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Smoking has widely spread throughout out the entire globe, causing both growth and loss in the social and economic sectors. Today, many people indulge in smoking for the sake of gaining a certain status. Others smoke due to peer pressure, which is more common among the youth and leads to addiction. Smoking has greatly changed the environment and affected it. It has also caused various diseases to human beings both smokers and non-smokers. In the United States, smoking has contributed a lot to the high medical costs and reduced productivity of millions of people. Tobacco usage in the United States is either by smoking or chewing.
Social and Economic Costs of Smoking in the United States
Death causes by smoking can be avoided by quitting smoking. In the US alone, almost half a million people lose their lives annually due to tobacco smoking and related cases. This makes it the number one killer in comparison to those who lose their lives due to AIDS, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, homicide, suicide, car accidents, and fires all combined (Parish, 2004). The health care sector is greatly affected because smoking related diseases are on the rise. The diseases that are mainly associated with smoking are; lung cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, heart, and chronic respiratory disease. Treating these kinds of diseases is very expensive and others do not have their treatments. The Federal sorts out the cost of Medicare, which is approximated at $75 billion and this causes various strains in an economy already affected by recession (Parish, 2004).
The economy of the US is affected at a tremendous rate because the deaths that occur because of smoking and the diminishing productivity of the states. The rising number of smokers has resulted to lack of energy and morale among the citizens. People are unable to work so that the economy can grow and millions of lifestyles have stagnated. A person diagnosed to be a smoker is more likely to pass on 13-15 years earlier than if he or she was not a smoker. Smoking leads to the development of chronic respiratory diseases that limit the kinds of tasks people can perform without straining. The body is weak and smokers have to constantly think and look after their health. Productivity of non-smokers is affected by secondary smoking. Even without direct smoking, they get respiratory diseases and perish.
Furthermore, the US economy is affected by the large payments made by Social Security Survivors Insurance to children whose parents died because of smoking (Parish, 2004). It is important to note that these payments are so high and affect a large percentage of American taxpayers. If these deaths could be minimized, the funds that are paid by the government could be allocated elsewhere for economic development within various states. Smoking incurs losses, which are not medically related. These include loss of property due to fire. It is common for cigarette butts that are stubbed on the ground to cause fire if they are not put off properly. If a lit butt is dropped on dry grass, it could light up, spread, and burn all the property in the environs. Majority of the houses are burnt down because of a lit butt that falls on an inflammable material. Another loss of property can be incurred in cases where the driver smokes as he drives. Any misappropriation can cause an accident leading to loss of lives and property.
Socially, smoking has proved to be a very expensive recreational activity because the taxation rates are very high. The tax imposed on cigarettes is a source of revenue for the federal government, which uses the money to operate other sectors of the economy. Smoking brings about social boundaries; most places are partitioned as non-smoker’s side and the smoker’s side. This brings social barrier that affect the socialism and sharing of ideas thus innovation may not reach its full potential.
The government gains income that boosts the economy from the advertisements that are done by the cigarette-manufacturing firms. The firms pay a wage when advertising through the media, billboards, and posters. The firms participate in voluntary promotion of community work by sponsoring events like games and charity work. These events give back to the State and to the American citizens to ensure growth of the social and economical sectors.
History of Tobacco Use
The history of tobacco use via smoking is dated back to early years of 5000 BC, and the product was farmed in South America. Smoking of tobacco was highly recognized among the people called the Shamanists who smoked tobacco as a spiritual ritual. The smoking of tobacco was experimented and justified at that time because ancient civilization like the Chinese, Indians, and Babylonians used to burn incense (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2008). Americans adapted smoking from incense burning from the Shamans. They used it for recreation and pleasure purposes. During the ancient times, smoking was used as a connection between the spiritual world and human beings. People believed that what they anticipated in their souls it is directed by the smoke to God. The Americans believed that tobacco was a blessing from God. They believed that the inhaled puff of smoke would penetrate the soul and the exhaled smoke carried the needs of a person to heaven. At that period, tobacco at that time was smoked and readily accepted as a means of trade. Americans smoked it using pipes during holy functions or as a sign of business agreements (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2008).
Tobacco was used as medicine in ancient times, for instance, Native Americans used tobacco as a painkiller for a person with an earache and toothache. The Indians in America also believed that, cold infection was treatable with a mixture of tobacco and leaves of the small desert Sage also known as Salvia Dorrii (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2008).
