Big Tobacco, Is it Still a Problem?

Tobacco products have been illegal to advertise for years, now. We do not hear about it as often and it becomes the question of “is it still a problem?”. The answer, bluntly, is yes. Smoking still affects many people, including youth between the ages of 12 and 18. Though smoking cigarettes has gone down in quantity of people smoking them, nicotine use is still a dangerous fad, being offered in more varieties than it once was.

In New Jersey, the legal age to buy tobacco is 21. But, 8.1% of high schoolers have reported smoking and over 12% have reported using e-cigarettes, which still contain a high amount of nicotine. It is a good measure that the legal age has been raised, but it is clear that this has not deterred underage persons from smoking.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, as per the CDC. “More than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the United States,” stated the CDC. Aside from death, cigarette smoking leads to other major diseases like cancer, chronic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and minor ailments like wrinkles, yellowed teeth, Raynaud’s.

Cigarettes also effect the environment, which is something we do not always think about it. Cigarettes are a leading cause of deforestation because of growing the tobacco. Aside from just growing the tobacco, having enough paper to roll the cigarettes or to sell separately as rolling paper further influences deforestation.

A more obvious effect on the environment is air pollution. Not only is air pollution happening as people continue to smoke cigarettes, but the production process creates mass amounts of air pollutants, including greenhouse gasses.

So, though Big Tobacco has moved to the backburner in a lot of citizen’s minds, it is still an extremely pertinent issue. Big tobacco is ruining lives by continuing to cause health hazards, the issue that has been pressed for a while now. But, it is important to see the impacts that big tobacco is placing on the environment, too. As e-cigarettes and vapes rise up in popularity, we cannot forget or stop pushing for the end of cigarette smoking and big tobacco.