Cause of Death in the United States: Tobacco Consumption

The different causes of death within the United States is a valuable subject for scientists to research in order to aim efforts at preventing these causes. Within the United States and other nations alike, scientists have recognized tobacco use and cigarette smoking to have major roots in the top causes of death for many nations: preventable cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Along with the ethical dilemmas that this issue brings up, tobacco use and dangers is worth further examination.

A vast array of scientific research has been conducted to discover the health effects of tobacco consumption and the death rates among users. At one point in history, lung cancer was a rare disease. Now, in both men and women, it is the number one cancer killer in the United States.[1] Of these deaths from lung cancer, 88% of male deaths and 71% of female deaths are attributed to smoking cigarettes.[2] Around 1,200 people in the US die each day from tobacco use, which amounts to about half of people that use it in the long-term. Tobacco use has become the leading preventable cause of death in the United States; it contributes to over 400,000 deaths each year, taking 18% of all deaths in the U.S. While many of these deaths come from different cancers, many also come from heart or respiratory diseases that are easily preventable for nonsmokers. On average, smoking removes 14 years from one’s life due to disease and disability.[3] This is a major cause of death in the United States and deserves to be unpacked and examined more closely.

The increase of deaths due to heart disease and cancer in the U.S., compared over the time span of 1900 to 2010.    https://demography.cpc.unc.edu/2014/06/16/mortality-and-cause-of-death-1900-v-2010/

Tobacco contains more than 5,000 chemicals and toxins as well as 60 carcinogenic chemicals. It is widely and readily available to most adults and young adults and additionally highly addictive. Marketing efforts are widely used to target people and get them to experiment with cigarettes, often pulling them in to become a long-term user.[4]

Consuming tobacco has many health risks that can lead to death or disease. Cancers that can come from smoking include cancers of the lip, mouth, stomach, esophagus, pancreas, pharynx, trachea, larynx, cervix, lung, bladder and kidney. In addition, long-term cigarette smoking dramatically increases the risk of colon, rectal and bladder cancer. Cigarette smoking can also cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases/disorders, including coronary heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, stroke, atherosclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, and other respiratory symptoms. The health damages caused by cigarette smoking does not affect just the smoker themselves; secondhand smoke exposure can lead to bronchitis, reduced lung function or lung cancer, recurrent ear infections, phlegm, more severe asthma attacks, and in some cases death from disease.[5] Secondhand smoke exposure from cigarettes is not a rare occurrence, either. A study by the CDC found that one in four nonsmokers were exposed to secondhand smoke, including 2 out of every 5 children.[6] In addition to the long-term health effects that smoking has, it also generally degrades a smoker’s quality of life as well. It increases healthcare costs and the financial burden of someone before they pass away, and it raises the risk that a person would die from more common health events, such as routine surgeries, complications, or pneumonia.[7] A study done on the Republic of Ireland found that years of life lost due to premature mortality from cigarette smoking specifically significantly higher than alcohol consumption, in addition to its greater contributions to cancer and CVD. Tobacco consumption, along with alcohol consumption, was found to be one of the primary risk factors contributing towards non-communicable disease mortality around the world.[8]

Cancer death rates in the U.S. shown over the course of 81 years. Lung cancer has a sharp spike in both males and females around the time that cigarettes became popular and readily available in the U.S.     https://ourworldindata.org/cancer

Efforts to reduce cigarette smoking have made great strides in cutting down risk for cancers and diseases from tobacco. From 1990 to 2015, there was a reduction in smoking levels in 18 countries, most of which were using control interventions to encourage people not to start or to stop. Brazil, who had the largest reduction of smoking at 55%, banned cigarette advertising in all forms, mandated health warnings with photos be on each pack of cigarettes, and increased their price by taxing them at greater numbers.[9] In addition, the Center for Disease Control stated in a recent report that effective interventions at reducing smoking and risk of disease included price increases on tobacco, anti-tobacco media campaigns on a massive scale, and smoke-free policies in most public places. These efforts are intended to change the beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of people by providing them with more information on the negative health implications of smoking. Increasing the prices of tobacco reduces the amount that is consumed by smokers as well as discourages young people from beginning to smoke. Anti-smoking efforts also decrease the rates of secondhand smoke, which also has many negative health implications.[10] Additionally, a 2008 report issued on the national status of cancer by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute stated that the incidence and death rates of lung cancer among males was decreasing and was leveling out for females, largely due to state tobacco control programs conducted in the past.[11]

