Smoking & Vaping: Health and Wealth Up in Smoke


I love the outdoors, the fresh air. So I am all for banning the total and complete manufacture, sale and use of tobacco products and other air pollutants such as eCigarettes; at the very least, the use of them in public and anywhere non-smokers can be affected. Understand that I dislike the SMOKE, not the smoker.

I go outside and the smoking stink from my neighbors completely ruins my outside experience and comes into my open windows and screen doors. As I sit at a traffic light, the smoking stink from the driver of the car in front of me causes me to close my car windows. I feel this is a personal attack on my right to clean air and their (smokers) contribution to air pollution. I am not only subjected to the odor and toxins of the "burning" product but the stench and toxins coming from another person's body; like a fart, only worse. In fact, the air pollution emitted by cigarettes is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust.

Emergency Preparations: Let's, for a moment, consider the effects of smoking on the smoker when it comes to preparing for an emergency. Smoking prematurely depletes the health of the smoker and those routinely affected by their 2nd-hand smoke. Attempting escape from an emergency situation could be hampered or fatal simply because of the inability to breath normally. Additionally, financial resources, best spent on healthier activities, emergency preparations and regular living expenses, go up in smoke.

Smoking is not a recreational drug; most smokers do not like the fact they smoke and wish they could quit. Their breath stinks, their clothes stink, their hair stinks, their teeth and fingers become discolored, their skin is damaged from within and out. Additionally, their homes reek of the stink and nicotine residue. When I used to live in apartments, the yellow goo from former smoking tenants would drip down the walls in the bathroom after taking a hot shower. Many try often to quit and fail. So why do they continue with this dangerous, stinky, expensive habit? There are emotional, phychological and social reasons but nicotine, a highly addictive substance found naturally in tobacco, can cause a feeling of temporary relaxation and/or stress relief. Furthermore, manufacturers of tobacco products add chemicals to make it even more addictive and toxic.

Vaping & eCigarettes: Some smokers kid themselves into thinking that "vaping" is better and don't consider it smoking. Filling lungs with anything other than fresh air is harmful and it's still the pollution of fresh air for non-smokers. The evidence grows daily that vaping is even more hazardous than smoking/chewing tobacco.

Cost: Like drug addicts, smokers are willingly paying to be poisoned and then paying for other products (like mints, chewing gum, personal products, air fresheners, etc.) to cover up their stink and medical expenses to treat ailments caused by their habit. Now, stop and think about how much money a smoker will spend on cigarettes in a year, 5 years, 15 years, or during their entire lifetime. According to LUNG.ORG the average price of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is approximately $5.5. Now this may not seem like that much, until you consider how many of those purchased in a year. Each year, a person who smokes one pack per day will spend $2,011 on cigarettes alone. If 2 or 3 packs a day, in a year the loss is $4,022 and $6,033 on cigarettes, respectively. Studies indicate that the lifetime cost of cigarettes for the average smoker varies between over One Million and over Two Million depending on where they live. In addition to the direct costs of tobacco, researchers have discovered a significant wage gap between smokers and non-smokers caused by productivity loss, health-related absences and workplace bias. Adding up all the losses (wallet, health, productivity) that smoking cigarettes can cause; a figure as high as over $7,000 every year for an average one pack a day smoker, $35,000 in 5 years, and $105,000 over a 15-year period.

Additionally, smoking gobbles up almost six percent of global health spend and nearly two percent of world's GDP. In 2012 the total cost amounted to US$ 1436 billion, with nearly 40 per cent of this sum borne by developing countries, the calculations show. Each year, the United States spends nearly $170 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.

Fire Hazards: Tobacco products, that have not been properly extinguished, have been the cause of untold dwelling and forest fires, including deaths. Smokers frequently toss cigarettes into mulch destroying nearby homes and businesses. According to NFPA, smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. These fires caused 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage. Smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, 10% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage from home fires. According to FEMA, smoking was the cause of 2.1% of all residential fires in 2015. 13.8% of those resulted in deaths. Then there is the cost/loss of property damage, personal belongings, the displacement of occupants and possible loss of income.

By the way, there Is No Constitutional Right to Smoke. Opponents argue that such smoke-free legislation/laws interfere with individuals' legal rights. But legal precedents shows the U.S. Constitution leaves the door wide open for state and local laws limiting smoking including the use of eCigarettes/vaping. Why should the use of tobacco be considered a "right" when it is, according to the CDC, the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States?

Medical Hazards: Each year nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Smoking also increases the chances (from 50-90 %) of developing lung cancer relating to exposure to asbestos. Think about it; what is "the" question when applying for any medical insurance or treatment? Do you smoke? Why do you think that needs to be asked?

Encouragement To Non-Smokers: There is nothing good, and a whole lot of bad, about smoking. While there are a ton of reasons why the sale and use of tobacco products should be banned, it's obvious that many smokers are so enslaved by this habit that they can't stop and the manufacturers aren't going to voluntarily stop producing. Thankfully, many businesses and communities see how detrimental smoking (tobacco and vaping) is and have banned it but it is up to those who care about personal clean air to find ways to ban smoking altogether.

It is said, you may not win the war right away but you can start by winning battles. You are encouraged to pick small battles to propose a ban on smoking in your local community and join others to fight bigger battles by various actions and petitions.

Encouragement To Smokers (Ways To Quit): To the smokers reading this, I encourage you to quit to save your life, your money and improve your health and the health of others you know and don't know. There are multitudes of Smoking Cessation Programs and products. Also, it may be possible, that smoking damage to the body, can be reversed when smoking is stopped in time.

See Also:
14 Natural Ways To Stop Smoking
Working Toward a Smoke Free Community
5 Bad Habits That Will Kill You
Bad Habits that Will Not Help You During an Emergency