How do cigarettes have harmful effects on society?    

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Smoking harms society largely because it harms human beings physically.  We all know that smoking has a huge number of negative impacts on the human body.  It leads to such problems as emphysema, lung cancer, and heart disease.  Not all people who smoke will suffer from all of these negative impacts, but they will be more common in smokers.  They can also be more common in those who are exposed to secondhand smoke.  These things can have a negative impact on society.

There are at least two negative effects.  One is that the country’s economy is harmed.  When people have the sorts of health problems mentioned above, they often require a great deal of medical attention.  This costs a great deal of money.  Sometimes, the money must be paid by government programs such as Medicaid.  In addition, the productivity of the smokers is lost to the economy.  Smokers who get ill can no longer work effectively and may even die early.  This deprives the economy of their skills.

This economic impact is one of the major harms that is done to society.  There is also, however, some harm done to non-economic aspects of society.  When people get sick or die from smoking, it takes a toll on their families and friends.  These people suffer as they watch their loved ones suffer.

In these ways, smoking harms society in economic and social ways.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The above answer is correct in identifying the main harmful effects of smoking on society. In addition there are many other kinds of harmful effects besides damage to health and productivity. Cigarettes are a major cause of fires. A typical instance of this is a person falling asleep and setting his bed on fire. Cigarettes can cause fires in automobiles while they are in motion and can create horrible accidents if the driver is distracted by trying to put the smoldering fire out. Another way in which cigarettes often cause auto accidents is that the driver becomes distracted while trying to light his cigarette while keeping only one hand on the steering-wheel and taking his attention off the road ahead. Cigarette butts litter all the city streets, making an ugly mess that taxpayers must pay to clean up. The butts wash into storm drains and end up polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans. Cigarette smoking sets a bad example for children, who are likely to take it up in imitation of some adult role model.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question