Smoking: The Not So Sneaky Killer

by Sarah Norris on February 21, 2014

The blatant health risks associated with smoking cigarettes have been well known for years, yet many chose to ignore them out of pure ignorance towards their own well being. Not only does smoking cigarettes greatly increase the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer, it harms nearly every organ in your body. With information like this so readily available I feel that there is no excuse for any one to begin smoking cigarettes. Many years ago it was a common occurrence in society and the risks were not known; it was merely another aspect of the social scene. Now, it is inexcusable and harmful not only to those who make the grave decision to smoke, but to those around them forced to suffer through their secondhand smoke.

Many accredited groups such as the US Environmental Protection Agency have classified secondhand smoke as a “known human carcinogen.” When individuals choose to light their cigarette in a public place, they are not only compromising their health, but the health of those unfortunate enough to be in their immediate surroundings. The American Cancer Society estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for 46,000 heart disease deaths in non-smokers each year. These numbers are staggering and quite frankly disgusting. Those affected by secondhand smoke do not choose to be in this environment. Whether it is a child living in a household with smoking parents, a spouse, or even someone stuck behind a smoker on the sidewalk, secondhand smoke is incredibly dangerous and should not be thrust upon those who make the active healthy choice to not use tobacco products.

Some may argue that in public places there are designated smoking areas and that smoking is regulated far more than it used to be. While this is true, it is simply not enough. Each day leaving the school of management at Boston University I find myself holding my breath as I walk through the cloud of cigarette smoke coming from an inlet by the doors of the building. Designating places for cigarette smokers to compromise their health does not limit where their smoke is travelling or whom it is affecting. It is harmful to many no matter where the smoking occurs and with today’s information and technology there is no reason for this continued health risk.

Since cigarettes have been around for decades, they are not something that is going to simply fade away. Companies spend far too much money on marketing to ensuring that their product will still sell, not to mention how incredibly addicting cigarettes are by nature. However, in a monumentally refreshing turn of events, CVS has recently announced that they will no longer be selling cigarettes in their stores. What CVS did will not necessarily cause others to follow suit, and it will cost their company millions of dollars in revenue. More importantly, however, is what their action stands for. CVS is a place that I, like many others, go to for medication. An organization that provides methods of healing and recovery to the American public should be promoting healthy living, and I am now proud to give CVS my business.  Michelle Obama praised CVS via twitter saying, “Now we can all breathe a little easier, and our families can live healthier.” Recognition from the President and the First Lady is certainly a start, but if Obama is truly happy with what CVS is doing, the incentives need to go further. The health risks are more than obvious, and with CVS leading the movement this is an ideal time for government to step in and offer incentives and rewards for companies who choose to promote a healthier lifestyle for Americans, especially through reducing the number of whom smoke cigarettes.

In a country fortunate enough to have a functioning government, high-end health care, freedom, and endless opportunities, it seems almost selfish for certain individuals to make such self destructive choices such as smoking cigarettes which will ultimately kill them. With encouragement from leaders, governments, and influential companies, it is possible greatly reduce cigarette smoking in the United States at the direct benefit of everyone but the companies who produce this lethal and disgusting product.

 

References

Accessed 2/5

http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2014/02/05/obama-cvs-caremark-cigarette-tobacco-ban/5220941/

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/#overview

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke

 

 


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren March 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Very interesting and informative!

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Elana Schwartz March 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Nice post Sarah! People definitely need to learn more about this. Thanks for sharing :)

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Katie March 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Great article! It still amazes me that people choose to smoke cigarettes – or what I like to call them, “Cancer Sticks”!

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LF March 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Awesome!

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Kaitlyn M March 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

Really great article. It’s awesome to see the steps CVS have taken toward smoke-free air.

Reply

DOcHgja March 20, 2014 at 4:09 am

248417 480222This is such a great post, and was thinking much the same myself. Another great update. 120468

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