What are the advantages and disadvantages for smoking?

Expert Answers
booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For some people, smoking may be something they do to keep from eating. For these people it is a positive. The negatives far outweigh the positives.

Clothes, car, furniture, hair and fingers smell of cigarettes for those who smoke. Smoking ages one's skin, and colors one's fingers and teeth. Cigarettes litter the environment. The incidence of lung cancer is much higher from secondary smoke than for the smoker, so those around the smoker are more likely to get the disease. Smoking around children is nasty. They have no choice as to whether they inhale noxious smoke or not, and it is like slowly poisoning them.

Cigarette smoking, as someone mentioned, makes tobacco companies very rich, even though it has been proven and (and tobacco companies admit) how dangerous and addictive (and expensive) smoking can be.

If thousands of people smoke and survive, I wouldn't want to be the ONE who gets cancer. My grandmother never smoked and yet died of it. I wouldn't care if the rest of the world lives to 100 and smokes. I don't do things because others do; I do what is good for me, and especially what is good for those around me. I don't want to lose years for smoking. I'm afraid I can find very few positives with regard to smoking.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course there are positive things about smoking pohnpei397. The massive amounts of smokers world-wide line the pockets of big companies like Phillip Morris. Let's not forget tobacco farmers who get a piece, albeit small, of the pie. Then there are health care professionals who get a piece of the action when treating people for the cancers that may or may not be a result of the delicious carcinogens that may or may not intentionally known or unknowingly used in the cigarettes. Of course there are also the scientists who spend their lives searching for a cure for the delightful results of such a wholesome past-time. Finally, what a wonderful opportunity those non-smokers get to enjoy secondhand smoke. Heck, they don't even have to pay for the cigarettes to get some of the benefits. 

James Kelley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

yea u're right but the average age in Cuba is over 70 years, and more of 80% smoke cigars and tobacco and cocaine... why is that?

Cuba is often said to have a successful, even admirable health care system. I don't think that smoking does anything to contribute to a person's life span. Universal health care, on the other hand, would likely improve both the length and the quality of life for the population as a whole.

At any rate, the fact that 80% of Cubans smoke (is that even true? and how often do they smoke?) and long-lived cannot be taken a proof that smoking doesn't short lifespans. Lifespan is determined by all sorts of things, including diet and exercise and access to health care.

linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are no "positive things" about smoking. It is a ridiculous habit that is costly in terms of money and in terms of health. My grandfather was a tobacco farmer. Both my parents and most of my other family members used tobacco. My brother never has an unlit cigarette in his hand unless he's eating or sleeping. I have never understood why anyone would want to smoke. What is the appeal of tobacco? Why do people smoke would be a better question. As children, we're taught not to play with matches and to stay away from fire. Yet when we grow up we put a stick of rolled up dried leaves in our mouths and set it on fire. Ridiculous!

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only positive things about smoking is that it makes money for the producers of tobacco products and the farmers who grow it; and it provides some momentary pleasure to the smoker. Needless to say, those are paltry positives compared to the health costs, the actual costs of tobacco products, the well known adverse side effects; the lack of social acceptance, etc. If you want a positive, perhaps Lord Chesterfield said it best; although he was speaking of sex:

"The pleasure is momentary, the position ridiculous and the expense damnable."

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So which are you asking?  The topic says "positive," but Post 1 says "why not to."  Those seem like different things.

I don't really think there's much in the way of positives about smoking.  Some people think that it helps them keep from gaining weight.  Some people think that it makes them look cool.  Outside of that, I can't really think of anything good.

As for bad stuff, there's a tremendous amount of bad stuff, starting with yellow teeth and that stink clinging to your clothes and ending up with heart problems and cancer.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It may be true that we are exposed to environmental pollutants on a daily basis but this is not close to the damaging effects that smoking has on our bodies. When people smoke they are directly inhaling toxins into their lungs which is a lot different than exposure to pollutants in the air.

There are certainly not many benefits to smoking. People need to "make" the cigarettes that people smoke. Many have jobs because of this.

justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pleasure. That is the only positive thing that cigarettes give a smoker. Unless of course the smoker considers the fact that this form of pleasure has no way of being done responsibly and will definitely kill a large portion of his/her cardiac and and respiratory system, among the several others.

As far as the reason behind the average life span of Cubans being so long goes, you'd have to enquire with the Castros.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Man, I really have to dig deep to come up with positives about smoking.  It creates jobs in both agriculture and industry, and, uh, I guess, in health care with the dearth of smoking-related illnesses.  It represents the freedom of personal choice, just as consuming alcohol can be self-destructive yet many people still do.  Smoking is social (to quote The Breakfast Club, "Demented and sad, but social").

