Should Smoking Be Prohibited?
Passive Path to Death for Non-smokers
Alice Trillin was 38 and thought she was in excellent
health. Then "this completely crazy thing" happened.
"I coughed and a tiny, tiny blood clot took me to
get a chest X-ray. Ten days later I had my lung removed."
Trillin had lung cancer, the kind smokers get. But she
had never smoked a cigarette.
The cause of her cancer remained a mystery until a
doctor friend asked if her parents.had smoked. They had.
"Nobody had ever said anything about passive
smoking. I hadn't worried about the question much," she says.
Most scientists hadn't worried about it much either,
until studies in recent years showed that passive smoking was causing 3,
000 to 5, 000 lung cancer deaths a year among Ainerican non-smokers. Now a
study estimates that the toll from passive smoking, including deaths from
heart disease and other cancers, may be 10 times that.
Tobacco smoke in the home and workplace could be
killing 46, 000 non-smokers each year in the United States, the study
concludes. That's 3, 000 lung cancer deaths, 11, 000 from other cancers
and 32, 000 heart disease deaths.
That would make passive smoking the leading preventable
cause of death in the United States after alcohol and smoking itself, said
Dr. Ronald M. Davis, director of the US Office on Smoking and Health.
Smoking kills 390,000; alcohol, 120, 000.
"No longer are we talking about runny nose or
watery eyes or headache or nausea, but a fatal disease," Davis said.
Passive smoking has become the principal battleground
for the tobacco industry and its opponents in the 1980s. It is no longer
merely a health issue, but political and environmental. Cigarette
pollution is fouling the air.
"We know that the indoor environment is far more
polluted than the outdoor environment, " said James Repace of the
Environmental Protection Agency indoor air programme. "We've seen
that again and again wherever we've looked all over the United
Many people believe smokers have the right to smoke.
But they also believe that others shouldn' t have to pay a price.
"When you talk about an involuntary risk, the
society becomes much more cautious, " said University of
California-San Francisco biomedical engineer Stanton Glantz, an
environmentalist and anti-smoking activist.
The new estimate of non-smoker deaths is controversial.
Researchers agree it is preliminary and needs to be confirmed.
A tobacco industry consultant said the emphasis on
passive smoking was misplaced. Many public health officials disagree.
The risk of tobacco smoke " is greater than the
risk of radon gas is to non-smokers", Repace said. "We're
talking maybe 40 per cent greater. And if you're talking ahout all the
carcinogenic air pollutants that EPA regulates, it,s l00 times
II . Read
Read the foltowing passages. Underline the important
viewpoints while reading.
l. Benefits of Smoking
Sir, The. essential fact about smoking, which most
commentators of recent years seem to have ignored is that cigarettes give
a vast number of people a good deal of pleasure a lot of the time. That is
way the world smoked almost 5, 000, 000, 000, 000 of them last year;
approximately 1, 200 for every man., woman. and child on earth.
It is not high pressure advertising that makes the
Chinese smoke heavily-any more than it was wicked merchants who.persuaded
ihe seventeenth century Persians to smoke, despise the Shah's ingenious
punishment of pouring molten lead down their throats when they were
There is considerable evidence, surprisingly little
publicized. by cigarette manufacturers, that smoking produces certai'n
beneficial effects in human beings. Frankenhauser showed that smoking
counteracts the decrease in efficiency that typically occurs in boring,
monotonou's situations, and that smokers impro-ved their performance in
complex choace situations while smoking. There is a growing body of
evidence that nicotine can produce a tranquilizing effect during high
emotional and shock situations, whil'e on the other hand stimulating
con:cen.tration in tedious situations.
None of which proves that smoking may not cause cancer
or other illnesses. But, as the late Compton Maekenzie wrote, "If
cigarettes vanished from. ihe earth today, I believe the world would go to
war again within a comparatively short time."
An extravaga.nt exaggeration, perhaps. But certainly
tempers would be shorter, nastier and more brufiah.
