Smokers should make healthier decisions

November 4, 2011 Editorials Print Print
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As a consumer, I wonder why people will make a choice, knowing that choice is bad for them. Why do people continue the use of a product knowing that the use of this one product causes 30 percent of the deaths each year in America alone? Simple: It is because of the addiction.


Emily Schorr

About 443,000 people in the U.S. die each year from illnesses related to tobacco use.

Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined, according to cancer.org.

Tobacco products are known killers in society. It doesn’t discriminate: Tobacco can kill anyone who uses the products. The products are more addicting than illegal drugs, according to cancer.org.

I know the harmful effects of cigarettes first hand. My mother was a smoker for 40 years, a pack a day. For most of her life she was as healthy as the next person, but that slowly started to change.

 

When my mom started smoking at the age of 14, it was because her older friends were doing it and it was cool. At this time, the harmful effects of cigarettes were not known or at least not advertised.

A number of institutions have done many studies and all of them came back with the same results: Tobacco is bad for you. In the 21st century, it’s known that tobacco products are unhealthy.

A U.S. Surgeon General’s 1982 report stated, “Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality [death] in the United States.” This statement is as true today as it was then.

If people know this, why is it so hard to say no to tobacco use, especially for the youth of America?

According to cancer.org, 20 percent of the nation’s high school students were smoking cigarettes in 2009. And, the most recent survey of middle school students shows about 5 percent were smoking.

Philip Morris, a popular cigarette manufacturer, promises to supply “quality” products. Popular cigarettes brands that Philip Morris makes include Marlboro and Virginia Slims.

Cancer of the lungs, mouth, throat, pancreas, cervix and kidney, can be caused by tobacco use.There is also the possibility of stroke, heart disease, aneurysms, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, according to cancer.org.

If slowly disintegrating health doesn’t scare a smoker, and the pictures of the inside of a smoker’s lung and mouth doesn’t have an effect on the decision to smoke, then what will?

Maybe watching a loved one lying in a hospital bed with a ventilator making them breath might shed light on the topic.

When asked how infants avoid secondhand smoke, a tobacco executive in 1996 replied: “At some point they begin to crawl.”

According to thetruth.com, tobacco products yellow the teeth, leave a lingering smell and up the chances of periodontal disease (which cause swelling of the gums, bad breath and teeth falling out).

My mother ended up coming off of the ventilator, by some miracle, but everyday is a battle for her and her loved ones. To go on a shopping trip it now requires oxygen and frequent stops for her to catch her breath.

There are numerous emergency room visits because of the emphysema and the chronic pneumonia. There are many death scares because she gets violently sick so often and with no warning.

So the question I pose to students at OCCC is: What will it take to put down tobacco products? What will it take to truly have a breathe-easy environment?

To contact Emily Schorr,
email seniorwriter@occc.edu.

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