We live in a crazy world where criminals are glorified and people are sometimes jailed for petty crimes. Yet virtually nothing is done about the sale of tobacco which is far more deadly than any criminal on the face of the earth.
Tobacco is a killer and it kills without mercy. In the United States cigarette smoking is responsible for over 400,000 deaths a year. Tobacco related diseases kill over 276,000 men and 142,000 women yearly. People who smoke regularly shorten their lives by about 2,250 days.
“A 25-year-old, two pack-a-day smoker of cigarettes has a life expectancy 8.3 years shorter than his non-smoking counterpart. For groups of men smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, the loss of years of life expectancy is 4.6 years; smoking 10 to 19 cigarettes a day shortens the life, expectancy by 5.5 years; and smoking 20 to 39 cigarettes a day, by 6.2 years,” said E.G. Hammond in “Life Expectancy of American Men in Relation to their Smoking Habits.”
Smoking causes other problems as well. Property damage due to fires caused by cigarettes costs the American public $400 million each year. But this amount is small compared to the man-hours lost from smoking.
“The health-care costs of tobacco use in this country are staggering. Annually, we spend $23 billion in medical costs and we lose $30 billion because of loss of working time and decreased productivity from the effects of smoking. Each year smoking kills more Americans than died in battle in World War II and Vietnam combined,” according to Dr. David E. Larson, editor-in-chief of the “Mayo Clinic Family Health Book.”
“Smoking is the single largest, preventable cause of premature death and disability in this country. One in six deaths in the United States each year is associated with cigarette smoking. The American Lung Association states that smoking kills more Americans each year than cocaine/heroin, alcohol abuse, accidents, homicide and suicide combined,” Larson added.
Why do people smoke in spite of these grim statistics? Some say smoking helps them relax and ease tension. Others seen tobacco as an escape from their everyday problems or as a way of coping with the demands of their profession. Still others say that smoking perks up their day and prepares them for what lies ahead.
But the reason why people smoke is simple. The nicotine in tobacco is a highly addictive drug. More than 85 percent of adolescents who smoke more than one cigarette eventually become a tobacco addict – that’s why it is difficult to stop. (Next: More reasons why people smoke.)
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