Within the US, widespread public health campaigns have provided the general public with knowledge about the health risks associated with smoking. These anti-smoking campaigns have helped shape the relationship between culture and smoking by making tobacco consumption something that is broadly discouraged. In 2014, an anti-tobacco public education campaign called Truth relaunched in the US. The new campaign targeted youth and young adults between the ages of 15 and 21 in hopes of curbing the ongoing tobacco epidemic that was present. Studies have found that public education mass media campaigns, like Truth, have significant social impacts. Research suggests that the Truth campaign helped change the attitudes and behaviors associated with tobacco consumption, especially among youth and young adults.[12] Like the US, a lot of other nations around the world also partake in anti-smoking actions at the governmental level, however, there are still many cultures present where smoking is the norm, especially for males.[13]

Cultural differences present in various parts of the world results in vastly disparate smoking rates.[14] Countries in Asia have the highest smoking rates, with fewer smokers in the Americas and Western Europe. Indonesia has the highest rates with 76.2 % of Indonesian men smoking, and Ethiopia has the lowest rates with only 8.9% of Ethiopian men smoking.[15] Results from a study conducted in 2013 on social influences of smoking among Chinese Americans and mainland Chinese, found many social factors influence smoking behavior which include cultural beliefs, gender roles, and family relationship dynamics. The study also found that current smokers in China were heavily influenced by their grandparents which further highlights the significance social relationships have on tobacco consumption.[16]

Cultural influences on smoking are also present through differences in smoking rates between genders. During the early twentieth century there was widespread social disapproval of women smoking in the US. Women were therefore less likely to smoke than men. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that women in the US gained enough social acceptance to feel comfortable smoking which contributed to an increase in smoking rates among women.[17] In other nations such as Africa, Southeast Asia, the western Pacific and the eastern Mediterranean, males are still more likely to smoke than females due to a lack of female social acceptance. Within these nations, smoking is viewed as a “manly” act and is often labeled as inappropriate for women.[18]

One significant cause of the link between smoking and culture is religion. Most religions value human well-being highly and although they do not prohibit smoking, they do disapprove of it.[19] Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism are all against smoking. In fact, many studies have shown that people who are involved in religious activities tend to have lower smoking rates than people who are not involved.[20] A study conducted in 2014 found that attending religious services once per week or greater as compared to never was significantly associated with smoking cessation over time among middle-aged, urban adults in Baltimore, Maryland.[21] These findings suggest that religious activities can both prevent and help stop the use of tobacco, further demonstrating the significance of social factors in relation to tobacco consumption.

            According to the CDC, African American youth and young adults have significantly lower prevalence of cigarette smoking than Whites. African Americans tend to smoke fewer cigarettes per day, and initiate smoking at a later age when compared to Whites.[22] These differences can be partially due to the different cultural norms present between the two groups. In African-American communities, cultural norms oppose youth smoking, and youth smoking is correspondingly lower in these communities. Studies have found that African-American households are more likely than white households to set explicit rules about smoking and to discuss these rules with their children. Compared to white parents, African-American parents also felt more empowered to affect their children’s behaviors and were more likely to actively participate in anti-tobacco socialization within the home. Among the African-American parents, 98% reported 18 years or older to be an appropriate age for teens to decide whether or not they want to start using tobacco, whereas 26% of white parents thought 16 years was an appropriate age.[23] Additionally, African-American children residing in African-American communities tend to have lower smoking rates than those residing in white communities.[24]

In 1950, the British Medical journal published one of the first widely recognized case control studies linking cigarettes and lung cancer. This ushered in a wave of research on the physiologically addictive nature of nicotine and the presence of carcinogens in cigarette smoke. In response to these studies, tobacco companies began running “pro-cigarette” campaigns throughout the 1950’s that aimed to challenge these reputable studies and claim that cigarettes do not cause cancer.[25] These campaigns denounced scientific studies that found connections between cigarettes and lung cancer. In the 21st century, the unethical nature of these advertisements is recognized and tobacco companies are forced to tell the truth about their products in advertisements/products. Many forms of tobacco products are labeled with a “Surgeon General’s Warning” in the United States. Some products may reference death or contain images of tar-filled lungs on their packaging. The fact that these efforts are not entirely successful is evidence of the addictive power of nicotine.

