2fer #2: Secondhand Smoke Kills
Since the year 1964, over 2.5 million nonsmokers in the United States have died from secondhand smoke related health problems. In 1995, the first statewide law on smoking in public places was enforced in California. Since then, there continues to be waves of laws in different states making it illegal to smoke in public places.. Some smokers say that banning public smoking is an infringement on their individual freedom. However, people who inhale secondhand smoke are not doing so consensually. There are too many people being put at risk by secondhand smoke. Because smoking causes bigger concerns to other people than to the smoker, smoking in public places should be banned.
Inhaling secondhand smoke is just as hazardous as smoking. People that are exposed to secondhand smoke absorb the same about of chemical compounds that the smokers do. The chemical compounds that come from cigarettes and tobacco are proven to contribute to many different diseases including heart disease, asthma, and immune system deficiency. Out of the 4,000 chemical compounds in cigarettes, 69 are proven to cause cancer. The EPA, International Agency for Research on Cancer, and the US National Toxicology Program all consider secondhand smoke as a “known human carcinogen”. In addition, there is evidence that secondhand smoke is linked to lung cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, brain tumors in children, and many other kinds of cancer. Many people are in danger of life threatening diseases due to smoking in public places. When people to smoke in public places, it puts many other people in harms way of dangerous and life threatening diseases.
While secondhand smoke causes many different diseases, it is also proven that is has a large impact on newborns, infants, and babies still in the womb. Exposure to secondhand smoke while pregnant increases the chances of pregnancy and delivery problems such as miscarriage and stillborn birth.The Institute of Environmental Medicine in Sweden has proven that the most common health threat associated with secondhand smoke is lower respiratory infections in children under five years old. The National Cancer Institute’s studies show that children are exposed to secondhand smoke more than adults at a two to one ratio. Despite the slow decrease of smokers worldwide, more than two-thirds of the children in the United States are exposed to secondhand smoke in their everyday routine. This exposure can cause major health issues as they get older. If smoking was banned in public places, fewer children would be exposed to it.
Secondhand smoke kills children and adults that are nonsmokers. In the United States, 42.1 million adults smoke cigarettes. In one year, approximately 58 million nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke caused 603,000 deaths in 2004. An estimated 49,000 of those deaths were caused by heart disease or lung cancer. Since 2004, the number of smokers in the United States has decreased. However, there are still millions of people who smoke, and they millions of nonsmokers at risk of inhaling secondhand smoke everyday. People are dying because of something that is legal.
It is not the goal of a smoker to kill people with their secondhand smoke. However, it still happens. The medical risks and death rates caused by secondhand smoking can be cut down drastically. Although the harms of secondhand smoke may only seem important to secondhand smoke victims, it should in fact concern anyone that smokes as well because their family and friends are at risk to become secondhand smoke victims. One way to protect the health of many people is to quit smoking if you are a smoker. Another option is to make sure all children go to a tobacco-free daycare or school. Even if a person changes everything in their power to avoid secondhand smoke, there will continue to be places where they can be exposed to secondhand smoke. Dreams of a secondhand smoke-free society will never come true if the country does not start by eliminating smoking in public places.
"Secondhand Smoke (SHS) Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Aug. 2015. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/general_facts/>.
"Secondhand Smoke." Secondhand Smoke. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/secondhand-smoke>.