Cigarettes Should be Illegal – Addiction Example

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"Cigarettes Should be Illegal" is a perfect example of a paper on addiction. When asked if the sale and/or consumption of cigarettes should be made illegal people express a definite opinion either for or against it. Those opposed claim that prohibition of any substance does not prevent it from being consumed. In addition, prosecuting violators, where sellers or buyers, would further clog up the courts and over-burden the already overcrowded prison system. Proponents of banning the sale of cigarettes counter that tobacco is the single largest killer in the world. It kills more than cancer, heart attacks, accidents, and even many wars.

Secondly, allowing cigarettes to be legal sends a conflicting message to youths. They cannot be expected to respect the law when they know marijuana use, for example, leads to zero deaths yet is illegal while the most prolific killer, cigarettes, is sold openly on every block. Lastly, banning the sale of a substance does not necessarily mean kids sneaking a smoke will be hauled off to prison. Making cigarettes illegal makes health sense, promotes common sense and sensible laws can be crafted to calm the fears of anti-prohibitionists. If any other substance killed 400,000 people every year it would certainly be banned.

Cigarettes are worse for human consumption than other substances, worse than any legal or illegal drug or alcohol. More people die from cigarette smoking than from all other drugs plus alcohol combined by a long margin. Unfortunately, cigarettes are woven deep into the fabric of society. Tobacco was an economical necessity in the colonial years. The tobacco lobby is powerful. Farmers have long received subsidies from the government to grow this poisonous product.

The health consequences of smoking are long and severe. Recent television commercials have demonstrated the horrible disfiguring effects of cancer due to smoking. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a torturous lung disease due to nearly 100 percent to smoking. It involves slowly suffocating over a few agonizing last years. Cancer of the lungs, a common result of smoking, is a painful way to die slowly. Dying from these smoking-related diseases is very hard on the person afflicted but is also a terrible sentence for the family and friends.

Nothing kills so many and so harshly. It’ s impossible to justify the reasoning behind tobacco being both illegal and therefore still somewhat accepted by society while marijuana is neither. Youths learn from a very early age to question the wisdom of all laws and to ignore those they do not agree with. Cigarettes are not healthy for the individual or for a society built on the foundation of the legal system. Youths do not respect those who are hypocritical meaning respect for their parents and legal authority is lessened when laws and rules make no sense. Making cigarettes illegal does not have to mean building more prisons to house offenders or ruining people’ s lives simply because they “ lit up. ” The sale of tobacco should be illegal but not the consumption.

No longer would every convenience store stock cigarettes. They would not be widely available to anyone and opposed to what anti-prohibitionists say, an underground market would not be widespread, at least not for long. There is no euphoric “ high” associated with tobacco as there is in alcohol and drugs therefore those addicted to cigarettes today would try to find a black market dealer but the demand would slow to a crawl over the years. If we named it anything but tobacco, it would be illegal tomorrow.

This killer is the most harmful substance to society but remains legal which makes the entire legal system suspect, both carry dangerous consequences. According to a 2006 Zogby poll, nearly half of all Americans would make cigarettes illegal. The time has come but unfortunately too late for millions of afflicted users.


Newman, Tony. Should We Ban Tobacco? Alternet Retrieved from
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