Should Smoking Be Banned?

Cigarette smoking is harmful to health and should be banned from public places such as bars and restaurants. Several research and studies had proven that smoking can cause several serious illnesses not only to the main smoker but also to those around the smoker who happens to inhale secondary smoke; they are referred to as passive smokers. Passive smokers will have the same chance as with the smoker themselves in acquiring the adverse effects of smoking. This paper will examine and prove that indeed cigarette smoking is really harmful to both smokers and passive smoker and should be banned from public places.

Smoking is a long time habit from our ancestors up to the present generation.  It is also the leading cause of pulmonary diseases, as well as a contributing risk factor to various illnesses. (O’Sullivan, 1994).  For example, low HDL values are associated with cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle and diabetes (Tecklin, 1990).  It has been known for many years that smoking cigarette is an important cause of stroke. Even though it is a risk factor that can be modified by a change in lifestyle, it is a hard habit to break.  Furthermore, cigarette smoking is a significant risk factor of cancer, stroke, atherogenesis, platelet aggregation, chronic bronchitis, coronary artery diseases, and emphysema.  Aside from the mentioned diseases, smoking lowers the immune system that can led to stress (Tecklin, 1990).

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Effects of smoking

Cigarette smoking and cancer have an unconvertible indications. In bacterial tests, the urine of cigarette smokers evidently shows strong mutagens (Burns, 1991). Studies show that there are at least 43 carcinogens present in cigarette smoke which contain polyaromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic hydrocarbons, N-nitrosamines, aromatic amines, aldehydes, volatile carcinogens, inorganic compounds, and radioactive elements. Cigarette smoke has very harmful substances that contribute in every stage process of carcinogenesis; initiation and promotion. Lungs, oral cavity and esophagus are the organs at the greatest risk of developing cancer. In addition, cigarette smoking is an identified factor that is responsible for the alteration of the permeability of the arterial endothelial layer; specifically, carbon monoxide (decrease oxygen saturation) and catecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, bradykinin) causes destruction, hypercontraction, swelling and loss of endothelial cells, and platelet aggregation.  Smoking tobacco causes irritation and inflammation that leads to augment cell turnover and interfere with the normal barrier and clearance mechanism of the lung potentiating the carcinogens (Burns, 1991). Tobacco initiated DNA damage can be accentuated by exposure to other toxic agents, such as asbestos and alcohol (“Health Consequences of Smoking…”, 2006).

The leading cause of cancer death among men and women is lung cancer.  A percentage of 90% in man and 79% of lung cancer in women are directly attributed to smoking. The cumulative effect of frequent and/or prolonged exposure to smoking augments the chance of developing lung cancer by 22 fold for a male and 12 fold for a female. Amount and duration of smoking is directly proportional. For over the past 40 years, research revealed a 250% increase in the occurrence of lung cancer, paralleled with the rise in cigarette smoking 20 years earlier. Smoking also causes lung cancer of all the principal histologic cell types; eventhough the proportion differs between man and women; among men, an increased proportion of squamous cell carcinoma, while in women an increased proportion of adenocarcinoma. Exposure to both asbestos and cigarette increases the relative risk of developing cancer by five fold over smokers not exposed to asbestos (“Health Consequences of Smoking…” 2006). However, one time visit to a coal mine cannot result in pulmonary silicosis.  Similarly, inhalation of asbestos dust seems to be responsible for a high incidence of lung cancer among asbestos workers and ship pipefitters.

Incidence of lung cancer among women and men (”Health Consequences of Smoking…” 2006)

Smoking has harmful effects on the brain also. One of the main functions of the brain that is greatly affected by smoking is its cognitive skill — attention to stimuli and sustains attention.  It also includes the regulation of unconscious body processes, such as digestion and breathing. Though the oxygen that is carried out by the blood from the lungs to different parts of the body especially to the brain is all saturated, it still contains substances like nicotine that was inhaled from smoking cigarette. Within ten seconds the nicotine may reach the brain and change the smoker’s mood (GDCADA, 2005).

Researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh studied at how the cognitive abilities of smokers and non-smokers changed over time.  As a result, they found out that smokers are significantly worse in five separate tests. The research was published in New Scientist magazine, as part of the Scottish Mental Health Survey. In 1947, a case study among 465 volunteers was tested on their mental abilities at the age of 11 and was tested again for the second time between 2000 and 2002, at the age of 64. The volunteers were assessed for their non-verbal reasoning, memory and learning, how quickly they processed information, decision making and constructions of tasks. Current or former smokers were found to perform less well in the tests even though factors such as childhood IQ, education, occupation and alcohol consumption were taken into consideration.  According to the study, the effect is stronger in current smokers (“Smoking is bad for your brain”, 2004).

A report retrieved from the Archives of Environmental Health, Dr. Brautbur explains the direct effects nicotine causes on the brain that would prove that nicotine is addictive. In 1980, he presented a fact that showed a believable data that nicotine is addictive for both animals and human. In his article, experts, such as the U.S. Surgeon General, stated that smokers experience three classic signs of addiction: 1) they become dependent; 2) they want to quit but cannot; 3) they become tolerant, although a plateau is reached. Smokers, however, must take large doses to reach that plateau (Brautbur, 1995; “Nicotine and the Brain: Articles and Studies”, n.d.).

