The Heavy Impact of Smoking on Society
Most adults know the personal risks of smoking cigarettes – stained teeth, gum disease, cancer, just to name a few. But what about the impact of smoking on society? Every lung problem, heart problem, and disease which smokers can acquire also applies to non-smokers. Second-hand smoke is any smoke produced or exhaled by smokers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke and that only a smoke-free environment is safe. WHO also states that young children are at a great risk from second-hand smoke, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute states, “Young people regularly exposed to second-hand smoke in the home inhale about the same amount of nicotine as if they were smoking 60-150 cigarettes a year.”
In 13 of Australia’s Aboriginal communities, some adult smoking rates can get as high as 80% according to a study by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization. Most of the children in those same communities, influenced by their parents, families and friends, start smoking before 10 and can start as early as 6 years old! Culturally, smoking can be a way to bond with friends. Many interviewed in the study expressed using smoking for stress relief, to feel a sense of control in their lives, and to feel connected to their communities.
The damage from cigarettes is not limited to human health. A 2017 study found that the planet’s smokers emit the same amount of greenhouse gases as 1.5 million cars driven in a year. According to the same study, chemicals from cigarettes also accumulate in the environment and can pollute drinking water. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable, and so contribute to a large amount of waste in landfills.
Manufacturing cigarettes also produce many chemicals, including ammonia and sulphuric acid, which are harmful to the workers in the industry as well as the environment in general. Producing these chemicals also requires the companies to find a way to dispose of them without causing further harm to the environment.
Quitting smoking is not only good for your health, but good for the health of your family, community, and society as a whole. Be sure to contact us if you have any questions about a nicotine-free way to quit.