Should Cigarettes Be Banned
Cigarettes are harmful; but whether or not they should be banned is a question that individuals and politicians have debated for a long time. Cigarettes should not be banned, much like any other substance that is harmful including alcohol should not be banned. Rather, the public should be educated about the dangers of cigarettes, and taught how to regulate consumption. Stricture regulation may help regulate cigarette use and discourage the use of cigarettes among young people, who are more at risk for damaging effects of cigarette use. Advertisers may be penalized for targeting young users. Higher taxes may be imposed on using cigarettes. These are all measures that can help curb cigarette use.
Facts on Cigarettes
In the US alone cigarettes kill roughly 443,000 people each year, or just under ½ a million people (Singer, 2013). Each year over six trillion cigarettes are sold throughout the world to cigarette smokers; that means that throughout the world more than six million people will die from smoking cigarettes (Singer, 2013). If one calculates the cost of smoking, one will find that more people will die from smoking than the combined averages from deaths from other diseases including from traffic incidents, deaths from diseases including AIDS and deaths from infection y malaria (Singer, 2013). In China alone cigarettes kill one out of every ten people each year (Singer, 2013). This causes one to pause and wonder whether cigarettes are deadly enough to ban. Despite these statistics, cigarettes should not be banned, because there are many other substances that like, cigarettes, are bad for a person’s health when used inappropriately, but cannot be banned.
Food also kills; yet food is not banned. Obesity is a major killer. Worldwide according to the World Health Organization (2013) obesity kills more than 2.8 million people each year. It is the world’s 5th major killer, and causes secondary health problems that can also kill, including heart disease and diabetes. This can lead to major chronic health problems, much like smoking can lead to other chronic health problems including emphysema. Yet, food cannot be banned, because it is considered essential to life. Other items, including alcohol, when abused, are also not banned. People always have a free choice, and free will. People can choose to consume food in a healthy manner, or they can choose to abuse food and use it in an addictive manner. People can choose to consume alcohol moderately, or they can abuse it and it can become an addiction.
Cigarettes by nature are more habit-forming than food and alcohol. However, when people are educated about the dangers of using cigarettes, they always have a choice to decide whether to use cigarettes or to refrain from using them. Just like using alcohol, smoking cigarettes does not have to become an addiction. There are other forms of tobacco, including cigar or pipe smoke, that people can enjoy on a moderate or very infrequent basis. There is always a choice to use something in moderation. In the earliest forms, tobacco smoke was something that was done socially and communally, rather than something that was done as an addiction, the way it is done today. Cigarette smoking should be something that is left to the choice of the consumer. However, consumers should be well-appraised of the very real risk that they may die, and suffer very terrible consequences if they smoke. This risk is not made readily apparent, and seems like something minimal to most smokers when they start smoking. Making this risk more obvious may curb the habit-forming potential of cigarettes to most users if more money is put into education rather than the sales of cigarettes.
- Singer, P. (2013). Should We Ban Cigarettes. Project Syndicate: A World of Ideas. Retrieved October 31, 2013 from: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/should-we-ban-cigarettes
- WHO. (2013). Obesity and Overweight. World Health Organization. Retrieved October 31, 2013 from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/