On the other hand, nicotine causes arousal while building up a tolerance. As one smoke more cigarettes, one tend to accumulate more and more nicotine in the body; resulting a greater level of tolerance. The brain develops a certain level at which nicotine is required so that the brain can continue receiving satisfaction. As more nicotine is introduced, the mentioned level becomes increasingly large, that it is more difficult to satisfy the brain. Thus, many smokers experience withdrawal symptoms (Brautbur, 1995: “Nicotine and the Brain: Articles and Studies”, n.d.).

In addition, Brautbur’s studies of the effects of nicotine on animals, he stated that nicotine activates some neurons of the brain called the mesolimbic system. The system is also the pathway that creates the intense cravings to indulge in certain foods or activities, such as sex. Upon stimulation of the mesolimbic pathway, the neurons secrete dopamine. Dopamine is an amine essential to normal activity in the brain that provides a chemical reward that literally arouses it. Tests showed that both cocaine and nicotine has the same effect to the brain. In general, nicotine continually stimulates the release of dopamine (Brautbur, 1995:”Nicotine and the Brain: Articles and Studies”, n.d.).

A case study in England stated that the effects of nicotine were related to that of amphetamines and cocaine. Wherein both amphetamines and cocaine release dopamine in the nucleus accumbens and increase locomotor activity. Included in this report, previous experiments have shown that nicotine to induce the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The present study only confirmed that a systematic injection of nicotine can increase extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens of rats. Increased in locomotor activity and head-bobbing behavior are also reported to be cause of nicotine (Pei et al, 1996).

Effects of smoking on passive smokers

Passive smokes or second-hand smokes have the same effect as that of a chronic smoker. It seriously exacerbates asthma, angina and allergies. Non-smokers have a great chance of getting lung cancer by up to 30%.  Everyone has the right to smoke whenever they want to, but not to wherever they want, because they damage the health of others (Sturgeon, 2004). Possibly, most significantly is the detrimental affect that passive smoking can have on anyone’s health. Passive smoking has always been related to serious health problems ranging from bronchitis and asthma to lung cancer and heart disease and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Cigarette smoking is one significant factor of air pollution.  Air pollution cannot be confined in a can unlike garbage.  To control the spread is very difficult.  Several hundred people each year in the UK die from lung cancer caused by passive smoking, as documented by Cancer Research.  Rather then utilizing the funds to the NHS to cure, one best way to avoid the development of illness through passive smoking is prevention. International studies has shown that the best way to rapidly and successfully tackle health risks from second hand smoke is to take action on smoking in public places (Boase, 2004).

Smoking should be banned from cafes and restaurants

To ban smoking in public places such as cafes and restaurants is a preventive measure to decrease numerous deaths caused by smoking (Sturgeon, 2004). Smoking is greatly related with the overall increased in morbidity and mortality as early as the era of industrialized cigarette production and mass use. In the 1950s reports have already linked cigarette smoking to lung cancer. Today knowledge of the deleterious health consequences of smoking is widely recognized, but smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death especially in developed countries (“Health Consequences of Smoking…”, 2006)

Smokers at the age bracket of 35 to 69 accounts for a three fold increase in the death rate, and approximately half of all regular smokers that start smoking in their adolescence will be killed by tobacco (World health organization, 1997).  In the USA, a probable of more than one in every six deaths was the result of smoking, reported in 1985. Smokers have more acute and chronic illnesses than never smokers, more bed disability days, miss more school and work days and moody stressful personality. Smokers are regular visitors of in and out-patient hospital services. (Sherman, 1991). Around 30% of all cancer deaths in the USA could have been prevented if cigarette smoking was eliminated (Newcomb and Carbone, 1992). Between 15 to 30% of all hospitalized patients have a substance abuse problem (Geller, 1996; “Health Consequences of Smoking”, 2006).

Overall mortality ration of smokers compared to never smokers.

1-20 cig/day
>20 cig/day
Male
2.22
2.43
Female
1.6
2.1
Sherman

A ban would not only improve the lives of us non-smokers however would also encourage those causing the problem to help themselves. In California, smoking in public places has been banned in which it entirely suggest that smoke-free environments decreases both the number of smokers and the number of cigarettes they get through. Polls also have shown that a ban would be supported by as much as 85% of the public (Boase, 2004).

Conclusion

Banning cigarette smoking in public places such as pubs and restaurants is the best way of preventing serious illnesses especially among second-hand smokers.  Not only is smoking harmful to the first-hand smoker but also to second-hand smoker. There are no confirmed positive benefits from smoking, rather there are numerous studies that have confirmed the ill effects of smoking to both first-hand and second-hand smokers. Statistics show that cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Furthermore, smoking can affect the brain as well as cognitive abilities of the affected person. Smoking will also cause asthma, allergies and angina. Therefore, public smoking should be banned for the benefit and protection of all.

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