Despite stricter market regulations that prevent corporations from lying, claims like these still exist today in various forms. The tobacco corporations are infamous for valuing profit over the health of their customers. A recent study conducted by the IARC on the effects of secondhand smoking found a significant link between second hand smoke and lung cancer. Although the study was considered to be rigorous and sound, tobacco companies claim that it’s “false and misleading.”[26] The anti-smoking movement is relatively young compared to the history of smoking itself and it makes sense that tobacco companies try to challenge the authenticity of studies from an emerging field. Even though they must label their products with warnings of lung cancer, tobacco companies are constantly and maliciously looking for ways to make smoking seem healthier. A prominent example of this was the introduction of “light” cigarettes which were sold as healthier alternatives to traditional cigarettes. Of course, light cigarettes still expose users to cancer forming carcinogens, but it is easy to spread misinformation among a populace that is not likely to investigate. Yet, tobacco companies have been keen on subtly tricking smokers into thinking that lighter cigarettes are less likely to lead to cancer. Through this it is clear how these corporations view their customers as dispensable and this reveals a lack of value of life in corporate ethic.

Tobacco companies also target the nation’s youth as future customers via advertising techniques that normalize tobacco products and cater towards children. Since the average smoke obtains cigarettes in a retail environment, much of this marketing is conducted through retail displays which are bright, ornamented and prominently displayed on store walls[27]. The ethical implications of advertising a dangerous drug shift when children under the smoking age are being conditioned and psychologically invested in tobacco as a commodity. The majority of tobacco users begin smoking/experimenting at young ages and major tobacco companies will commoditize their product to appeal to younger demographics. Since older smokers are more likely to already be addicted, the tobacco companies are less worried about appealing to older customers rather than the newly recruited smokers who will become addicts in the future.[28]

In a capitalistic economy, it is legal and common for corporations to target specific demographic groups as potential customers. Yet the ethics of racial targeting comes into question when the product being sold is addictive and potentially lethal. Since the early 1980’s there has been substantial evidence that large tobacco companies intentionally market their products to minorities. In 1990, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco planned on releasing a cigarette called “Uptown” which was specifically developed and marketed towards the African American community in Philadelphia. It was designed to be a “classy” cigarette that served as a representation of higher living and success. A R.J Reynolds employee described how “Uptowns” created a “fantasy world that Black young adult smokers can be part of.” Although the controversial release of “Uptowns” was eventually halted, it is just one example of the thousands of tobacco products that are deliberately and carefully crafted to sell to a specific minority group[29]. While the tobacco company’s’ motives for targeting minorities with tobacco may seem purely economic, the ultimate means through which these tobacco products are tailored towards minorities exposes layers of systemic racism in the entire industry.

These targeted efforts have implications on the types of people that die as well as the number of people that are affected by the tobacco industry. Reviewing both the scientific, ethical, and cultural perspectives that surround death as a result of tobacco allows it to be revealed as a danger on all fronts. Although grouped in with the “easily” preventable ways to die, I think the numbers would suggest that this topic needs more discussion.

Amber Williams

Jared Goldberg

Cameron Beals

[1] Husten, C. “Tobacco Use.” Encyclopedia of Death and the Human Experience. Edited by Clifton D. Bryant and Dennis L. Peck. doi: http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.4135/9781412972031.n315

[2] Kabir, Zubair, Gregory N. Connolly, Luke Clancy, Ahmedin Jemal, and Howard K. Koh. “Reduced Lung Cancer Deaths Attributable to Decreased Tobacco Use in Massachusetts.” Cancer Causes & Control 18, no. 8 (June 22, 2007): 833-38. Accessed April 4, 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10552-007-9027-3.

[3] Husten, C. “Tobacco Use.” http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.4135/9781412972031.n315

[4] Husten, C. “Tobacco Use.” http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.4135/9781412972031.n315

[5] Husten, C. “Tobacco Use.” http://dx.doi.org.libproxy.lib.unc.edu/10.4135/9781412972031.n315

[6] “Tobacco Control Interventions | Health Impact in 5 Years | Health System Transformation | AD for Policy | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Accessed April 04, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/policy/hst/hi5/tobaccointerventions/index.html.

