Durant High School Junior
Tobacco industries cause 16 deaths in Oklahoma and 1,200 deaths a day in U.S. Do these statistics bother you? It does bother the hundreds of SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) members across the state of Oklahoma and in Bryan County.
The tobacco industry's use of deceptive imagery on packages and in the media have been misleading youths into purchasing their products for more than a decade. The different means that tobacco industries use to sell their products is by placing signs at specific heights, placing alluring messages on the containers or signs, and by giving the tobacco different flavors such as cherry, mint, and other enticing flavors that are targeting the youths of America. Tobacco products come in many forms in order to increase their profit and at the same time draw in new customers with the different products.
One of Big Tobacco's products is called a Hookah. What is it exactly? It is a water pipe that contains sheesha which is a flavored tobacco that once heated will release a large amount of nicotine and in the end the smoker inhales the nicotine and winds up with the same complications as regular cigarette smokers.
The tobacco industry also has involvement with disastrous effects on the environment. The process in which they manufacture cigarettes takes down a couple hundred million trees which drastically cuts down on our oxygen supply. The different chemicals that are in cigarettes is harmful not just to you and others around you, but, also the environment. Chemicals typically found in cigarettes include, but are not limited to include: ammonia, a household cleaner; arsenic, used in rat poison; and carbon monoxide, released in car exhaust fumes. These chemicals in and of itself are deadly to humans and the environment. Tobacco cultivation uses a great deal of pesticides.
Many are traditionally used throughout the tobacco growth stage. The tobacco plant also absorbs large amounts of soil nutrients so it requires regular amounts of fertilizers. The different fertilizers, pesticides, and other products they put in the soil can harm farm workers, pollute waterways, poison livestock, and negatively affects different cash crops as well as various food crops. Instead of placing tobacco crops in fields, why not be planting food crops to feed the hungry and reduce the amount of deaths by tobacco overall?
The tobacco industry also grow their products in third world countries in order to expand their influence. The tobacco plant in third world countries are grown as cash crops and the result i that hundreds to thousands of acres are set aside for tobacco growing instead of food which increases the amount of people who are starving in these countries. Big tobacco also uses advertising in third world countries by employing young women to sell their products in their home countries. Tobacco companies also hire young women across the globe to freely give out their products to youths in order to have future customers hooked on their product.
The tobacco industry say policies are in place to keep this practice from occurring, but also admit many of lower socioeconomic countries have a more difficult time monitoring the policies which are more easily enforced in larger, more economically stable countries - such as the United States.
In case you haven't heard, tobacco has the unfortunate recognition as being one of the leading causes of cancer. Tobacco negatively affects the body in many ways. The prolonged use of tobacco causes the mouth, throat, and larynx to have an increased risk of cancer and inflammatory laryngitis. Tobacco's effects on the respiratory system involves bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. Tobacco effects on the brain can cause an increased risk of brain hemorrhages. Women using oral contraceptives can have an even higher risk of a stroke.
In the circulatory system, tobacco's detrimental effects can cause heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease (poor circulation in the legs causing ulcers, pain and sometimes the need for amputation). One of the important systems of your body - the immune system - is heavily affected by excessive tobacco use as well. It causes depressed immune response and increased infections which could lead to serious infectious diseases which may likely put you in the hospital.
The national, state, and local SWAT teams are addressing all of the issues discussed above. SWAT teams organize campaigns which focus on specific issues. The most important aspect of SWAT is to spread public awareness about the complicated world of tobacco. If you are interested in learning more information about the effects of tobacco or SWAT go to OKSWAT.com.