Teenage cigarette smoking is extremely prevalent throughout the United
States. The government should place stricter regulations on teenage smokers
to prevent them from becoming adult smokers. According to the American
Lung Association, tobacco is the only legal product that causes death and
disability when used as intended. Each day, 3,000 children smoke their
first cigarette, and they will eventually contribute to the 3.1 million
adolescents who are current smokers. These staggering numbers must be reduced
to prevent the more than 450,000 people who die each year from tobacco
related illnesses. This is as many Americans that have been killed in all
the wars fought in this century (American Lung Association).
According to the American Lung Association, tobacco related illnesses are
the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Tobacco
kills more people than alcohol, cocaine, crack, heroin, homicide, suicide,
traffic accidents, fires and AIDS combined. Smoking is responsible for
an estimated one in five United States deaths, and costs the United States
at least sixty-five billion dollars each year in health care costs and
lost productivity. Worldwide, even the most conservative estimates place
the number of avoidable deaths caused by smoking at well above two million
According to the American Heart Association, there is evidence that
those who begin smoking before they are twenty years old have the highest
incidence and earliest onset of both coronary heart disease and hypertension.
Similarly, autopsy studies of smokers have raised questions about the effects
of smoking in childhood and adolescence on the subsequent development of
atherosclerosis in adulthood. Atherosclerosis is the hardening and blockage
of blood vessels. Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack.
Nicotine, An Addictive Drug
Why is nicotine so powerfully addictive? Less than twelve seconds after
a smoker inhales a cigarette, nicotine reaches the brain. There it affects
the body's stress response systems, influencing the smoker's behavior and
reinforcing the need to smoke. Nicotine addiction begins during the first
few years of tobacco use (White, 39). The central element of addiction
is that the substance controls your behavior by temporarily altering your
mood when it is not in your system (42-43).
Besides tobacco, what ingredients are in a cigarette?
How many ingredients are in a cigarette?
Created by: Tracy Lynn Wise