Term Paper: Smoking Is a Factor

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[. . .] Teenagers who breathe tobacco smoke generated by family and friends are far more likely to take up smoking themselves. (SWAT, Pg 3)

Certainly there have been many studies linking disease and death to second hand smoke, but what about those who do not make the choice to smoke but are still breathing in nicotine and tobacco smoke. The use of cigarettes by pregnant women can have dire effects on their unborn children.

Carbon monoxide - the same chemical which comes out of an automobile exhaust pipe - and extremely high doses of nicotine interfere with the oxygen supply of the fetus. Studies indicate that nicotine easily penetrates the placenta and becomes concentrated in the fetal blood, amniotic fluid and breast milk. These factors may contribute to developmental delays and problems experienced by babies born of mothers who smoke. (Nicotine Addiction, Pg 7)

Adverse effects on a fetus include the risk of lower birth weight and spontaneous abortion. There is a correlation between smoking and birth weight which appears to indicate that the more a woman smokes during pregnancy, the lower the birth weight of the baby. (Nicotine Addiction, Pg 7)

The health risks revolving around smoking, whether it be a person who smokes a pack a day, people who inhale second hand smoke, or a pregnant woman who smokes, are significant. There is no question that smoking adversely effects everyone around it. Regardless of what the tobacco companies say, smoking is dangerous and smoking kills.

Health Expenditures and the Cost of Smoking:

Every state in the union is adversely affected financially by the use of tobacco. A tremendous economic burden is placed on state employers, workers, and tax-payers. The following pieces of information deal with a single state's economic issues revolving around tobacco and smoking. The following figures were compiled in 2001 for the state of Washington, which is not generally considered to be a state with a large population of smokers.

In 1993 the estimated smoking-related medical expenditures for Washington totaled 1.15 billion, 11.6% of the total medical expenditures.

Washington residents' state and federal tax burden caused by tobacco related health care costs is $962 million annually.

Expenditures in Washington for babies' health problems caused by mothers smoking or being exposed to second hand smoke during pregnancy are $21 to $62 million annually.

Additional tobacco health care costs caused by smokeless tobacco and secondhand smoke add even more to the health costs from tobacco use. In 1997, secondhand smoke accounted for $661 million in medical expenditures in the U.S. And represented 19% of all expenditures for childhood respiratory conditions.

In addition to direct health expenditures, economic impacts of smoking include:

Lost productivity in the workplace resulting from increased absences, diminished performance and higher turnover and retirement rates among smokers, estimated at more than $80 billion annually nationwide.

Damage and loss from cigarette-related fires, estimated at $500 million annually nationwide.

Tobacco-related maintenance and cleaning expenses, estimated at $4 billion annually nationwide. (Economic Costs of Tobacco, Pg 3)

The economic impacts on individual states, the nation, and the international communities are enormous. This single element of the tobacco issue should have a great deal more weight than it does. Unfortunately, the tobacco industry is perfectly capable of continuing to generate lies and to lobby politicians for support. The result is that the economic impacts of smoking are seldom discussed in forums concerning the dire effects of nicotine and tobacco.

Cover-ups and Lies by the Tobacco Industry:

The first major connection made between cigarettes and cancer took place in Cologne, Germany in 1930. German researchers correlated cancer and smoking. In 1938, Dr. Raymond Pearl of John Hopkins University stated that smokers simply don't live as long as non-smokers. By 1944, the American Cancer Society identified cigarettes as possibly having a relationship with cancer, though they were quick to point out that there was not yet any conclusive evidence. (Brief History of Tobacco, Pg 2)

In 1952 the first major report concerning smoking was revealed in the pages of Reader's Digest. In the article, "Cancer by the Carton," the magazine made a case against smoking citing the dangers. Shortly thereafter other periodicals began to run articles about the dangers of smoking. Smokers began to pay attention and the following year was the first year in tobacco history that cigarette sales declined. (Brief History of Tobacco, Pg 2)

Obviously the tobacco industry was not going to lie down and take the abuse. The immediately formed the Tobacco Industry Research Council wherein they supposedly addressed the concerns of the public. As far as the public knew they did deal with their concerns because a short time later the tobacco industry came out with filtered cigarettes and low tar models which supposedly promised a "healthy" smoke. (A Brief History of Tobacco, Pg 2) Obviously, these cigarettes were not much better than their predecessors. They still had all of the cancer causing elements within them.

