Hey, well – firstly…I don’t smoke and I never have. I used to be really serious about sport when I was younger and both of my grandparents died from smoking related cancer – so never tried it. So my opinion may be slightly biased – but smoking does cause a lot of harm, is incredibly addictive and costs the country lots of money in terms of hospital related care. That said…making it illegal or incredibly expensive would be unfair for those people already addicted to it I think. Better and continued education about its effects is a good plan – and recent studies seem to suggest that the number of new smokers each year is dropping.
Most of the talk around the smoking issue focuses on effects on the body and health associated risks and diseases. However, there are many other issues which are not in the limelight but are as important.
The tobacco industry is one of the most destructive in terms of environmental degradation. Tobacco plants are really weak plants so they need to be continuously fertilized with large amounts of synthetic fertililzers which end up polluting waterways, rivers and ultimately the ocean. Check out this link on ocean dead zones caused by these fertilizers http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=oceanic-dead-zones-spread
Tobacco plants also require huge amounts of pesticides and herbicides and all these poisonous chemicals end up killing billions upon billions of beneficial insects like bees. Check out this link on how tobacco farming affects farmers and how the posions remain in the environment almost indefinitely http://www.unfairtobacco.org/en/meldungen/der-tabak-geht-das-gift-bleibt/
I have never smoked either. But I think making it astronomically expensive would be more successful than making it illegal….as Jon says it would be awful for the people already addicted. The more we can do to stop people smoking the better if you ask me….and that means finding ways to stop young people smoking.
I would love to see smoking made illegal. Or maybe made prescription only for those that are addicted to it (so they’d have to get it from a doctor). I don’t think it will happen anytime soon though as the tobacco companies are pretty powerful and no politician would risk banning it and losing lots of votes.
Smoking massively increases your risk of getting cancer, is bad for babies and children and causes horrible diseases such as emphysema. Like Jon, I’m a bit biased – I don’t smoke and I work on cancer. Also, I went to University before the smoking ban. Whenever we went out to the pub or our student union, we would come back absolutely stinking of smoke. It stays on your clothes for weeks, and used to make me feel really sick the day after. It also meant that my friends who had asthma couldn’t come to the pub with us as the smoke would set off an attack- it made me quite anti-smoking. The smoking ban in public places made a HUGE difference. I’ve already seen quite a lot of my friends quit, as they got fed up with having to leave pubs and restaurants to smoke, so I’m hoping that smoking just gradually dies out.
Like the others have said I am also biased because I’ve never smoked but I’m particularly against smoking as my dad passed away as a result of a smoking related illness. So I have seen first hand how devastating smoking can be.
I also have a lot of sympathy for people addicted to smoking as it can be very, very difficult to give up, I agree with Nicola and Jon that it might be best to make it extremely expensive to deter people from smoking in the first place.