[7] The Health Consequences of Smoking– 50 Years of Progress.Report. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2014. Accessed April 4, 2019. https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/index.html.

[8] Chakraborty, S., K. Balanda, Ij Perry, and Z. Kabir. “P72 Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Burden Attributable to Tobacco Use and Alcohol Consumption in the Republic of Ireland between 1990 and 2013.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health70, no. Suppl 1 (September 13, 2016): A85-86. Accessed April 4, 2019. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-208064.171.

[9] Quora. “How The Tobacco Industry Has Changed Its Marketing Strategy Across The Globe.” Forbes. July 25, 2018. Accessed April 04, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/07/25/how-the-tobacco-industry-has-changed-its-marketing-strategy-across-the-globe/.

[10] “Tobacco Control Interventions” CDC. 2017.

[11] Jemal, Ahmedin, Michael J. Thun, Lynn A. G. Ries, Holly L. Howe, Hannah K. Weir, Melissa M. Center, Elizabeth Ward, Xiao-Cheng Wu, Christie Eheman, Robert Anderson, Umed A. Ajani, Betsy Kohler, and Brenda K. Edwards. “Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2005, Featuring Trends in Lung Cancer, Tobacco Use, and Tobacco Control.” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute 100, no. 23 (December 2008): 1672-694. Accessed April 4, 2019. doi:10.1093/jnci/djn389.

[12] Vallone, Donna, Jennifer Cantrell, Morgane Bennett, Alexandria Smith, Jessica M. Rath, Haijun Xiao, Marisa Greenberg, and Elizabeth C. Hair. “Evidence of the Impact of the truth FinishIt Campaign.” Nicotine and Tobacco Research 20, no. 5 (2017): 543-551. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28575421

[13] “Culture and Smoking: Do Cultural Norms Impact Smoking Rates?” Tobacco Free Life. Accessed April 08, 2019. https://tobaccofreelife.org/resources/culture-smoking/

[14] “Culture and Smoking.” Tobacco Free Life.

[15] “Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking.” World Health Organization. Accessed April 08, 2019. http://gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/tobacco/use/tablet/atlas.html.

[16] Ma, Grace X., Steven E. Shive, Xiang S. Ma, Jamil I. Toubbeh, Yin Tan, Yajia J. Lan, Chengkai K. Zhai, and Xiaofang Pei. “Social influences on cigarette smoking among mainland Chinese and Chinese Americans: a comparative study.” American journal of health studies 28, no. 1 (2013): 12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3914219/

[17] Waldron, Ingrid. “Patterns and causes of gender differences in smoking.” Social science & medicine 32, no. 9 (1991): 989-1005. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2047903

[18] “Culture and Smoking.” Tobacco Free Life.

[19] Garrusi, Behshid, and Nouzar Nakhaee. “Religion and smoking: a review of recent literature.” The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 43, no. 3 (2012): 279-292. doi: 10.2190/PM.43.3.g

[20] “Culture and Smoking.” Tobacco Free Life.

[21] Brown, Qiana L., Sabriya L. Linton, Paul T. Harrell, Brent Edward Mancha, Pierre K. Alexandre, Kuan-Fu Chen, and William W. Eaton. “The influence of religious attendance on smoking.” Substance use & misuse 49, no. 11 (2014): 1392-1399. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2014.912224

[22] “Smoking and Tobacco Use | African Americans and Tobacco Use.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed April 08, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/disparities/african-americans/index.htm#ref.

[23] Clark, Pamela I., Annemarie Scarisbrick-Hauser, Shiva P. Gautam, and Sarah J. Wirk. “Anti-tobacco socialization in homes of African-American and white parents, and smoking and nonsmoking parents.” Journal of Adolescent Health 24, no. 5 (1999): 329-339. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10331839

[24] “Culture and Smoking.” Tobacco Free Life.

