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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Science
  • Essay length: 1719 words

What are the ethical and moral issues surrounding cigarette smoking?

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

What are the ethical and moral issues surrounding cigarette smoking? Smokers enjoy the effects of nicotine in cigarettes, which is a tranquilliser relaxing the muscles and calming anxious people under stress. Nicotine suppresses appetite helping weight loss by causing food to be incompletely digestedC but enhances concentration, being a stimulant16 Nicotine takes 7 seconds to be absorbed into the blood stream and reach the brain and is proven to be addictive.11 Nicotine products, such as patches and gum43 are expensive and not incentives to stop smoking and "should be free"32. Nicotine stimulates the heart causing it to pump harder and faster increasing blood pressure and putting unnecessary strain on the heart, leading to heart attacks.15 Smoking causes lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart diseaseG. One cigarette contains enough nicotine to kill a man if injected directly into the blood stream14. Smokers are reluctant to give up smoking as this "causes more unhappiness"22, suffering and stress27 even though stopping causes a "better sense of taste and smell" and the "risk of heart attack halved"A. By stopping, smokers believe it will cause irritability, insomnia weight increase. Smokers report their cough worsening when they cease smoking because mucus produced by the airways is not so easily removed without the irritant effect of smoke.34 Tar is a mixture of chemicals (containing formaldehyde, arsenic and cyanide).

Middle

which plays a major part in allergic responses.24 From one case in 1975 where a patient working in a smoking area, "became so tight with wheezing and asthma that she could not get her breath" for which there was no medical evidence, linked 34 million other cases.26 A study of children in Aberdeen showed that asthmatic cases had doubled between 1972 - 1988 but during the same time period the number of smokers dropped from 52% to 33%24 Smoking mothers Pregnant women who smoke increase their risk of miscarriage I and 3,800 low birth weight babies are born each year6, due to smoking mothers. There is a 50% increased chance of a baby developing respiratory disease11, reduced lung function4 and chest infections I in later life, due to nicotine passing through the umbilical chord. Nicotine causes premature birth11 and enters the mother's milk. Babies born to smoking families absorb nicotine causing the babies' heart to beat faster and be prone to allergies.10 Children suffer from, middle ear disease, asthma attacks, sore throats and coughing D. Smoking kills 200 babies from cot deaths and 44 from bronchitis5. However, cot deaths occur in non-smoking families.20 Children whose parents smoke are more likely to become smokers themselves D.

Conclusion

Out of every 100 cigarettes sold world wide, the Governments sell 55, and tax half of the remaining 45 cigarettes. Governments, "never encourage the complete ban of cigarette consumption due to the profit they make".18 Addiction. Smokers are aware of the damages they cause to themselves but are treated by the NHS for "self inflicted illnesses". "You cannot not treat smokers who are suffering from lung cancer just because they brought it upon themselves" otherwise you would not "treat a rugby players broken leg because they brought it upon themselves by playing a dangerous game".23 Smokers cost the NHS and are subsidised by tax revenues.23 but smokers contribute to the NHS and the Government revenue, from which the NHS is financed.23 Removing freedoms, such as choosing to smoke violates human rights and would be 'the beginning of the erosion of all liberties'19. Smokers should "not be forced to be the same as non smokers"19 as 'they do not have the right to dictate the policy on smoking'29 People are 'free to decide what to buy and have responsibility for their buying decisions'27 Terence Conran' stated "adults should have the right to do what they wish as long as it doesn't upset reasonable people or break the law"37 Word count = 1,656

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