Should smoking be banned completely? By Phoenix, The Cherwell School Smoking kills about a hundred thousand people in the UK each year, and harms those who do not even smoke. Smoking causes many common diseases and illnesses such as lung cancer, heart disease and asthma, and can cause cot death in babies. It causes 84% of deaths from lung cancer and 83% of obstructive lung disease. Smoking has been a debated issue for decades, and it has been recently in the news as a current political issue, with the ban of smoking in cars with children. There are many health, financial and environmental effects of smoking. Smoking costs society billions of pounds, and can increase poverty levels with the average smoker spending £2,900 a year on their addiction. The National Health Service spends about £2 billion per year on treatments of smoking related diseases. Smoking breaks at work cost businesses as much as £5 billion per year. About £1.1 billion per year is spent on social care costs of older smokers. There is also the cost of damage by fires causes by smoking, which is £391 million per year. Research also shows that childhood poverty can lead to smoking. On the other hand, the government gets billions in taxes from the sales of tobacco products; in 2013, they got £12.3 billion. Smoking is also harmful to the environment. It is common knowledge that cigarette smoke releases pollutants into the air, and is harmful to breathe in. We also know that cigarette remains releases pollutants into the air and soil, and take 25 years to fully decompose. Apart from being a fire hazard, the demand for cigarettes needs one tree to make 300 cigarette papers. Cigarettes can also be harmful to animals, which can sometimes eat them, and also animals have been used in animal experiments to show the dangers of smoking. Would completely banning smoking be a good idea? In the United Kingdom, smoking was banned in public places in 2007. It has recently been banned in cars with children. It is, however, still permitted to smoke in the street and other outdoor places. Despite the bans, not everyone is against smoking, and the tobacco industry is doing well. Why has the government not banned smoking, if it kills people and costs the country so much money? By not banning it, does the government, therefore, value the taxes received from cigarette companies more than the health of its citizens? How far does the government support the banning of smoking in order to save more lives and save money? Andrew Smith, MP, said that “We need to strike a balance between people’s right to do as they wish, even if their way of life is not good for them, and ensuring that people do not do things that harm others” What can young people do to promote a ‘smoke free’ Britain? According to the BBC, 450 children start smoking every day; however politicians think young people can contribute to an anti-smoking culture. Andrew Smith recommends that young people could do this by “not taking up smoking themselves and discouraging others to do so” and that “this is the critical age for their peers to intervene and encourage them not to do it”.
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