[25] Palazzo, Guido, and Ulf Richter. “CSR business as usual? The case of the tobacco industry.” Journal of Business Ethics 61, no. 4 (2005): 387-401. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-005-7444-3

[26] Ong, Elisa K., and Stanton A. Glantz. “Tobacco industry efforts subverting International Agency for Research on Cancer’s second-hand smoke study.” The Lancet 355, no. 9211 (2000): 1253-1259. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(00)02098-5

[27] Hoek, J., H. Gifford, G. Pirikahu, G. Thomson, and R. Edwards. “How do tobacco retail displays affect cessation attempts? Findings from a qualitative study.” Tobacco control 19, no. 4 (2010): 334-337. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/tc.2009.031203

[28]Reid, Robert J., N. Andrew Peterson, John B. Lowe, and Joseph Hughey. “Tobacco outlet density and smoking prevalence: Does racial concentration matter?.” Drugs: education, prevention and policy 12, no. 3 (2005): 233-238. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687630500035485

[29] Balbach, Edith D., Rebecca J. Gasior, and Elizabeth M. Barbeau. “RJ Reynolds’ targeting of African Americans: 1988–2000.” American Journal of Public Health 93, no. 5 (2003): 822-827. doi: 10.5993/AJHB.42.1.11

Citations for Images:

[1] Tippett, Rebecca. “Mortality and Cause of Death, 1900 v. 2010.” Carolina Demography. June 16, 2014. Accessed April 04, 2019. https://demography.cpc.unc.edu/2014/06/16/mortality-and-cause-of-death-1900-v-2010/.

[2]Roser, Max, and Hannah Ritchie. “Cancer.” Our World in Data. July 03, 2015. Accessed April 4, 2019. https://ourworldindata.org/cancer.

[3]Keller, Kate. “Ads for E-Cigarettes Today Hearken Back to the Banned Tricks of Big Tobacco.” Smithsonian.com. April 11, 2018. Accessed April 07, 2019. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/electronic-cigarettes-millennial-appeal-ushers-next-generation-nicotine-addicts-180968747/.

29 Comments

  1. Your post was incredibly informing about the progression and prevalence of tobacco over time. However, you did not mention how substitutes such as vapes play a role in this economic structure. Do you believe that vapes and juuls have a positive impact on the lives of people once addicted to cigarettes? Could it be that these substitutes are worse? As I have seen, Juuls have become the social norm but are highly addictive nonetheless. But how do they play into the role of tobacco?

  2. Great post! I was in Mexico for spring break and while there I noticed something interesting about their cigarette/tobacco packaging. Each package said “Smoking Kills”. I was shocked because in the US tobacco products do not have such bold warning labels. Similar to the above comment, I also wonder how vapes influence the tobacco industry. Is the rise of products such as Juuls something tobacco companies fear?

    • I agree, Big Tobacco Countries run America (through money donations to policy maker campaigns) making it difficult to pass policy that markets against cigarettes. It is funny you mention Juuls because Juuls and many other “smoking alternatives” are actually owned by Big Tobacco companies. They aren’t afraid of the competition because they are owned by the same organization. In a way, they love the introduction of Juuls because tobacco’s image is so tainted. It was a new market for a smoking alternative that has now just replaced/used hand in hand with cigarettes among the youth.

  3. I was very surprised to find out that tobacco itself contains over 5,000 chemicals and toxins yet people still continue to consume it on an everyday basis. I did find it interesting that there was indeed a reduction in smoking levels in 18 countries from 1990 to 2015, as I would have expected the numbers to have increased considering new forms of e-cigarettes are now marketed to young teenagers. With vapes, an increase in technology allowing for electronic cigarettes to be consumed by the youth alludes to my shock in the discovery of the decline of cigarette use. My biggest question after reading this in your post, is why? Considering there is now a proliferate amount of evidence linking the consumption of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco to the development of cancers, why do individuals still continue to buy and why does the government allow people to still purchase these harmful carcinogens? Isn’t life worth more than money?

  4. I was shocked to hear that one in four nonsmokers experiences secondhand smoke exposure! I am curious how many years secondhand smoke inhalation takes off someone’s life? I also wonder how much of an impact the marketing strategies of both public health campaigns or the tobacco advertising had on the numbers, more specifically. Very interesting article.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. I like the way that you analyzed how ads targeted different groups, and how different backgrounds affect the likelihood that a person will smoke and how much. You also did a good job of explaining what factors cause these differences, like social standards and religion. I would have liked to see a little more information on the future of this issue. Vapes such as Juuls are changing not only how people smoke, but the social perception of smoking itself. What does this mean for the future, and how can we look to at past strategies to predict it? Once again, fantastic post overall.

