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Smoking vs. Non-Smoking

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Persuasive essay on why the production and sale of cigarettes should not be banned. Includes, opposing arguments and refutes to the opposing claims. Call to action asking non-smokers to try to better understand the issue from the smoker’s point of view and come to a compromise.

Nicotine, Addiction, Advertising, Marketing, Production, Tax Revenue, Equity Theory.

Smoking VS. Non-Smoking
In recent years the prohibition of smoking in or on college campuses, places of business, and healthcare facilities has increased dramatically. Some employers are going as far as firing people for smoking even in their own cars or simply smelling like smoke. More and more non-smokers and healthcare professionals have began calling for a ban on the production and sale of cigarettes. I believe outlawing the production and sale of cigarettes may cause more problems than it would help solve. Three important points that are typically pushed aside are: smoking is a choice banning it completely takes away your personal freedom of choice; Outlawing cigarettes may not fully dissolve the problem people will find a way to do it regardless; Banning cigarette sales may have a greater negative impact on our already struggling economy. My first point I would like you to ponder is every day we find ourselves losing more and more of our freedom of personal choice. Examples include things such as pressuring people to eat healthier and go green.

I believe that it’s great to make better use of our resources and eat healthier, but it should be our own choice how we decide to take care of ourselves and make choices. The fact is at the end of the day we all have to face the consequences of our own actions. Shouldn’t the decision to smoke or not be our own to make? Consider this, what if it was made unlawful to eat fast food because it causes obesity? Many of us have busy lives and don’t have time to cook all the time, we would most likely think I should have a right to eat whatever and how much I want it’s my body and my life? That’s not to say you disvalue their opinion just that you would like them to try and see your perspective. I know you are probably thinking what about our right to live long healthy lives not to mention the serious risks to your own health? I cannot argue with the fact that non-smokers reserve the right to be healthy and not have to breathe cigarette smoke. I also agree that smoking is bad for your health and that of others around you.

Being a smoker of almost eight years I have the greatest respect for that, if people ask me not to smoke around them I usually go outside somewhere away from them. I believe this situation can easily be remedied without outlawing cigarettes all together. One suggestion I would offer is to let the person know how you feel in a polite manner ask them not to smoke around you and state your reason. The dangers of smoking are widely publicized; unfortunately they are ignored by some however everyone must answer for their own actions. Another point I’d like to bring to life that most may not be aware of is the potential danger to our already struggling economy. Many of us are already feeling the negative impact of the millions of job cuts forcing people out of their homes. Are the potential benefits worth the even greater loss that would most likely occur? The loss that I’m referring to is the significant amount of tax revenue that would be lost that comes from the production and sale of cigarettes.

During my research on this topic I have found that tobacco companies have contributed greatly to the success of our economy. This section of the article from the New York Times written by Roger Rosenblatt shows the extent of these contributions. “Throughout history, tobacco companies have had a trade surplus.” (1994) “The taxes these companies pay provide a lot of money for the U.S. government.” “In 1992 Phillip Morris Alone paid 4.5 billion in taxes, making it the largest tax payer in the U.S.” (Roger Rosenblatt, 1994) I understand many of you may be concerned about the rising health care costs due to smoking and the damage it can cause. You probably also think how would banning cigarettes be negative? They’re not as profitable as they used to be and so many people are quitting so why does it matter? I also agree that things have changed since the 90’s and some people are quitting due to the damage cigarettes can cause. However, many people are still smoking despite the dangers smoking is an addiction and it isn’t as easy to quit as many may think. Studies show, “Nicotine, the drug found in cigarette smoke is more addictive than heroin or cocaine.” (Cycle of addiction, 1994)

It is true the production, sale, and distribution of tobacco has slowed but a multibillion dollar industry could have not changed that much in that short of a time. The tobacco Industry is still a pretty profitable industry spanning in the high millions. With the state of the economy as poor as it could not withstand such a loss. Last but certainly not the least is the possibility that outlawing cigarettes and banning smoking will only make a bad situation worse. The fact is if someone really wants to do something they will find a way to do it regardless. Did you ever notice when you were young the more you were forced not to do something the more you found a way to do it? I know this from experience when I was a teenager my step-dad tried everything including grounding me, searching me for signs of smoking, threatening to make me stop seeing my boyfriend.

However, the more he tried to stop me the more I did it until he finally had to accept the facts. I continued to want to smoke because of the thrill of doing something forbidden it made me feel cool and it was energizing and relaxing. I know you may be thinking how could banning cigarettes for good add to the problem; you would go to jail and there would be nowhere to smoke surely this would end the problem? I agree that this may slow the problem but it would not end it. The situation could even become worse smokers would feel like they are being unfairly targeted and may even move on to something worse to retaliate escalating the already soaring drug epidemic “The Equity Theory” usually used in business management pertaining to motivation, shows how this could be a very real possibility. The equity theory states, “People who feel unfairly treated usually try restoring balance by acting out in some way”. (Kelly/McGowan, 2012)

Most people who smoke do so as a means of coping in some way if that is taken away they will find some other way to cope even if it means going to extremes. I know you are also concerned about the unfair targeting of teens in cigarette ads. Admittedly that needs to be taken care of; however, these individual issues should be targeted before taking more evasive action. Although there are many issues and risks associated with cigarettes completely banning cigarettes may be too evasive. However, if we work together we will be able to create a compromise that will solve the current issues without taking away each other’s rights in the process. Smokers and non-smokers can live in peace as long as we learn to respect each other’s boundaries. Your health is your business, if you choose to smoke it should be your decision but others have the right to live a smoke-free life as well. If we all can agree on this one thing there will be no need for further action to be taken.


www.healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/unit1/3economics_of.html www.healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/unit3/why_people_smoke.html www.healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/unit4/2cycle_of_add.html www.healthliteracy.worlded.org/docs/tobacco/unit6/quitting.html

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