Think About It: Smoke Screened - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

October 7, 2013

Think About It: Smoke Screened

The University of Hawaii-Manoa will strengthen its policy against smoking on January 1st when it bans the use of all tobacco products and electronic cigarettes anywhere on campus and within 50-feet of the campus. Good for UH. The decision points out the hypocrisy in this country whereby we allow cigarettes, a proven killer, to be readily available, yet we continue to demonize all forms of recreational drugs, some of which are surely less dangerous or addictive than nicotine. The point here is not to question whether or not to legalize certain recreational drugs- that's a different discussion- but rather to ask: why are cigarettes still legal in this country?

400,000 die annually in the United States due to cigarette smoking, and tens of thousands are adversely affected by secondhand smoke. Healthcare costs in the U.S. related to smoking are $100-billion a year. Nicotine is highly addictive; many Americans try to kick the habit each year, but the National Institute of Health says that 85% of those who try to quit on their own relapse within one week! Drug levels from smoke inhalation peak within 10-seconds- now that's a quick high. So aside from the economic value to a few states and the amazing power of the tobacco lobby in Washington, D.C., you have to ask yourself- why isn't this drug illegal?

If you think you aren't affected as a non-smoker, think again. Nicotine and smoking sickens even non-smokers, and everyone's insurance rates are affected over time to help cover the ailments. Smoking decreases one's life expectancy by 8.3-years, or about 12-minutes per cigarette.  Tobacco kills more people in this country annually than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides… combined. It is long overdue for the U.S. to ban this wicked and addictive product in all forms, as politically treacherous as it might seem. And for the 19% of Americans who still smoke, a ban will ultimately be an obvious blessing. Think about it…

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