Should cigarette sales be banned in the U.S.?Should cigarette sales be banned in the us?

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Jen Sambdman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I write this as a past-smoker. I don't honestly think they should ban cigarette sales in the United States. If people are dumb enough (as I was once one of them) to inhale carcinogens knowing the health risks, then let them do it. People are responsible for their own actions and that is what makes a free country free - choice. I live in Illinois and right on the border of Iowa and both states have enacted laws preventing smoking inside ANY public establishment and so I think that is good enough to protect those of us who dont smoke from second hand. But to try to "protect" ourselves from ourselves is a little ridiculous. What is next - prohibition again? Alcohol has very little redeeming health benefit. Same goes for soda, coffee, doritos, gum, etc. What is the line going to be where we say "You are an American citizen, make your own darn decision about how healthy of a lifestyle you would like to lead."

So no, I dont believe we should ban the sales of cigarettes as if someone chooses to smoke, let him/her make that decision in this country we deem free and take responsibility for his/her actions.

ericgyoung eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Should cigarette sales be banned in the U.S.?

Should cigarette sales be banned in the us?

  Our history with Prohibition has shown that bans in this area simply do not work.  Taxing the hell out of cigarettes along with aggressive and provocative ads that appeal to kids and discourage smoking have proven to decrease smoking quite significantly.  Also, as we did in California, efforts to limit where one can smoke are effective.  In California, this effort was put to the voters as a worker/workplace safety issue, which was brilliant because no one could come out and be vocally against workplace safety.  This has led to further restrictions to the point where, now, if you want to smoke in California, about the only place you can do it freely is in your house.  You can smoke while walking down the street, but don't get within within 20 feet of any building's entrance.  You can't smoke anywhere inside except your house.  It was a very effective way to limit smokers' ability to smoke without an outright ban that might have created a Prohibition-style black market.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There would then be an illegal cigarette trade, and governments across the country would lose out on one of the few remaining sources of revenue.  No, I think that would be a bad idea, and it wouldn't stop people from smoking.

If you don't believe me, Cuban cigars have been banned in the United States for over 50 years, and I have a box of them sitting about five feet from this computer.

What's more, Americans believe in individual choice, and smoking is a five centuries old tradition in this country, so while banning them might make the anti-smoking lobby feel good, it would be about as effective as alcohol prohibition was in the 1920s.

dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think cigarettes will ever be banned in the United States. However, increases in the price of them, most notably from taxation will probably continue. I think its fair to say that there will also be continued state legislation passed restricting where individuals can smoke cigarettes in public places. I also agree with post #3 in that banning cigarettes would be similar to the 'social experiment' of prohibition, which failed drastically from 1920-1933.  

litchick2011 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it would go the way of prohibition in the the 20s. People are going to get cigarettes if they want them, and I imagine there would most likely be a black market for the stuff. I agree with the first post; let people choose whether or not they want to ruin their lungs.

frizzyperm | Student

In reply to JennyRock's idea that, "If people are dumb enough to inhale carcinogens... then let them." is simply a rejection of responsibility to young people. Teenagers are dumb. They are easily led and easily fooled. Thousands of young people each year start smoking for petty reasons (showing off, curiosity, rebellion, etc) but then they are hooked by the strong chemical addiction of nicotine. The leech-like tobacco companies then drain the income of these young addicts while slowly wrecking their health. What sort of society makes such a sick product available everywhere? You compare tobacco to junk food. Junk food is not chemically and psychologically addictive.

I started smoking at 16 and smoked for 20 years. I quit smoking 6 years ago. It was a helluva fight. My brain still wants a nicotine hit every time I have a coffee or a beer. When I see someone smoking, my brain floods with a strong longing to just reach out, take one, light it, inhale and aaaaahhhhhh, Heaven. But then I would be a drug addict again. And I don't want to be a drug addict again. But that longing will always be with me, pulling me to become a smoker again. So I have this constant, low-key battle with cigarettes. 

Tobacco is not a normal product. The consumer very quickly becomes enslaved. Slavery does not belong in America.