  6. This post is full of information, great job. I was especially surprised by the racial disparity in smoking prevalence. In particular, I found it interesting that African American families deemed their children responsible enough to decide whether or not to smoke earlier then White families. To me this would seem to suggest White families are on average more protective of their children, but based on the statistics it seems its the opposite. I wonder what this says about the standards of white families. Are they more protective of their children or less trusting?

  7. This post not only focused on the effects of tobacco culturally, but also it focuses on the risks and rate that reflects around the world. Recently I saw a story about the use of tobacco in Australia where the regulation on tobacco is much stricter than here in the US. By strict I mean, very little-to-no advertising and very vivid pictures on the pack that would, ideally, keep someone from smoking. However, everyone in Australia still smokes. I think this view really infers that smoking is a personal choice, or one that is influenced socially rather than based on the regulation.

  8. Great job on this post! I loved how each view was backed by fact and provided enough information for readers that had no background knowledge of the effects of tobacco use. I also loved that you discussed how tobacco use can affect not only users but also people that live around users from secondhand smoke. My favorite part of this article was the scientifc background because you were able to provide statistics about cancers and tobacco use around the world. This made the post very relatable because we live on a college campus around people that use tobacco products daily. My second favorite topic was the use of advertising to sell tobacco products. I never really thought about how tobacco commercials and ads leave out the negative effects of tobacco and seem to normalize the use of tobacco. Because there has been so much research on tobacco products and the negative effects of them, it is crazy that people still use these products and that these companies can still use these persuasive advertisements today. Are there any other harmful products produced in the US that use these advertisements to normalize their products?

  9. I really enjoyed reading this post and I learned so much about using tobacco products can hasten death. My pod did research on The Differences Between Hospice and Palliative Care and given that so many tobacco consumers are diagnosed with various cancers each year, it would be interesting to see how many of these people utilize hospice and palliative care because of their cancer. Also, based on the statistics of how many smokers are present in countries all over the world, I would be interested in learning how these percentages correlate with whether the country is developed or developing. The rise of vape tobacco products would be another interesting topic to cover, as the forms of tobacco consumption are changing, thus begging the question: will new-age tobacco products such as vapes and juuls cause the same medical issues as more traditional tobacco products?

  10. This article is very informative and contains a lot of interesting and surprising information. I was particularly surprised to read that 2 out of every 5 children are exposed to secondhand smoke. Smokers seemingly expose their children to toxic chemicals in secondhand smoke that can lead to various damaging health consequences such as bronchitis and asthma. I have heard people justify their tobacco use by claiming that they are only harming themselves, however, the effects of secondhand smoke prove this to be untrue. Since anti-smoking campaigns have been shown to reduce tobacco use, I wonder if further publicizing the effects of secondhand smoke on children would lead to a reduction in smoking among parents?

  11. It is interesting you bring up the point of social norms influencing one’s likelihood to smoke. Why did women suddenly feel comfortable smoking if it had been discouraged in years prior? It is also interesting to see the large smoking discrepancy between African Americans and Whites. This is a major indicator that culture has great influence over people’s life decisions, including decisions that could impact their well-being. Because the prevalence of anti-smoking campaigns among African-American youth is related to overall lower rates of smoking in the black community, it is questionable as to why the US has not implemented similar programs.
    Also, your comments about control interventions was interesting. If interventions were so successful in other countries, why were the results not the same in the US? Perhaps this reflects on American society’s resistant attitude towards change.
    In recent years, the use of electronic cigarettes among teens has skyrocketed. The initial purpose of these devices was to serve as an alternative for adult cigarette smokers. However, now that the devices have been introduced to younger generations, many say this is creating a whole new epidemic of addiction among teenagers. Do you believe the introduction of these devices has inadvertently created a whole new smoking crisis?

  12. I’m from Durham and the major industry was the tobacco industry and the building downtown still stands today. The outstanding fact that stood out to me was that smoking removes 14 years from an individual’s life. Making people aware of the consequences that smoking brings can decrease smoking and its effects. A major problem in today’s society is the Juul. People can start off small and then change to a different smoking method, increasing the normalization of tobacco. Targeting different groups was a smart idea and found really interesting in the comparisons.

  13. While the tobacco market changes to things like vapes and Juuls, like many others I wonder how much “better” these really are.