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The only positives for smoking is the revenue created for pulmonologists, hypotherapists, psychologists, oncologists, surgeons, oxygen tank rentals, farmers who grow it, factories that produce them, the paper industry, to name a few. Everyone else loses.

redwine21 | Student

yea u're right but the average age in Cuba is over 70 years, and more of 80% smoke cigars and tobacco and cocaine... why is that?

markbenson123 | Student

There are lots of thing are positive about cigarette.It helps to come out from stress.It gives cool looks in your personallity. There is very big industry behing cigarette and people who are working in this industry,they haven't any other income source.

dianajjkeng | Student

yea u're right but the average age in Cuba is over 70 years, and more of 80% smoke cigars and tobacco and cocaine... why is that?

I would probably attribute Cuban longevity to the lack of chemicals in their cigars and tobacco. It's the chemicals in cigarettes that cause much of the cancer and health issues. Cuban cigars are popular for that reason. Furthermore, the health care system in Cuba is more universally accessible than in the US. Lastly, the lifestyle of Cubans is probably a factor, although I have nothing except intuition on that one.

adavison77 | Student

There was a recent study done that claims that nicotine actually helps to combat alzheimer's disease...of course if you die early from a smoking related illness I suppose alzheimer's is the least of your worries.

cheezea | Student

i dont think there is really anything right to smoke... other than making money from selling cigarettes... also i havent experienced it myself so... not sure if i agree on relieving stress and boredom ._. well i think its best not to smoke at all :)

nanina | Student

1, you can relax a bit

2, provide job opportunities

3, provide business for medical sectors


blackera | Student

people find smoking socially between friend is enjoyable. poeple find it as a luxuray, so when they are out and with friends its almost like they are treating themselve. this may be hard for some people to understand but people actually do find it enjoyable.

prayergal | Student

The positives and benefits of smoking are decreasing more and more every day.  Back in the 1940's and 1950's Hollywood brought a lot of glamour to cigarette and cigar smoking so people thought it was a sign of luxury and being in the upper crust.  Until the laws started turning the tables on smoking in the 1980's and 1990's, it was legal to smoke in restaurants and workplaces.  Now it is not.  People just don't look at smoking as positive anymore.  They frown on it and they don't want people doing around them anymore.  So if one smokes, he finds himself doing it outside which can be a real bummer in the winter time.  I remember when I was in high school there actually was a smoking area on our campus.  Now the laws have prevented this.  Honestly, I do believe it is a good thing. 


jfinguy | Student

What are positives to not to smoke is a contradiction, no? IMHO whatever the benefits to smoking the negatives far outweigh them, that's why it's unlawful for kids.


scavenger2 | Student

1) Relives the stress and gives you the right mood2) Frees you from boredom3) It solves most unsolvable issues4) It can keep you away from overeating and keeps your weight in control.5) You keeps thousands employed who is involved in the manufacturing business

coolpenguin | Student

There are not many positive aspects to smoking apart from making you look 'cool' or 'hard', getting you into better social clicks but the conseqences could be as bad and lung cancer or as small as bad teeth but either way it still harms your health.

kukarad70 | Student

In some aspect there is benefit of smoking. It gives chances to grow friendship just asking lighters to the smokers. Farmers, the producers of tobacco might earn and Tobacco Company might go in profit. Government can take tax in tobacco items than other normal items.

Some smoke for making stomach empty while they go toilet. Foam of smoke somehow can help minimizing the bacterial effects into the body I believe because it would be not tolerable to them because of its toxin. Smoking might help to show gentleness for boys in front of ladies. However, being these advantages at last that is not a far sight inviting cancer.   

giorgiana1976 | Student

Certainly, a smoker can provide you a long list of positive reasons pro smoking. The most common argument is that the smoking kills boredom (unfortunately, smoking kills also the one who gets bored).

The list of a smoker is full of fake arguments pro smoking, like the followings:

- "smoking doesn't mean addiction, one can give up smoking at any time" (evidently the denial state of a smoker)

The truth is that the chemicals from a cigarette reach from the lungs to the brain and stimulates production of dopamine, a substance that induces wellnes. Although nicotine induces a good feeling of happiness, the body needs increasing amounts of nicotine to keep this state.

redwine21 | Student

In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and diet.

redwine21 | Student

in reply to most of u're posts:
looking to the economic benefit, it's true that these huge firm are making a lot of gain, also the doctors... their is no doubt that this causes a lot of troubles to the body systemm but also fast food does, and al the pestizides in food does, and the cans does, and the food preservative does.

In fact the illness is due to the virus in the atmosphere,  in the food, in the industrial air, due to the pollution. Long time ago people used to smoke but also the material used were much more natural than nowadays and the diseases were much more less than now.

Smoking is a factor that troubles the body, but all of you are exposes the a lot of different factors that troubles your body too.

tpriegel | Student

Another possible positve outcome for smoking could be the social aspect.  For some people who are shy or have difficulty meeting people, smoking may be that ice breaker that starts a conversation and a relationship.  We all see people gathered in groups outside of places where smoking is not allowed socializing.  This group astmosphere may be a blessing for some people to meet friends that they may not have otherwise.  Something simple like asking to borrow a lighter to light a cigarette could be the opening into a conversation that some people need.