2.Is Smoking a Bad Habit?
1, a casual smokery always wonder if smoking is really
a bad habit. If it is, why does our country produce such a large riumber
of cigarettes every year? (As you know, Chi.na is the largsst cigarette
producing country in the world. ) If it is,. why do so many girls adrnire
handsome boys with a cigarette on their lip?
My friends tell me, "Smoking is a waste of money,
a cause of disease..." Admittedly, these reasons frighten some people
into giving up smoking, but can you ensure that non-smokers will live long
without dying in an epidemic or getting killed by a drunken driver? Can
you say it is not a waste of money for most non-smokers habitually to
spend a lot of money on snacks?
In my opinion, smoking is only an amusement, like
playing cards, reading, etc. Many years ago, when an adult handed me a
cigarette and lit it for me, I felt grown up. When I am with friends and
have nothing to say, we smoke, consequently we no longer feel embarrassed.
Sometimes, I light a cigarette, watching my loneliness,
suffering and nervousness vanishing with the smoke, I can't help saying
inwardly: Hello, cigarette, my old friend, I' m coming to meet you again.
3. Smokers of the World, Unite
It can scarcely have escaped the notice of thinking
men, I think, being a thinking man myself, that the forces of darkness
opposed to those of us who like a quiet smoke are gathering momentum daily
and starting to throw their weight about more somewhat. Every morning I
read in the papers a long article by another of those doctors who are the
spearhead of the movement. Tobacco, they say, plugs up the arteries and
lowers the temperature of the body extremities, and if you reply that you
like your arteries plugged up and are all for having the temperature of
your body extremities lowered, especially during the summer months, they
bring up that cat again.
The cat to which I allude is the one that has two drops
of nicotine placed on its tongue and instantly passes beyond the veil.
"Iook," they say. "I place two drops of nicotine on the
cat's tongue. Now watch it wilt." I can't see the argument. Cats, as
Charles Stuart Calverley said, may have their goose cooked by tobacco
juice, but are we to deprive ourselves of all our modest pleasures just
because indulgence in them would be harmful to some cat which is probably
a perfect stranger?
Take a simple instance such as occors every Saturday on
the Rugby football field. The ball is heeled out, the scrum half gathers
it, and instantaneously two fourteen- stone forwards fling themselves on
this person, grinding him into the mud. Must we abolish Twickenham and
Murrayfield because some sorry reasoner insists that if the scrum half had
been a cat he would have been squashed flatter than a Dover sole? And no
use, of course, to try to drive into these morons' heads that scrum halves
are not cats. Really, one feels inclined at times to give it all up and
turn one's face to the wall.
It is pitiful to think that that is how these men spend
iheir lives, putting drops of nicotine on the tongues of cats day after
day. Slavas to a habit, is the way I look at it. But if you tell them that
and urge them to pull themselves together and throw off the shackles, they
just look at you with fishy eyes and mumble something about it can't be
done. Of course it can be done. All it requires is will power. If they
were to say to themselves, "I will not start putting nicotine on
cats' tongue till after lunch" it would be a simple step to knocking
off during the afternoon, and by degrees they would find that they could
abstain altogether. The first cat of the cats is the hard one to give up.
Conquer the impulse for the after-breakfast cat, and the battle is half
4. Common Sense about Smoking
It is often said, "I know all about the risk to my
health, but I think that the risk is worth it." When this statement
is true it should be accepted. Everyone has the right to choose what risks
they take, however great they may be. However, often the statement really
means, "I have a nasty feeling that smoking is bad for my health, but
I would rather not think about it." With some of these people the
bluff can be called and they can be asked to explain what they think the
risk to their own health is. When this is done few get very far in
The bare fact
that. 23, 000 people died of lung cancer last year in Great Britain often
fails to impress an individual. When it is explained that this is the
eq.uivalent of one every twenty- five minutes or is four times as many as
those killed on the roads, the significance is more apparent. The one-ineight
risk of dying of lung cancer for, the man who smokes twenty-five or more
cigarettes a day may be better appreciated if an analogy is, used If, when
you boarded a plane, the girl at the top of the steps were to welcome you
aboard with the greeting, "I am pleased that you are coming with
us-only one in eight of our planes crashes."
