Humanity has been smoking filtered tobacco cigarettes since the mid-twentieth century, and we’ve been smoking more primitive variants of the cigarette way before that. Rolling tobacco leaves, lighting them up, sucking in the smoke has been done by the Mayans since the 9th century (they called it a siyar).
Now, we return to the present. The World Health Organization states on their fact page that cancer is the leading cause of death, and lung cancer tops the list as the most prevalent killer, claiming over a million lives per year (1.37 million in 2008). Of course, tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer. Oh, and this isn’t a steady number or percentage. With their data, they predict the death toll to keep rising, doubling present death toll numbers by 2030.
This begs a simple question: why do we do this to ourselves? You’d think over a thousand years of puffing tobacco smoke and seeing the effects from doing it would teach us to stay away from burning that leaf for good. Then again, that’s just one of the many destructive activities humans have been doing since we became “civilized.”
Let’s take a look at what we’ve learned from smoking, so far:
It’s a Hard Habit to Break
The American Heart Association has claimed that nicotine addiction (nicotine is the chemical in tobacco that makes it oh so irresistible) is one of the hardest dependencies to shake off. Add the fact that tobacco companies in America (and possibly everywhere else in the world) are gradually raising the nicotine content in their cigarette products, this just means that more and more people (younger and younger, too) will get hooked.
That makes cigarette companies big-time drug dealers that are bent on making every single human addicted to their merchandise. What’s worse is that they’re totally legit in the eyes of governments.
Diminished Quality and Quantity of Life
It was already mentioned above that smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer, and that cancer kills more and more people all over the world (70% from the low and middle class), you could definitely infer from those bits of knowledge that smokers will tend to live shorter, more disease-ridden lives.
I don’t think any amount of YOLO-ing or believing in a sugar candy land afterlife will justify ruining the tail end of your short stay on this planet.
It’s Cool to be Stupid
Chemical addiction aside, we’ve all been exposed to the flimsy lies and flawed logic behind justifying the use of these “cancer sticks.” Still, even with the warnings, studies, and graphic images showing the insides of a dead smoker’s lungs, we puff on. Hey, lots of people are doing it, and important people, to boot. Even doctors smoke, so it can’t be that bad, right?
We Have a Long Way to Go
Humans aren’t quite the enlightened and wise race of sentients that we purport ourselves to be. We fight amongst each other, covet each other’s resources, and sacrifice the well-being of others to benefit our own agenda. The cigarette industry is a prime example of that. They entice and sell products that basically make their customers worse off. The only benefit they can really impart is that they give pharmaceutical and medical companies some big opportunities for business when the smokers’ bodies become compromised, and are in need of medical attention.
I know we can do better than this. Toss those cancer sticks into the bin, find a good hobby, and take care of your body. As far as I know, you only have one.
About the Author
Stacey Thompson is a professional writer, marketer, entrepreneur, and a lover of weird little animals. She is based in San Diego, California, and is currently working with her friends on a blog, Word Baristas.