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History of Smoking in the USA

tobacco began to become a worldwide commodity and became easy to mass-produce and ship to various countries. It also became a very affordable commodity so that during World War I, soldiers were given cigarettes for free in order to pass the time between battles. President Roosevelt declared tobacco crops a protected crop during World War II and after the war, the trend of smoking became a trend as the soldiers returned home and shared the smoking experience with their families and friends.

Due to the newness of cigarettes at the time, there was no clear medical research into its effects on the health of the human population. It was only during the 50’s when certain studies were done and the adverse effects on health were finally linked. Suddenly, there was an influx of reports of relations between smoking and lung cancer. On January 11, 1964, the U. S. Surgeon General, Luther l. Terry M. D. , presented evidence in a report regarding the link between smoking and cancer.

The basis of the report was over 7,000 smoking and disease related articles in biomedical literature that supported cigarette smoking as the primary cause of chronic bronchitis, lung, and laryngeal cancer in men. While possibly causing lung cancer in women. The study concluded, ” Cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action. ” Unfortunately, the report failed to state what kind of remedial action would appropriately address the situation. It has been 40 years since the first issuance of the report.

Since then, there has been an across the board clamor for the so called “appropriate remedial action. ” In 1965, U. S. Congress passed 2 landmark actions that led to the warning labels we now see on the cigarette boxes and labels. These acts are the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965 and the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969. It was the passage of these laws that required the cigarette manufacturers to place health warnings on the packages, disallowed cigarette advertisements in any mass media form, and required an annual report on the current effects of smoking on health.

By 1988, the U. S. Surgeon General positively identified nicotine contained in cigarettes as an addictive drug. Cigarette companies, in 1994 tried to fight this claim by the Surgeon General by declaring that nicotine was not an addictive drug. They also insisted that they did not control the amount of nicotine in cigarettes that caused a person to become addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes. Three years later, in 1997, they reneged on their claims and admitted that smoking “could” cause cancer. There has been a significant drop in cigarette use in the USA over the past years.

This is perhaps related to more effective anti-smoking campaigns and the fact that there is a worldwide trend towards banning the act of smoking in public places in order to protect the majority of non-smokers. Recent studies have proven that second hand smoke also causes cancer and certain illnesses in non-smokers constantly exposed to smokers. In conclusions, I would like to remind everyone that cigarettes are a legalized addictive substance. The act of smoking is a vice caused by an addiction to nicotine.

Unlike illegal narcotics though, it affects not only the user, but non-users as well and this has to stop. The laws and sanctions in place to minimize smoking in public places are good but not good enough. We need more stringent policies regarding this and we need to step up the educational campaign that proves the ill effects of cigarettes on health of any age. We must move to stop the glamorization campaign of the tobacco companies and portray smoking as it is really is a killer activity and nicotine is a dangerous substance even while regulated.

Works Cited

helpwithsmoking. com. 2005-5006. The History of Smoking: How We got to Where We Are Today. Retrieved January 30, 2007 from http://www. helpwithsmoking. com/history-of-smoking. php Tobacco Information and Prevention Source. History of the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health January 2004. Retrieved January 30, 2007 from http://www. cdc. gov/tobacco/30yrsgen. htm Rajesh Jain. February 22, 2006. Thinning The Smoke. Retrieved January 30, 2007 from http://www. cavalierdaily. com/CVarticle. asp? ID=26033&pid=1404

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