wouid think again, and make other arrangements? Alternatively, the analogy
of Russian Roulette may appeal. The man smoking twenty-five or more a day
runs the same risk between the ages of thirty and sixty as another who
buys a revolver with 250 chambers and inserts one live bullet and on each,
of his birthdays spins the chamber, points the revolver at his head,
and pulls the trigger. One of the difficulties in impressing these facts
on pgople is that, despite the current epidemic of lung cancer, because it
is a disease which kills relatively quickly, there are many who have as
yet no gxperience of it among their family or friends.
5. On Smoking -Its History and Harm
Tobacco smoking is believed to have started in Central
and South America. Nearly 500 years ago explorers who went there with
Columbus brought back to Europe the habit of pipe smoking, which they had
Learned from the New World Indians. It was introduced into China from
Luson during the Ming dynasty.
Until the 1900's tobacco was used mainly for cigars,
,chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco and snuff. Cigarettes may first have been
made by the Aztecs of Mexico. They smoked shredded tobacco rolled in corn
husk covering. Cigarette smoking gained some popularity in Europe during
the 1800's. It increased sharply after World War I and again after World
For centuries the smoking of tobacco in cigarettes,
cigars and pipes has produced controversy over possible health hazards.
Scientific investiBations of smoking and health gained impetus after the
beginning of the 20th century, when an increase in lung cancer was noted.
But only since the 1950's has sufficient scientific evidence accumulated
to make possible a thorough evaluation of the health risk. Although some
gaps in knowledge still exist, the information now available is sufficient
to permit making sound judgements.
Since cigarettes have steadily become more popular than
cigars and pipes, investigators have directed their principal
consideration to cigarette smoking.
As we now know, tobacco contains an organic
compound-nicotine. It is the rincipal alkaloid of tobacco, occurring
throughout the plant. Nicotine, one of the many substances
pharmacologically active in tobacco smoke, exerts an effect on the heart
and nervous system in particular. The effect on the nervous system is
predominantly tranquilizing and relaxing. There is little doubt that the
physiological effects strengthen the habit. So for centuries, some people
obstinately believed tobacco smoking possessed medicinal properties.
tension and was pleasurable. But in reality, it has turned out to be
tragedy. When you smoke, you're breathing in close to a gram of dirty
brown tar a day. Even the smoking of only a few cigarettes a day causes
many dangerous ailments. An American scientist estimated that smokers who
average a package a day for 20 years will lose about eight years of their
Along with the increase in cigarette smoking, many
have been undertaken. Overwhelming evidence proves the danger and harm of
Experimental, clinical-pathological, and
epidemiological evidence indicates that cigarette smoking is the main
cause of lung cancer.The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the
number of cigarettes smoked per day and the duration of the smoking habit,
and it diminishes with the cessation of smoking.
Cigarette smoking was also found to be connected with
other types of cancer. It is considered a major factor in causing cancer
of the larynx and is associated with cancer of the esophagus. Smoking is a
significant factor in the development of oral cancer, and pipe smoking
alone or with other tobacco use, is causally related to lip cancer.
Cigarette smoking is the greatest cause of chronic
bronchitis. A person suffering from chronic bronchitis may have the
disease and the cough connected with it, for many years, perhaps for the
rest of his life.
Cigarette smoking has also been found to be connected
with pulmonary emphysema, a disabling disease of the lungs. The smoking of
cigarettes increases the risk of dying from chronic bronchitis and from
Smoking is associated with coronary
heart disease. Nowadays this disease accounts for a high percentage of
deaths annually. Cigarette smokers are much more likely to die from a
heart attack than nonsmokers.
Smoking injures blood vessels, speeds up hardening of
the arteries and increases the work of the heart. It is one of the factors
contributing to high blood pressure.
