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For years there has been conflicting research whether smoking should be banned or not and it is a significant issue today. Many people have given up smoking while others still continue to smoke. Smoking is the inhalation and exhalation of fumes (gases and hydrocarbon vapours) of burning plant materials generated by slowly burning tobacco in cigarette. A variety of plant materials are smoked, including marijuana and hashish but the act is most commonly associated with tobacco as smoked in a cigarette, cigar and pipes. The smoking of tobacco, long practiced by American Indians was first introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus and other explorers. Smoking soon spread to other areas and today is widely practiced around the world despite medical, economic and social arguments against it. Smoking has been practiced since decades as an addictive habit of stress relief but its inauspicious consequences recognized by WHO (World Health Organization) has created a shift to debate that tobacco smoking should be banned as a result of its adverse effects on human beings, society and the environment. This essay will discuss the reasons why tobacco smoking should be eliminated. This will be shown by discussing; how it affects the global economy (particularly Australia), its implications on the human body, relation between smoking and mental health issues and degradation of environment due to cultivation and use of tobacco. When considering why smoking should be banned, it is essential to explore impacts it has on the economy of a country.
Regardless of its health consequences, tobacco is considered crucial to a nation’s economy. It is considered that without manufacturing of tobacco products and their distribution and sale, a country’s economy will suffer devastating economic consequences. In point of fact, when resources are no longer devoted (at all or as much) to a given economic activity, they do not simply disappear into thin air. Rather, they are redirected to other economic functions. If a person ceases to smoke, for example, the money that individual would have spent on cigarettes does not evaporate. Rather, the person spends it on something else. The new spending will generate employment in other more productive industries as compared to tobacco industry, strengthening the economy instead of burdening it as tobacco industry do because of its side effects. Studies by non-industry economists in several countries have confirmed that reallocation of spending by consumers quitting smoking would not reduce employment or otherwise significantly damage the countries’ economies. A major financial burden imposed by tobacco smoking on the economy is in the form of healthcare and non-healthcare expenditures. Healthcare expenditures are those incurred from the diagnosis and treatment of smoking-attributable diseases (hospitalization, physician services, medications etc.), while non-healthcare expenditures are incurred outside of the health system (e.g., property loss from fires caused by cigarettes). According to Rezaei et al. (2015) the amount of healthcare expenditure due to smoking-attributable diseases totaled US $422 billion or 5.7% of global health expenditure in year 2012, whereas, approximately 2% was spent on development and implementation of smoking cessation interventions in this group as high economic and clinical priority, outweighing the taxation benefits due to tobacco smoking.
Moreover, smoking is a leading cause of fires in many countries. Cigarettes cause numerous fire disasters. Standard cigarettes are manufactured with added ‘burn accelerants’ to ensure that the cigarette will keep on burning once lit. Left to ‘idle’ between puffs, a dropped, forgotten or discarded cigarette can start a fire. According to (WHO, 2017), smoking causes an estimated 20% of Australia and 10% of global fire death burdens. This shows that global and Australian economy are greatly affected due to consequences of tobacco smoking. Thus, smoking should be banned in order to stabilize the economy and reduce its cross to bear effects. Tobacco smoke contains noxious chemicals which are highly responsible for having deteriorating effects on the human body. It turns out that nicotine (a chemical in tobacco smoke) activates a pathway in the brain that suppresses appetite which makes smokers thinner than non-smokers. Since the weight gain that comes with stopping smoking is often one deterrent for smokers to quit, as it does not require them to do a hard-physical job in order to lose weight but the question here arises at what cost? Cigarette smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. According to a research smoking causes 84% of deaths from lung cancer. It affects the lungs by causing irritation of the trachea (windpipe), reduced lung function and breathlessness due to swelling and narrowing of the lung airways and excess mucus in the lung passages. Impairment of the lungs’ clearance system leads to the build-up of poisonous substances, which results in lung irritation and damage increased risk of lung infection and symptoms such as coughing and wheezing permanent damage to the air sacs of the lungs. The number of lung cancer deaths worldwide attributable to smoking has been estimated to be 0.85 million, making lung cancer the third-ranking cause of smoking-attributable deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there will be more than eight million tobacco-related deaths a year by 2030, amounting to 10% of annual deaths worldwide. Nicotine in tobacco smoke interacts with brain function and disturbs the mental metabolism of smokers. Nicotine creates an immediate sense of relaxation so people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. Research into smoking and stress has shown that instead of helping people to relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. People who smoke are twice as likely to experience symptoms of anxiety as compared to non-smokers. The feeling of relaxation is actually temporary and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms which are exactly similar to the symptoms of anxiety, but it does not reduce anxiety or deal with the underlying causes. Moreover, nicotine stimulates the release of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in triggering positive feelings which encourages the brain to switch off its own mechanism for making dopamine so in long term the supply decreases. When this happens, smokers experience a variety of side effects including anxiety, irritability, and a strong craving for nicotine. Another reason people think smoking relieves stress is because they remove themselves from stressful situations to have a cigarette e.g. going outside to take a break. This gives the impression that the act of smoking is helping to reduce stress levels, when in reality this could be achieved by simply going outside for a walk. The inhaling action of smoking a cigarette is similar to deep breathing, and can also be perceived as de-stressing. However, research has shown that same stress relief can be found without cigarettes by practicing deep breathing exercises. Thus, smoking tobacco is harmful and it should be banned as it has detrimental effect on the brain activity as it leads to anxiety and stress. Tobacco smoking imposes serious threats to the environment. Usually, smokers defend themselves by saying that smoking should not be discouraged as it is their freedom of choice and they are responsible for it. According to Novotny et al. (2015), smoking not only causes damage to smokers but the environment is predominantly affected due to deforestation, soil and air pollution caused by cultivation of tobacco and its use. The key ingredient in the manufacture of cigarettes is tobacco and the reality is that most of it is planted in rainforests areas. Accordingly, it has contributed to major deforestation in the areas where it is planted. Deforestation also has its additional ripple effects to the environment such as reducing availability of plants for foraging, loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and increasing global temperatures. A publication even indicated that an hour cigarette-manufacturing unit needs about 4 miles of paper for rolling and packing which translates to the destruction of one tree for every 300 cigarettes made.
The high scores of pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals used in the cultivation of tobacco introduce volumes of hazardous pollutants to the land and soils. These chemicals accumulate and eventually hamper the fertility of the soils and make the lands unsuitable for supporting any other crop according to World Health Organization (2017). Most of the ingredients present in cigarette stub, on the other hand, are non-biodegradable and take years to break down. These ingredients therefore remain in the soil for a long period of time, up to 10 years as estimated by researchers. As long as they are present in the soil, the soil remains polluted. Tobacco smoking not only pollutes the land but also contaminates the air. Carbon dioxide, methane and other lethal chemicals are present in tobacco smoke which causes air pollution through smoking. Smoking globally emits nearly 2.6 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide and 5.2 billion kilograms of methane into the atmosphere each year. These gases add to the general atmospheric pollution. These researches indicate that tobacco smoking is dreadful for the environment and banning it will save environment from adulteration. In conclusion, due to detrimental effects of tobacco smoking it should be banned as it is physically dangerous, imposes financial burden on the economy, induces changes in mental metabolism and pollutes the environment. Let us not delay in passing a law that will lead us to live better and healthier lives and rid ourselves of such a dangerous vice as soon as possible. “Smoking is a custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs and in the black, stinking fume thereof nearest resembling the horrible stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.” – King James.
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