacco over the European area. The tobacco products spread so fast that in the middle of XVI century Brazil actively grew the tobacco for commercial export to France, Spain and Cuba (Burns, 2007).

In several decades, the cigarette or pipe smoking transformed into the original exotic commodity and established in Europe before tea and coffee drinking and even before chocolate and sugar. By the start of the XX century, smoking has become an indispensable part of life in many counties. It was especially popular with soldiers and workers. Nowadays, the tobacco is grown is 120 countries worldwide and smoking has become a part of everyday life (Burns, 2007). The tobacco obsession boosts the emergence of various companies that produce cigarettes. However, enhancing a high revenue business, abusing cigarettes has become one the deadliest artefact in the history of humanity, as it killed approximately 100 million people only in 20th century.

The Founder of Cigarettes

The author of Tobacco in History Jordan Goodman acknowledges that although people have smoked for thousands of years, the person responsible for the 20th Century phenomenon well known as a cigarette is James Buchanan Duke. This man contributed not only to the creation of the modern cigarette, he also led the tobacco business to success on every continent. At the age of 24, in 1880, Duke started working in a tobacco business of ready-rolled cigarettes (Burns, 2007). First, it was a small team of future entrepreneurs twisting and sealing the ends of cigarettes in North Carolina by hands. After the two years, Duke started collaborating with a mechanic named James Bonsack. Both men came to conclusion that people would like smoking neatly-rolled and perfectly symmetrical machine cigarettes. The young engineer mechanized the manufacturing process and completely revolutionized the cigarette industry.

Since the young businessmen produced more rolled cigarettes than they could sell, they decided to spend money on promotion. The modern looking and more hygienic rolls appealed to people; however, a big amount of tobacco was still chewed or smoked through the pipes. Duke, a heavy smoker by himself, decided to promote the usage of rollups in public places, such as restaurants and drawing rooms. The peculiar feature that distinguished the cigarettes from the pipes was the comfort in lighting up. Therefore, the ease in usage and the efficacious promotion appealed to the public more than pipes.

Primarily, the cigarettes were promoted as beneficial for health. Until 1906, doctors prescribed them as an effective treatment for tuberculosis, coughs and colds (Burns, 2007). Therefore, the Duke’s rolls spread overseas and their market continues to rise until present.

Many people blame Duke for making the people smoking cigarettes and for the health issues that occur now due to the high tobacco consumption. However, Duke is not the person to accuse of the spread of tobacco in the world as he only popularized one of the products made from it. Moreover, he has done many of good deeds that should be considered. For example, he donated more than $100 million to Trinity College in North Carolina, which is now called Duke University (Burns, 2007). Moreover, he is an outstanding personality in terms of his deep understanding of the human wishes, their phycology and a good knowledge of the marketing industry.

Tobacco Statistic & Facts

Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of illnesses and deaths in the United States. Among the illnesses triggered by the nicotine are chronic lung diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema, heart disease, pregnancy-related issues and other health problems. The statistics and facts about the cigarette smoking are astonishing. For example, every day more than 3, 200 underage people try smoking cigarettes and nearly 75% of them become daily smokers. Another shocking fact is that one out of five adults and teenagers in the USA smokes. Moreover, approximately 19% of seniors and college students are avid smokers. However, fortunately, between 1962 to 2014, the proportion of adult smokers decreased from 42% to 18%.

The next data concern the health issues that may occur after smoking tobacco cigarettes. The first surprising detail is that more than 16 million people have at least one disease that occurred from regular smoking. Since 1964, more than 20 million Americans have died because of smoking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). What is more, approximately 3 million have died due to the exposure of secondhand tobacco consuming. The average age of the smokers who die is 13 to 14 years less than people who do not smoke. Nowadays, almost 9 million people suffer from serious illnesses caused by smoking.

The healthcare providers acknowledge the fact that almost all lung diseases are triggered by smoking (Pinsky et al., 2013). Besides, the scientists conclude that nicotine causes nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers. In addition, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) enhances in 8 out of 10 people who smoke cigarettes, especially in women. It is reported that more than 11% of teenagers in the United States suffer from asthma that is developed from direct or secondhand smoking.