What little we've mentioned above is sufficient to show
that smoking is extremely harmful to health. Most peple throughout
the.world have come to realize the danger. Nowadays some governments are
taking practical measures against smoking. We sincerely advise those who
have formed the smoking habit to stop and those who haven,t yet started
not to. It is both for your own sake and for the sake of the next
survey report says that children exposed to parental cigarette smoke may
be put at a higher risk of developing lung disease later in fheir lives.
Passive exposure to smoke may. also interfere with normal lung growth in
young children. There is a strong association between parental smoking and
children' s pulmonary function. Children who recorded the weakest lung
function were found to be smokers themselves and to have parents or
brothers and sisters who smoked.
So let us join together to launch a mass movement to
break this harmful smoking habit, and build ourselves up, healthy and
strong, to work hard for the four modernizations.
6. Call to Stop Offering Cigarettes!
To the Chinese, who claim to have invented rules of
etiquette, offering igarettes is a way of being hospitable to guests.
When somebody calls, first of all, the host would offer
him a cigarette and a cup of tea. In the countryside, hospitable, old men
often allow visiting guests to share the long-stemmed Chinese pipe which
they themselves are smoking. At wedding ceremonies, brides would offer
cigarettes to all guests who came to eXpress their congratulations and
light the cigarettes for.each of them one after another.
All these were originally aimed.. at displaying the
Chinese hospitality and respect towards the guests. But in recent years,
the oId tradition has been used as a means to nurse good relations.
Even those who never smoke have brand-name cigarettes
in their pockets. Whenever they have to seek somebody's favour, they first
offer him a cigarette, If the other party turns it down, he is being
impolite. If he accepts it he has to do something, for courtesy demands a
favour in return.
Tobacco contains harmful substances. So offering
cigarettes to somebody is equal to doing harm to him, gut neither people
who offer cigarettes nor those who take them fully realize it.
It is even more unhealthy for the host to pass the
long-stemmed Chinese pipe or water pipe to the visitor after smoking it
Once I paid a visit to a relative who had just returned
from abroad. He was smoking but did not produce one for me. Instead, he
placed the cigarette packet on the table and told me: "Cigarettes
produce carbon monoxide and nicotine. But if you don't mind this, take it
His way of offering cigarettes was unique but worth
Many people throughout the world are attempting to quit
smoking. But to give up the practice, firstly I think, we had better
cl7ange the tradetional method of entertaining guests.
Not to offer cigarettes does not mean one is
inhospitable. The cigarette packet is on the table. If you cannot check
your craving for one at the risk of your health, you may. But you will
have to bear the consequences
You had better also bear in mind that while you are
smoking and harming yourself, you are also polluting the air and hurting
7. Smoking Is a Bad Habit
Smoking is a bad habit. Firstly, it ruins people's
health. Health experts have warned us for years that smoking can lead to
heart disease, lung cancer and various respiratory ailments. The World
Health Organization says diseases linked to smoking kill at least 2, 500,
000 people each year. Research conducted in many countries also indicates
that pregnant women who smoke run the risk of having deformed babies.
Besides, it has been proven beyond doubt that when a person smokes, he
subjects the people around him not only to great discomfort but also to
Secondly, smoking is extravagant. Smokers, either
wage-earners or those who live off their parents, spend a large sum of
money on cigarettes, which cost them at least 10% of their expenses each
month. What's more, sensible women try to avoid marrying heavy smokers,
even though some of them appreciate the image of a handsome young man with
a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. A friend of mine, a
heavy smoker, has been seeking an ideal wife who will tolerate his
extravagant "hobby? but up to now he hasn't found one.
Thirdly, smoking has a bad impact on the psyche of the
smokers. After realizing the bad effects of smoking, many people try to
give up smoking. but no matter how hard they try ,some of them just can't
resist the temptation to smoke again. Gradually, they lose confidence in
themselves and get used to making excuses.