Smoking: A Preventable Cause of Premature Deaths

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While there is no argument about the detrimental effects of smoking to the respiratory and cardiovascular system, it remains to be a most common habit which many people find very difficult to break. The danger and hazards that smoking poses to our health are being taught in schools, discussed in the media, and even condemned in churches. Cigarette smoking leads to a lot of troubles in the end for smokers rather than the satisfaction and pleasure that they are supposed to derive from it.

According to Ernest Dichter, author of “The Psychology of Everyday Living”, smoking is as much a psychological pleasure as it is a physiological satisfaction. Smokers reason out that they get a sense of satisfaction from a cigarette which they can’t get from anything else. He believes that the nature of this psychological pleasure can be traced to the universal desire for self-expression. “None of us ever completely outgrows his childhood. We are constantly hunting for the carefree enjoyment we knew as children. As we grew older, we had to subordinate our pleasures to work and to the necessity for unceasing effort. Smoking, for many of us, then, became a substitute for our early habit of following the whims of the moment; it becomes a legitimate excuse for interrupting work and snatching a moment of pleasure.”

The author offered a great deal of analyses and views in his report as supported by studies he had conducted on several hundred respondents and commented that the psychological pleasures derived proved much more powerful than religious, moral, and legal persuasions.

In the United States of America, cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature deaths. The risk of developing several chronic disorders is higher for those who smoke cigarettes as compared to non-smokers. These include fatty buildups in arteries, several types of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung problems). Atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty substances in the arteries) is a chief contributor to the high number of deaths from smoking. Many studies detail the evidence that cigarette smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.

The statistics are staggering. And in spite of efforts to disseminate this information to the media for people to have a full grasp of the magnitude and dangers of smoking, smokers seemed to be unnerved and the habit of smoking continue to spread rapidly particularly in African countries where the highest increase in the rate of tobacco use among developing countries is noted by the UN.

No amount of warning, preachings, or repressive measures can seem to destroy the power of cigarette-smoking. What is sad is the fact that powerful individuals and institutions like the manufacturers and the advertising industry even lend support in the promotion of this deadly product.

In desperation, we ask ourselves: What will stop people from smoking cigarettes? Having considered all the psychological explanation, and the unique pleasure and satisfaction smokers derived from this much contested product, I believe that it all boils down to self-discipline and knowing what’s best for your health, for others, and for the environment. What more education do we need as human beings?

Finally, if smoking is considered to be “the leading preventable cause of diseases and deaths” in the US, then, it is at least encouraging to know that it is PREVENTABLE

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