The cancer studies have shown that tobacco consuming causes various types of cancer, such as cancer of the mouth, nasal cavity, pancreas, esophagus, kidney, bladder and cervix (Pinsky et al., 2013). The male avid smokers may develop a prostate cancer faster in comparison to nonsmokers. What is more, people who smoke are more bound to obtain diabetes II disorder (Cantrell et al, 2013). The last surprising fact concerns the fertility rate. The statistics shows that 18 million males older than 20 suffer from erectile dysfunction, as the nicotine from the cigarettes alters blood flow necessary for the normal functioning of sexual organs.

The Risks of Smoking

The main contribution from tobacco to people’s health issues is the chemicals that the rolls contain. First, the harmful substances from nicotine and resin contribute to inflammation and boost plaque buildup in the arteries. Another risk for human health that occurs form smoking is the damage of blood vessel walls and making them less stretchy (Miller et al, 2004). As a result, they become narrow and trigger the increase of cholesterol level. Moreover, the majority of smokers are inclined to suffering from abnormal heart rhythms, as nicotine raises the blood pressure and heartrate, making the heart work harder than in normal conditions. Another jeopardy from the unhealthy habit is the decrease of HDL, which is considered a “good” cholesterol level, and the increase of LDL, “bad” cholesterol. Consequently, the main risk for the blood vessels is that the cigarettes thicken the blood and make it harder for the vessels to transmit oxygen.

Not only have the cigarettes caused the issues in blood vessels, but also became a major risk factor of a heart disease and Peripheral Artery Disease (Miller et al, 2004). The fact that it leads to atherosclerosis and adds to the risk of dying from heart attack is commonly known. The statement that Peripheral artery disease is bound to mostly affect people who smoke is also true. However, there are other, often disregarded, but not less harmful risks, such as secondhand cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke risks.

As far as a secondhand smoke is concerned, it contains the same harmful chemicals that people inhale while smoking. It also damages the heart and blood vessels and increases the risk of a heart attack and even death. Besides, the risk of passive smoking is high for premature babies who are prone to having asthma when born.

Cigar or pipe smoking are believed to have a lower level of risk factors of damaging the heart and blood vessels. However, the smoke from cigars and pipes contains the same substances as the smoke from cigarettes. Thus, people who prefer cigars to regular cigarettes are also under the risk of heart failure.

Hence, when thinking of trying to smoke, people should always remember that those who do not smoke live on average 10 years longer than the smokers. Moreover, the refusal from smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from the related diseases by 90% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). These facts should be inspirational for nonsmokers.

Number of People Die from Cigarettes Each Year

Despite thousands of programs implemented to reduce smoking and the media stories on the danger of tobacco usage, cigarettes continue to be the most hazardous habit that leads to deaths of millions of people annually. The mortality rate among smokers in the USA is three times higher than that of nonsmokers. The major problems, which lead to death, are related to smoking diseases, such as cancer or respiratory and vascular illnesses. The nicotine cigarettes smoking causes one of five deaths in the USA every year. Moreover, it is estimated to be the reason of more than 480, 000 deaths annually, 278, 544 male and 201, 773 female deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013).

The high risk to die from cancer is not only present for direct chain-smokers. The statistics claim that the secondhand smoking causes 7,333 annual deaths from lung cancer and 33, 951 from heart diseases. Moreover, women are more vulnerable to diseases caused by smoking. The number of women who consume tobacco increased by 500% between 1960 -1990 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). However, the scientists reckon that the number of smoking women and men can reduce by the end of 2020 due to the increase in the number of victims and the constant advertisement of healthy life style.


Cigarette smoking has become a global epidemic among people worldwide. It poses serious health issues to youth and adults in the USA and all over the world and has substantial implications for the public economics and health. The impact of cigarette smoking is undeniable. Although the number of smokers has been slowly decreasing during the last decade, the fact that one in four high school students is a smoker remains a considerable threat. Cigarettes are a legal consumer product in the world that leads one-half of their abusers to death. While this addiction continues to rise among people, the primary prevention focusing on youth and young adults is required. The government should implement the actions in their policy, which can drastically reduce the level of consuming tobacco products and decrease the number of smoking people in the country and in this way save millions of lives.

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