In the early 1960s the Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health was formed to address the issues which were constantly being brought up by scientists and health professionals. In 1964, the committee released their report which indicated that "cigarette smoking is causally related to lung cancer in men." It then pointed out that though there was less data for women, there was still a strong correlation between lung cancer and smoking. The report ultimately indicated that smokers were nine to ten times more likely to get lung cancer than someone who doesn't smoke. (A Brief History of Tobacco, Pg 2)

The tobacco industry has been on the run - albeit profitably - ever since. In 1965, Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act requiring the surgeon general's warnings on all cigarette packages. In 1971, all broadcast advertising was banned. In 1990, smoking was banned on all interstate busses and all domestic airline flights lasting six hours or less. In 1994, Mississippi filed the first of 22 state lawsuits seeking to recoup millions of dollars from tobacco companies for smoker's Medicade bills. And in 1995, President Clinton announced FDA plans to regulate tobacco, especially sales and advertising aimed at minors.

Brief History of Tobacco, Pg 3)

It was during the 1994 lawsuits that many of the underhanded dealings of the tobacco industry were truly unveiled. The firms were forced to turn over crates upon crates of documentation and memos. Lawyers wanted to know what exactly the tobacco companies knew or didn't know about the addictive nature of their product and its penchant for killing people. They also wanted to know when these companies came to an understanding of what they were selling.

There are four primary lies that the tobacco companies have been promoting for years. First, tobacco isn't dangerous. Second, Nicotine isn't addictive. Third, Environmental Tobacco Smoke isn't dangerous. And third, they don't want teenagers to smoke. Each of these is a long standing lie which the companies would like to continue to perpetuate. (Behind Closed Doors, Pg 1)

The tobacco industry has known for years that that their products were dangerous. In 1953, a memo was circulated through RJ Reynolds which read, "Studies of clinical data tend to confirm the relationship between heavy and prolonged tobacco smoking and incidence of cancer in the lung." In 1961 a similar document made the rounds at the U.S. Liggett Company. "There are biologically active materials present in cigarette smoking. These are: cancer causing, cancer promoting, poisonous, and stimulating." (Behind Closed Doors, Pg 3)

The idea that cigarettes were addictive was the primary selling point of cigarettes. The tobacco industry knew about the addictive nature of their product before they knew about the other dangers. Many documents and memos exist which show their understanding of the addictive nature of their product:

Very few customers are aware of the effects of nicotine, i.e. its addictive nature and that nicotine is a poison." (1979 B&W document)

Nicotine is the addicting agent in cigarettes." (1982 B&W Tobacco Company document)

Ammonia, when added to tobacco reacts with nicotine and can act as an impact booster making nicotine more powerful." (Brown and Williams Tobacco Corporation)

Nicotine is addictive. We are in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug." (B&W, 1963)

Think of a cigarette as a dispenser for a dose unit of nicotine..." (Phillip Morris, 1971)

We are searching explicitly for a socially acceptable addictive product... The essential constituent is most likely to be nicotine or a direct substitute for it." (1979, BAT)

Taken together, the evidence suggests that self administration of nicotine may be the primary motivation for smoking." (1984, BAT)

Behind Closed Doors, 3-4)

There are many more documents and quotes which show that the tobacco companies had a solid understanding of what they were doing. It is impossible for any tobacco company representative to pretend that they have any motive other than selling an addictive and dangerous drug.

Second hand smoke is clearly hazardous to the health of those who are around… [END OF PREVIEW]

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