Since I am 99% sure I have no chance of winning, I hope Danielle is fine with self-plagiarism.
A frail, old man hunches alone in a dark, gloomy room. Smoke rises from his dry, cracked lips, smothering his face. He had no friends--all earlier ones given up-- due to his terrible breath and yellow teeth. And what did he have to gain? Lung cancer, kidney malfunction, hospital fees rising to the thousands, cigarette packs putting a dent in his budget every year. He regretfully stares at the blank wall, wishing he could undo it all, wishing he could prevent his first cigarette. Alas, it is too late-- he coughs with some effort and takes his last breath as the white cylinder sucks his life and soul away.
Cigarettes. Such is the name of the terrifying assassin. Six million victims die annually from smoking, the number-one cause of preventable death in the U.S. The deaths are even more than those from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related incidents combined. It is always a dreadful scene to see those related to mourning victims at the somber funeral. Crestfallen families think of it as their fault that they could not prevent their family members' deaths. No one should smoke, because it is hazardous for health as well as safety.
1st hand: Basics
First of all, cigarettes contain greater than seven thousand dangerous chemicals in it when burned, and at least 70 are known to cause cancer. A person’s overall health diminishes as a result. First-hand smokers practically transform through gaining yellow teeth, skin, and fingernails, some losing their teeth from their bad habits. Smokers are also known to get headaches, lung cancer, and bad breath. Furthermore, they have greater chances of a heart attack or having a nonfunctional kidney. Other diseases, such as the cancers of the lung, esophagus, bladder, pancreas, and stomach, among other body organs, as well as acute Myeloid Leukemia, are all possible outcomes. There are still yet further adverse effects on women, as they have the effects of obtaining Preterm (early) delivery, Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth), Low birth weight, Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death) Ectopic pregnancy, and can even have Orofacial clefts in infants when pregnant. Smokers are immensely sacrificing their real bodies just for pleasure. But this is illogical-- being physically well for life is much more important than the momentary satisfaction smoking brings.
1st hand: Addiction
Cigarettes not only weakens the human body, but it also adds a terrible chemical called Dopamine into the brain, enhancing an addiction. Sufferers tend to feel like a hole is missing from their lives, thus causing paranoia, a suspicious personality, leading to an overall withdrawal from social situations. Eventually, the feed on Dopamine can cause irregular blood flow and cause mental disorders, leading one to become psychotic or insane. It can also overwork the brain as Dopamine is usually created from electric signals in the brain. Other much less harmful activities exist, supplying just the right amount of Dopamine; we need only look for them. Music, exercise, merely spending time with family can bring such pleasure, and none of these activities are remotely dangerous. Such an addictive behavior ought not to dominate one's life.
2nd hand: Environment
To add-on to the self-effacing effects, smoking outside leaves casualties to breathe in this pollution too. In the United States, two out of five adults do not smoke, yet secondhand smoke affects half the children, and statistics show 53,800 in total die every year from exposure alone. It is clear: these secondary effects can infringe on citizens' rights. The damage does not stop there; third-hand smoking exists. Tobacco can linger in the air for a long time after smoking stops, and stay on our clothes. Many dangerous chemicals form from third-hand, such as carcinogens and heavy metals, like arsenic, lead, and cyanide. Sticky, highly toxic particulates, like nicotine, can cling to walls and ceilings. Not only so, but these chemicals can also re-emit back into the air and recombine to form harmful compounds. The side effects are too powerful for people and the environment.
Would you believe if someone told you tobacco was a thief too? It drains the money from everyone, as well as the government: merely one pack a day can accumulate to the costly $2000 yearly. Businesses also have to suffer from the loss of workers. In only one-year, California lost more than $18.1 billion due to a lack of productivity and health care costs. Because of the massive harms and damage, patients have to check every two or three months to make sure their body is healthy. If they are not, then they have to spend massive amounts of unnecessary money. In England, 400,000 people quit smoking due to banning smoking in public areas. Nearly two-fifths (39%) of all smokers said the ban had helped keep them out of a hospital. These statistics show that unlike Prohibition, more support the government than not, and as such, its command of banning smoke across the country should continue.
This killer’s loitering is quite deadly. Cigarette butts may become accidental arsonists so to speak. Greater than 7,500 smoking-related house fires occur each year, the statistic that goes together with the fact that it is the leading cause of house fires. These house fires have killed up to greater than 1,000 every year. Those who survived were largely injured, not to mention property loss alone is worth up to half a billion. In the bigger picture, the human pain, suffering in addition to health care costs up to a hefty 4 billion dollars. Not only so, but a study also finds hay within one-third of its trials catching on fire from cigarette butts. According to the National Fire Protection Association, these cigarette butts caused about 12 percent of outside fires. It remains evident; even if one does not care about their health, sickness, they should at least fear the ignition of fires, and ultimately, property as well as life loss from the aftermath.
For one, to dry tobacco, each year, up to 600 million trees provide for tobacco. Forests prevent floods and droughts; they bring us fresher air and slow global warming and unhealthy air pollution. Not only can forests being harmed, but sea creatures are harmed too, as they can accidentally eat a cigarette and die as a result. These cigarettes, when thrown into the ocean, take 12 months to break down in freshwater—and an estimated five years in saltwater. The amount not properly disposed of is almost as much as the people in the world-- 7 billion! We destroy wildlife as a result of these cigarette butts. Evidence finds cigarettes within the stomach of young birds, and sea turtles as well. Merely in the state of California, the government has to spend $41 million annually to compensate and be able to clean up. The environment is part of us; it is essential to our lives.
Many believers of liberty against the banning of smoking say citizens have the freedom of choice. For the first time, it may seem so—anyone can stop themselves once they see the terrible effects. But what about those young first-timers who are unaware? Immediately they are trapped into a mess which they cannot escape, involving the aforementioned chemical Dopamine. Cigarettes are nearly impossible to put down—in fact, nearly 17 million Americans try to quit each year, but unfortunately, merely 8 percent of smokers manage to succeed. Thus, 92% lose their freedom of choice, and what good is that? A ban, although having 100% declined the freedom of choice, has only positive health benefits and no economic cost. Among a survey of over 8,000 smokers in four countries, there was a 90% consensus: given the chance to restart, they would not smoke again. This is a clear show of violation of autonomy that proponents advocate for.
The same senior, without haven taken any cigarettes, stands strong, taking a clean deep breath of fresh air. Bright light shines through the window, and he smiles with clean teeth as he thinks of the past, the decision he had made to never let the smog cloud his body and mind and dominate his life. Laughing and talking with his friends by his side, he lives the rest of his life with decent savings. The world would be a better place without cigarettes. The government should take action immediately and stop that puff of exhaust from coming out of all smokers' mouths. Houses would be much safer, the economy of families—and the world— would be stabilized, and most importantly, we would save the environment. Let us hope that other dangerous drugs, as partners-in-crime, will also be abandoned so that everyone will live a fulfilled life.