SMOKING ON CAMPUS
Today, as in every other day of the year, more than 3,000 adolescents in the United States will smoke their first cigarette on their way to becoming regular smokers as adults (NCI 1994). A number of students on campus are habitual smokers because smoking is addictive; furthermore, unless repressed, it leads to many health complications. The report by the National Cancer Institute on smoking declares that cigarette smoking in the United States clearly outweighs any other factor, whether voluntary or involuntary, as the cause of death (1).
According to a report by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 2 million teenagers continue to smoke, and more than 100,000 youths age 12 and under are habitual smokers. Nearly 20 percent of high school seniors smoke cigarettes daily (22). Smoking is a major cause of oral, laryngeal and esophageal cancers; is a contributory factor in cancers of the bladder, kidney, and pancreas; and may play a role in cancers of the stomach, uterus, and cervix. Each year, more people die prematurely from smoking than die from automobile accidents, drug abuse, AIDS, and alcohol combined (USDHS 1989). The report by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests cigarette smoking to be responsible for 30 percent of all U.S. cancer deaths--about 145,000 each year--and nearly 85 percent of all lung cancers (17).
Smoking leads to numerous cardiac complications. The USDHS report of 1989 mentions that people who smoke heavily are at twice the risk of dying of heart attack than nonsmokers (18). Narrowing of the coronary arteries that feed the heart causes coronary heart disease, a direct consequence of smoking and the most common form of heart disease. According to USDHS, 30 percent of CHD deaths--about 170,000 each year--are attributed to cigarette smoking (18).
Smoking has been found to lead to chronic obstructive lung disease, Emphysema, which according to the Department of Health causes about 50,000 deaths each year. Emphysema has become one of the chief causes of chronic disability in the United Sates; about 2 million persons suffer from it, at least a quarter of whom are so seriously handicapped that they cannot work or maintain a household (18).
Smokers are at a higher risk of developing peptic ulcers, caused by a sore or hole in the lining of the stomach or duodenum (the beginning of the small intestine), ultimately leading to increased incidences of sickness and deaths from them. Smoking is also found to be a major contributor to the recurrence of duodenal ulcers. Smoking is the most prominent risk factor for peripheral vascular disease, a condition in which the arteries that carry blood to the arms or legs become narrowed or clogged. An association between smoking and cerebrovascular disease in younger age groups has also been reported. Thrombus formation, another complication, has also been found to develop as a consequence of smoking.
Breathing environmental tobacco smoke produced by a smoker is "passive smoking," which amounts to very much the same thing as smoking, even if the smoke is secondhand. Reports by the Surgeon General and the National Academy of Sciences have concluded that involuntary smoking can cause lung cancer in healthy nonsmokers. In fact, in a report by USDHS, nonsmoking spouses have been found to have nearly a twofold risk of developing lung cancer if their spouse is a heavy smoker (19). The highly annoying and physically irritating tobacco smoke serves to worsen the symptoms of asthma, chronic bronchitis, allergies and other complications. Children of smoking parents are at a greater risk from respiratory infections and disorders compared to adolescents of nonsmoking parents. According to Mayo Clinic, secondhand smoke may be even more dangerous in some ways than the mainstream smoke drawn directly into a smoker's lungs. "It [Environmental Tobacco Smoke] contains twice as much tar
and nicotine per...
Cited: United Sates. National Cancer Institute. Schools Programs To Prevent Smoking. Washington: 1994.
---. ---. State and Local Legislative Action to Reduce Tobacco Use. Washington: 2000.
---. ---. Cancer Facts: Questions and Answers about Smokeless Tobacco and Cancer. Washington: 1998
---. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Quit for Good: A Practitioner 's Stop-Smoking Guide. Washington: 1989.
---. American Lung Association. Smoking. Washington: 1998.
McLaughlin, Lisa. "In Brief" Time 3 Dec. 2001: 80.
Cordry, Harold V. Tobacco. California: Santa Barbara, 2001.
Marimont, Rosalind B. "The Dangers of Smoking Are Exaggerated." Teen Smoking. Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. 32.
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