Why should tobacco (cigarettes) be banned in America?

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary reason for a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars the effects of second hand smoke on other people.  It is considered such a great health risk that many states have legislated to protect those who do not smoke from incurring one of the many dangerous side effects of being in an enclosed area with other smokers.

A secondary reason for such laws goes to the idea that by regulating public areas where people are allowed or not allowed to smoke, this will somehow deter people from smoking.  The idea is to help people quit (or not start) smoking.  By reducing the number of smokers, the health side-effects are reduced, and the overall cost of health care, in the long run, is reduced.  In theory.  This is of course assuming that by taking away a place to smoke, the smoker decides it is too much work to keep up the habit and quits.

I live in NC, where there is a smoking ban in restaurants and bars.  While I love this laws for purely selfish reasons (I'm not a smoker and I hate the smell of second hand smoke), I do not think it will be successful in lowering the amount of smokers in the state.  If nothing else, the biggest complaint is that many bars are losing business because the crowd of those who smoke AND drink is dwindling.

Banning smoking all together would probably have the same effect as prohibition had.  And we all know what that did for actually reducing drinking in America.  Hah.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have always found it interesting that tobacco can be readily purchased so easily despite its obvious health hazards. As the leading cause of lung cancer, cigarettes can be directly attributed to tens of thousands of deaths each year. The cost of cigarettes has become an expensive daily habit for regular users. For example, a two-pack per day user will spend $350+ monthly--more than some people pay for rent or a car payment. Compared with other illegal substances--marijuana, for example--tobacco proves to be a far more unhealthy and potentially lethal alternative. Until local, state and federal governments take a firmer stand against production and distribution, this legal addictive substance will continue to rob its users of their health and finances.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cigarettes should be banned in America because of the chronic illness they cause. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine which is a vasoconstrictor. Vasoconstrictor's reduce the size of diameter of blood vessels which acts to raise blood pressure and increase the incidence of acute myocardial infarction(heart attack), and CVA(stroke).

In addition, cigarette smoke contains known carcinogens, substances which cause cancer. Granted, all lung cancer is not due to smoking, but a vast number of cases are. For the most part this is a preventable disease if you do not smoke. Cigars and pipes are not immune from causing cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and esophagus. Chewing tobacco and snuff are also responsible for oral cancers.     

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The health concerns might form the crux of an argument in favor of banning cigarettes.  If tobacco is seen as addictive, then the question would be how could a government that is sworn to promote the general welfare allow such an addictive element to be present and sanctioned by said government to be available for consumption?  The previous post's thoughts about how it is a public health concern through second hand smoke is a valid one. Continuing this line of logic, how can a government stand idly by while individuals become addicted to a drug that has horrific side effects to multiple parts of the body?  I would think that an argument could be made along these lines.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If there were a total ban on smoking in America, the main reason for it would be to reduce the amount of money that is spent to care for people who are made ill by smoking.

When people smoke, we all suffer financially even if we are nowhere near the smoke.  If they get cancer, for example, a lot of money must be spent treating them.  This will raise insurance rates for everyone or, if the people are on Medicaid or Medicare, it will raise our taxes.

So we have a financial interest in stopping others from smoking because it affects us as well as them.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Justifications that apply to banning of cigarettes in America are same as those that will apply in most of the countries of the world. Cigarette smoking is bad for health. The many injurious effects of cigarettes smoking as well as other forms of tobacco have been well established. But cigarette smoking still continues to be popular among a large section of society.

Thus there are no benefits of cigarette smoking in terms of  meeting the basic physiological need of people. However popularity of cigarette smoking by so many wise and successful people, in spite of awareness of cigarette smoking, clearly establishes that smoking does offer some value to the smokers. Thus banning smoking completely on the basis of adverse health effect on the smoker may not be a very wise one. However there may be some justification for smoking in public places because of the nuisance created for non-smokers, and the adverse effect on their health because of passive smoking.

lit24 | Student

The financial cost of smoking cigarettes stretches far beyond the actual cost of a pack of cigarettes. The cost of tobacco related diseases is indeed mind boggling. A National Survey has revealed that more than 50 million dollars is spent on hospitalization and other related costs because of tobacco related diseases like coronary heart disease and cancer. Moreover, cigarettes are the leading cause of civilian fire deaths and injuries in the U.S. and cause $552 million in direct property damage annually. Hence, drastic measures need to be taken to prevent the tobacco industry from seducing our youth  to succumb to this pernicious addiction to becoming the next generation of smokers and excess consumers of health care dollars

stephcooper19 | Student

I found the info below online:

I agree with alot of the stated effects, and since nothing is gained from it i thin it should be banned.

Tobacco, especially smoking tobacco, is and always has been a hot-button topic. Non-smokers hate cigarettes with a passion for their pervasive smoke, lingering smell and overall generally distasteful effects. Smokers defend their right to smoke just as passionately, and have a strong dislike for being told what they can and cannot do to their own bodies, especially when their choice to consume tobacco products is a completely legal one. However, sometimes people simply don’t understand what smoking tobacco is, or does to their bodies; it’s even worse when it’s a pre-teenager or teen whose choice to smoke stems directly from a need to look cool or fit in, without fully understanding the ramifications of that choice. If you or someone you love is addicted to smoking tobacco, or you suspect they are, it’s important to understand the uses and forms of tobacco, so you know what to look for when search for a way to get them on the road to rehabilitation.



also, here is a list of the composition of cigarette smoke:

List of cigarette smoke carcinogens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,[1][dead link] the following are known human carcinogens found in cigarette smoke:

ChemicalAmount (per cigarette)Acetaldehyde 980 micrograms to 1.37 milligrams Acrylonitrile formerly 1 to 2 milligrams. This product was used as a fumigant in tobacco. Its use has since been discontinued. 4-Aminobiphenyl 0.2 to 23 nanograms per cigarette o-Anisidine hydrochloride unknown Arsenic unknown Benzene 5.9 to 75 micrograms Beryllium 0.5 nanograms 1,3-Butadiene 152 to 400 micrograms Cadmium 1.7 micrograms 1,1-Dimethylhydrazine unknown Ethylene oxide unknown Formaldehyde unknown Furan unknown Heterocyclic amines unknown Hydrazine 32 micrograms Isoprene  :3.1 milligrams Lead unknown 2-Naphthylamine 1.5 to 35 nanograms Nitromethane unknown N-Nitrosodi-n-butylamine 3 nanograms N-Nitrosodiethanolamine 24 to 36 nanograms N-Nitrosodiethylamine up to 8.3 nanograms N-Nitrosodimethylamine 5.7 to 43 nanograms N-Nitrosodi-n-propylamine 1 nanogram 4-(N-Nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone up to 4.2 micrograms N-Nitrosonornicotine 14 micrograms N-Nitrosopiperidine unknown N-Nitrosopyrrolidine 113 nanograms N-Nitrososarcosine 22 to 460 nanograms Polonium-210 variable, depending on soil and fertilizer used to grow tobacco[2] Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons 28 to 100 milligrams o-Toluidine 32 nanograms Vinyl chloride 5.6 to 27 nanograms