In the time of the American Revolutionary War, in 1776, tobacco was used to finance the revolution. It acted as a measure of security for loans that the Americans had borrowed from France (Randall, 1999). It was a means of showing the degree of integrity and ownership that the Americans had towards a later repayment of the loans they had borrowed. In 1840, tobacco was rolled and sold as cigarettes and branded Turkish cigarettes. At that time, cigarettes became popular among the soldiers, and they were nick named “soldiers smoke.” The cowboys of Western America used tobacco for chewing, and later, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company established this product in 1875. In 1900’s, the society brought up a battle towards tobacco use, and some organizations accused tobacco companies of not advising the entire community on the dangers of cigarette smoking. During The Second World War, cigarette sales shot up and soldiers were served meals accompanied with cigarettes. During this era, tobacco companies used a strategy to supply the soldiers in the front line with cigarettes, a good marketing strategy. It was evident that as soldiers returned to their home countries, they were already addicted, and these companies had a ready market for their produce (Randall, 1999).
How the Quality of Tobacco Leaf Has Changed Since the Mid-1950s
Before tobacco was ground into particles that were smoked using a pipe, in addition to that, the whole leaf was dried and used as incense. In the 1950’s, companies emerged and were able to process tobacco into cigarettes by rolling fine tobacco on a paper. In addition, these cigarettes were installed with filters that were used to remove some of the tar and nicotine in cigarettes. During this era, cigars were made from rolling a whole leaf. The cigarettes were made of different quality, mild, strong, and the companies added mint additives.
The Pharmacological Effects of Nicotine
Nicotine has the pharmacological effect of being addictive and causes a person to depend on it. Lack of nicotine may cause mood swings and dullness on an individual who is addicted, but has not had a chance to smoke.
Several Diseases Caused By Cigarette Smoking
•Development of lung cancer (chances are 23 times in men and 13 times in women)
•Coronary heart disease
•Chronic respiratory disease
Consequences of Tobacco Smoke on the Environment and Nonsmokers
Tobacco smoke pollutes the environment because it is comprised of tar and nicotine. Both tar and nicotine affect the health of smokers and non-smokers. The pollution causes diseases to the community and reduces the productivity of the nation.
Factors That Make People Smoke
• Advertisements posted on the mainstream media by companies that manufacture cigarettes. They use millions of dollars to put up appealing billboards, and create advertisements that pull the mass towards smoking. They tend to create an identity with smokers, for instance, smoking causes one to be recognized in society. This gives people the pull towards smoking.
•People start smoking to show that they are independent, can make decisions, and are afraid of others.
•One smokes to fit in the “eyes” his peers and look cool.
•Other people smoke because of influence from people that they respect. This includes parents, and role models who smoke and individuals associate smoking with achievements and responsibility.
•If one gets free samples of cigarettes from either friends or advertiser, the individual is more likely to smoke them.
•Students are likely to smoke especially if the authority dictates that there is no smoking just to be rebellious.
•Other reasons include the pretence that cigarette calms nerves or, reduces weight.
How a Smoker Can Quit
•An individual is self-driven and the decisions are sole done. A person has to decide to quit smoking and the decision lies in the mind of an individual
•An individual willing to quit smoking should adjust his behaviors to avoid being tempted to smoke.
•Using nicotine replacement objects like the patches could help a smoker to quit smoking.
•Prescription drugs can be used to help a person in cessation of smoking. These include Varenicline and Bupropion (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein, 2008).
The Four Primary Aspects of Tobacco Control Laws at the State Level Include:
•All states of America passed a Law that forbids young people aged below 18 years from accessing cigarettes.
•A cigarette seller must have a license.
•Some states restrict advertisements, while others have laws that govern the extent of an advertisement or advertising.
•There is a law that controls smoking in public and private sectors.
Cigarette smoking incurs huge costs to the American taxpayers. The medical bills, accidents that cause property losses and compensation due to smoking related deaths aggravate an economy already affected by recession. People should take responsibility of their lives and quit smoking because it puts their lives at risk while lowering their productivity. The Federal Government should impose stringent measures on companies that manufacture cigarettes. This will lessen the impact of cigarette smoke on the environment and the health of people.
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