Many people are also calmed down by smoking and they use it as a stress reliever.  This may not be the healthiest way to do these things, but it does have a positve short term affect for the smoker.

melissa1106 | Student

In my opinion there are not many positives to smoking it may relieve stress for some people but it comes with many disadvantages.

The disadvantages of prolonged smoking are lung disease, cancer, amputations, gum disease, bad breath and many other health complications. Another disadvantage is second hand smoke which can even effect others who do even choose to smoke.

cathyluv | Student

This question can be answered from 2 perspectives; the economical side and the health side.

Cigarettes contain a range of ingredients, from citric acid (which is naturally found in citrus fruits) to formaldehyde (an embalming fluid which is used to preserve dead bodies). However some of the most harmful components are tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide.

Nicotine is addictive. This is what makes smokers so dependent on smoking. Nicotine is said to be a stimulant as it affects the brain, but to fully understand this we have to take a look at how the nervous system works. The nervous system is made up of billion of nerve cells called neurons. When an action is to be carried out, say pick up a book, the brain sends messages along the body in the form of electrical impulses or by releasing chemicals (neurotransmitters) through these neurons.  Each neurotransmitter has a special receptor located on the surface of the neuron. Now what nicotine does is this. Nicotine molecules have a similar shape to a type of neurotransmitter called acetylcholine which involved in muscle movement, breathing, heath rate, learning and memory. When nicotine gets into the brain, it starts mimicking these actions, making the person more alert and active but also increases your heart rate and so your blood pressure.

Tar is the real killer. Tar is inhaled into the mouth and goes down the respiratory tract (trachea). It is then absorbed by the cells in the lungs, especially those lining the bronchi and bronchioles. Bronchi and bronchioles are meant to have a very thin wall, as oxygen has to flow into them at a regular rate, but when tar is absorbed, they are thickened so the passage from where air can get in and out is narrowed, therefore the person may get out of breath very easily. Tar is carcinogenic. It makes the whole respiratory lining inflate which in turn cases chronic bronchitis. However, tar has a more sinister side to it. In our wind pipe, we have small hair like structures (called cilia) which filter the air before it gets to our lungs reducing the chances of infection. Cilia also help in the removal of bacteria by wafting up the mucus (produced by the goblet cells to further reduce risk of infection) which has trapped the bacteria which we have inhaled. When tar is inhaled, it burns the cilia and stimulates the goblet cells to make more mucus. Now since there are no more working cilia (or very little), the mucus containing the bacteria cannot be wafted up and coughed out so it goes back to the lungs. Over time, the mucus accumulates along with the bacteria indie of it.

Carbon monoxide is absorbed by the haemoglobin in the blood to form carboxyhaemoglobin. This leaves oxygen less space to combine with the haemoglobin so less oxygen is being transported around the body.

Smokers are prone to emphysema, which is a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Emphysema occurs when the alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs are gradually destroyed. It turns the spherical alveoli into large, irregular pockets with gaping holes in their walls. The alveoli are the respiratory surface to this means that the surface are of the lungs is being reduced.

Smoking also affects pregnancy. Babies born to mother who smoke are known to be smaller, prone to more infections and the baby may even suffer from breathing problems. Remember, everything that the mother takes will eventually end up in the baby.

Some diseases caused by smoking are:

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Emphysema

  • Chronic bronchitis

  • High blood pressure

  • Fertility problems

  • Worsens asthma and counteracts medication

  • Ulcers

  • Cancer (lung, cervix, kidney, mouth etc...)

Many people however see all this as an opportunity for business. Think of the leading cigarette companies; Marlboro, camel, Rothmans etc... The people who own these companies have made tons of money selling people products which will eventually kill them. Factories have opened up all over the world. Tobacco farming has increased in demand and become more popular, especially in underdeveloped/ developing countries. One particular company may own hundreds of plots of land. That company may give an opportunity to the people living in these underdeveloped countries to work and improve their situation. In turn it may help the country in general, increasing imports and exports to and from other countries.

zumba96 | Student

I do not really see positives for smoking but if you smoke your life span can decrease and your lungs can fail as well as your lungs can turn all black and disgusting. You spend too much money on cigs as well 

bayeh11 | Student
n my opinion, this poem means that, although time passes, we keep what is important in our hearts. These things that we retain are much more important than the physical things that we lose. We can see this in how the physical things in this poem have been lost. Specifically, the wooden steps are no longer there. They are off somewhere, waiting to be burned. Even though the steps are no longer there, the memories that are associated with them are there. They linger in the speaker's heart and they make her happy even after time passes and physical things are gone.
anzhela1 | Student