Accountable for addiction to nicotine?  Determine to what degree, if any, a smoker should be held accountable for his or her addiction to nicotine. Explain your viewpoint.

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although I often like to take the alternative view on issues like this, if only to spark discussion, I have to agree with all the posters here: the smoker is solely responsible for smoking. Tobacco companies create a legal product and market it, no different from fast food, or organic food, or Q-tips. Until the point when we say that tobacco is illegal, no one is forced to spend their money on them. We can cite all the harmful marketing that seeks to attract kids we want; stores are prohibited from selling to minors (but we all know that you can get anything you want these days) and it is the buyer's responsibility to purchase or not.

That said, we certainly need less smoking around. However, high taxes and laws are not the way to do it; if they were, well, we'd have solved the problem by now! Education about nicotine and smoke is the way to solve the problem.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At least to some degree, this should be the case.  It is true that cigarette companies have engaged in deceptive practices trying to get people to smoke.  But in the final analysis, it is the actual choice of the person to smoke or not.  No one gets addicted to nicotine without starting to smoke.

I don't know that I could put a percentage on how responsible smokers themselves should be.  I would think it should be more for people who have started smoking relatively recently when the harmful effects of tobacco have been well-known.  Perhaps for people my age or younger (40 and down), it should be something like 70% the fault of the smoker.  For older people, it should be quite a bit less because they might well have started smoking before everyone knew tobacco was bad for you.

marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think there's been enough said over the years about the harm that cigarette smoking can do to the human body. Those that smoke do so of their own accord. I do think, however, that bad influences by adults can lead to underage smoking (teenagers). If we so-called mature adults want to ruin our bodies and cut our lives short by smoking, we should take full responsibility for our actions! So, how can we say to our young people, "Don't smoke!" when we do it ourselves? Actions speak louder than words. In a way, when we smoke in front of others and influence them to do so, we are partly responsible for their smoking and totally to blame for ours!

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that the user of tobacco is 100% accountable for his own actions. Anyone who chooses to purchase cigarettes or cigars does so of his own volition, and the warning on the side of the pack serves notice to the risks taken when smoking. Both my mother and father were smokers, and they both went cold turkey--stopping completely without smoking another cancer stick. Too many smokers choose to blame the tobacco companies for their own actions and weaknesses, and though I think tobacco is far more serious than other illegal drugs (such as marijuana), cigarettes--and its harmful effects--are available to those people who so desire them.

vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ultimately, we are all responsible for the choices we make. I have known cigarette smokers, and in many cases it seems accurate to say that they are literally addicted to nicotine.  Serious drug addictions are, apparently, very difficult to break; simply stopping the smoking of cigarettes seems very difficult for many people. Fortunately, society no longer glamorizes cigarette smoking, as it once did. People are therefore under less peer pressure than they once were to smoke. Ironically, this change makes people who do smoke even more responsible for their decision than they once were.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think anyone who starts smoking has been tricked into doing so.  I don't think that, really, anyone thinks they are somehow good for you, or even not that bad for you.  Unless you were raised by wolves in a cave, you've heard about lung cancer, and the addictiveness of smoking, seen an ad for nicotine gum and known someone who couldn't quit.  So yes.  Absolutely yes, a smoker should be held accountable, at least for the health costs asociated with their addiction and its long term affects.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe that anyone who CHOOSES to put something into their body should be held accountable for their own actions. Smokers choose to purchase and "consume" a tobacco product. NO one forces them to purchase or light up a cigarette. That being said, the product is addictive, but the packaging provides ample warning to consumer. If the consumer chooses to ignore the warning about the products addictive nature, they are forgoing any actions they would believe they could take.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think in today's world, where there is so much advertising about the dangers of smoking, I can't disagree with what other editors have written above. It is not as if smokers can pretend that they didn't know nicotine was so addictive. You have to be rather brutal with such information and recognise that this places responsibility very firmly in the hands of the smoker who chooses to continue to participate in an activity that he/she knows is tremendously addictive.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the posters above. A smoker chooses to take the first drag of a cigarette, continue to smoke, and purchase cigarettes, all regardless of the effects to their health. The smoker is, in my mind, 100% responsible for their actions.