It's Time to Address the Smoking Epidemic

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There is an epidemic affecting every community and, indirectly, every person in this country. That epidemic is known as tobacco. Some statistics about this epidemic directly from the website of the World Health Organization are below:

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Nearly 80% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

(http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/)

If there was a disease that killed up to half of the infected, the government would be in a panic attempting to stop it. In fact, smallpox, which was declared exterminated in the United States in 1949, only had a death rate of about 3 out of 10 infected. 

(https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/about/index.html)

Let's look at some other statistics from the CDC: "From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids." (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/overdose.html) Why am I bringing up opioids? Because, it is one of the major issues in the United States political climate and almost everyone that it has to be swiftly and effectively dealt with. 

What about tobacco?

"Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day." (https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/).

I don't think that those statistics need to be explained. In five years, smoking can kill more people who haven't smoked than opioids have killed between 1999 and 2015. I do not intend on trivializing the opioid epidemic, I am simply using it as a reference point.

Something needs to be done about this, and it needs to be done now. However, I am not suggesting we simply make use of these products illegal. That will not fix the problem and may even cause greater problems. Rather, I suggest that the government immediately bans all forms of tobacco products that are not pure in tobacco content. From there, the government can distribute nicotine patches and other aid for tobacco users and then finally ban tobacco. 

I would like to dedicate this petition to those who have suffered, directly or indirectly, from the tobacco epidemic, whether an addict, family member, or a friend.



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