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SHOULD CIGARETTE SMOKING BE BANNED?

Introduction

Cigarette, a long cylindrical roll of tobacco has been smoked by men for centuries. However, due to the fact that it has been the cause of several debilitating diseases, there have long been calls for it to be banned. In recent times, the calls for a total ban on cigarette smoking especially in public places has become more strident. Yet, there are many that feel that a ban on cigarette smoking would be out of place. What are the facts? Should cigarette manufacturing and smoking be banned outright?

The Health Hazards commonly associated with Cigarette Smoking

Cigarette smoking is known to cause several devastating diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, oral cancer, high blood pressure, and birth defects among women who smoked during pregnancy. Cigarettes are also known to cause frequent fire outbreaks in homes. Governments all over the world have either proposed or are already implementing a range of measures designed to cause a downward slope in the consumption of cigarettes. Such measures include increased taxation on tobacco products, bans on advertisement, increase in the size of areas where smoking is prohibited, and the promotion of an outright ban on its production and consumption.

Cigarette smoking is known to kill about half of the smokers, reducing their life spans by about 14 years on the average and killing 6 million people worldwide every year. In the United States, 400,000 smokers die yearly from smoking related diseases and a further 50,000 non-smokers from passive or second hand smoking. In China, about 1.2 million people die yearly from smoking cigarette. Cigarettes contain about 7000 ingredients including nicotine which is very addictive and almost 70 of those ingredients are carcinogenic.

Arguments for and against Ban on Cigarette Smoking

The case for an outright ban on cigarette smoking seems to be very strong. However, there are those who argue to the contrary. Those who argue against a ban on cigarette smoking propose a range of arguments such as cigarette not being the only consumable that is lethal to human life. They say that junk food is also carcinogenic and that a ban on cigarette smoking should also mean a ban on fast-food restaurants that sell junk food. Equally, they argue that the right of smokers to choose what they consume will be compromised by a ban and that public warnings as to the dangers of smoking should suffice. Some argue that guns, alcohol and exhaust from car engines and industrial pollutants are equally as damaging to human health as cigarettes and should also be banned in the event of a ban on cigarette smoking. Yet others insist that tobacco industry creates jobs and revenue for governments.

Some go as far as insisting that cigarette smoking has not been proven beyond any reasonable doubt to be the cause of lung cancer. The tobacco industry generates about 35 billion US dollars in the United States and tobacco industry chieftains are known to wield considerable influence on government thereby blocking many of the moves targeted at either reducing the scale of production and consumption of cigarettes or placing an outright ban.

Conclusion

No matter how strong the arguments of those that oppose outright ban on cigarette smoking, the hard facts are that cigarette smoking kills an unacceptable number of people yearly and the argument that it is within the rights of smokers to choose to smoke is rather mute considering the fact that cigarette smoking kills thousands of non-smokers as well from second-hand smoking. Therefore, an outright ban on cigarette smoking seems to be logical.

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