3. The Dangers Are Realized
The use of tobacco products has been controversial for many years. During the 1500s, European physicians declared that tobacco should be used only for medicinal purposes. The Puritans in America considered it a dangerous narcotic. During the 1960s, scientists established that smoking tobacco products—especially cigarettes—could result in lung cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses.
Some cigarette manufacturers reacted to the medical findings by reducing the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes. However, doctors state that these measures have not eliminated the dangers of smoking.
Various federal laws have been passed in the United States regarding the sale of tobacco products. Since 1966, manufacturers have been required to include a health warning on all packages and cartons of cigarettes. Another law, which went into effect in 1971, banned radio and television commercials advertising cigarettes. In 1972, manufacturers agreed to include a health warning in all cigarette advertising. Some states have laws that prohibit smoking in various public places. Yet the sale of cigarettes continues to increase.
In 1978, about 38 percent of the adult men and 30 percent of the adult women in the United States smoked cigarettes. Cigarette smoking had been increasing rapidly in the United States until 1964, when 52 percent of the men and 32 percent of the women 21 years old and older smoked. That year, the United States surgeon general first officially warned of the health hazards of smoking. In 1979, the surgeon general issued another report strongly linking cigarette smoking to heart disease, lung cancer, and other ailments. In spite of knowledge about the dangers, many young people became smokers. In the late 1970s, about 19 percent of the boys and 26 percent of the girls in the 17- to 18-year-old group smoked regularly.
Three quarters of adults who smoke took up the habit before age 21. One hundred thousand children under the age of 13 are smokers. A government survey for 1979 showed there are 1.7 million teenage girls and 1.6 million boys who are regular smokers. Many more women are smoking today than they did 20 years ago. Correspondingly, the lung cancer rate for women has increased 500 percent during the past 20 years. Women who smoke more than a pack and a half a day run a significantly higher risk of a heart attack than women who do not smoke. And women who smoke and use oral contraceptives containing estrogen have ten times the chance of having a heart attack and of damaging blood vessels, compared with women who do not smoke and do not use oral contraceptives.
- 1. History
- 2. The Tobacco Plant
- 3. The Dangers Are Realized
- 4. Tobacco Toxins
- 5. Cigarette Smoking And Chronic Disease
- 6. Added Industrial Pollutants
- 7. Tobacco Subsidies
- 8. Effects On Fetus And Children
- 9. Involuntary Smoking
- 10. Live Healthfully
- 11. Eliminating The Smoking Habit
- 12. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: A Small Fire at One End and a Big Fool at the Other By Dr. Keki R. Sidhwa, N.D., D.O.