  14. As tobacco was widely advertised in the generation that most of our parents grew up in, I think it’s crucial that we are now aware of the health effects that smoking and secondhand smoking can have on our health. One thing I found particularly interesting in this post was that African Americans were much more likely to actively socialize anti-tobacco information to their children, as this is something I had never considered in terms of tobacco and how socialization on this topic might vary between different races. In recent studies, it might be interesting to also investigate the use of Juuls and vapes among our generation. What future health effects do y’all predict will be an issue??

  15. This was a phenomenal post! I was really intrigued and captivated with the information. I found it really interested and surprising that 2 of 5 children are exposed to second hand smoke, and feel as if the percentage is extremely high for a nation that’s been working so hard to eliminate smoking. With the little to no background information I had on tobacco use, I found it really interesting to see how much of a drastic effect second hand smoking had on other people and in particular children. It was, however, really reassuring to see that there has been a drastic decrease in tobacco use for about 18 countries since the 1990’s. Although there has been a drastic decrease in smoking, do you think this has also led to a decrease in the number of second-hand smokers that are harmed as well? Are the parents fully aware of the effects it has on their children?

  16. Cee Cee Huffman

    April 24, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    When you read cautionary statistics like those in this posting, it makes you consider why an individual might begin smoking in the first place; however, it is so ingrained in our culture that it has proven too difficult to eliminate. For many, it is effortless to look past the warning-laden packaging and continue to smoke. Also, this posting made me consider the financial burden that choosing to smoke can have over a lifetime. The cost of cigarettes and healthcare expenses combined is very high over an extended period, even if cigarettes aren’t costly at the moment. Finally, many of my friends and I tend to find the anti-tobacco commercials on TV pretty ridiculous, but I have learned some general smoking information from them, and I do remember them, so I suppose that means they are doing their job.

  17. I throughly enjoyed reading your post. I found the statistics about smoking and ethnicity and racial identities intriguing, and how tobacco companies target ethnic groups that may be in a lower socioeconomic status, but I find it interesting how people of all ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds still continue to smoke. Also the religious link between these I found interesting considering that many people who smoke are adherents of these religions. Is it that these religions are not as overt as they should be in confronting this problem, or is it so deeply ingrained in society that even the deterrent of religion proves too insignificant to make a difference? Either way, I enjoyed the post, and it makes me want to know more about the ethics of smoking.

  18. Your post was very informative, especially on a topic so significant during this time of the world. Smoking, in fact, is very deadly, but why has it increased so greatly recently? How have the new societal perspectives on vaping influenced this? Nonetheless, smoking and now vaping are very important and a fatal problem that has increased too much. There has to be more done to prevent tobacco use, in return prolonging life. A lot of statistics, information about toxins, and the effect it has on other people show exactly how drastic the use of tobacco is. However, the recent introduction of vapes really causes more problems as they lead to even more use of tobacco because people always “want more.” Overall, this post was very important and informative in terms of letting people know and understand how fatal using tobacco can be.

  19. Great job on this post! We hear a lot about the dangers of smoking but it was very informative to actually read more in-depth about what smoking does to the body. I am curious to know how you would have incorporated information about newer smoking apparatuses such as vapes, juuls, and e-cigs. I know there is a lot of misconception about whether these pose a larger threat or minimize risk.

  20. I really liked the focus of this article! Tobacco use has been and continues to be a major problem in the United States despite the direct association between it and lung cancer. As a lot of my peers have mentioned, I wonder how it would have changed your different perspectives if you looked into the issues of America’s use of alternatives to tobacco like vaping. I am also glad you guys covered this topic because the lethality of tobacco and other alternatives does not show up much in the deaths of college age students as covered by my article. It becomes more prevalent later in life at the consequences of young people’s actions now.

  21. This article was really well done! The information that you presented was pretty shocking in places. I had never really thought about the relationship between cigarettes and American death culture, or at all about the racial disparities in cigarette advertising. I am wondering to what extent other drugs might have a similar cultural significance, and in what ways they might be unevenly distributed among different demographics.

  22. This blog post was extremely well-written and informative, illustrating many important pieces of information that were shocking to me. I noticed several statistics revealing the consequences and negative impacts that arise as a result of extended tobacco use. I am curious about whether there is a typical boundary that delineates when the long-term effects of tobacco use becomes prominent. Is there a particular timeline that is able to map how frequently the average person smokes cigarettes before their risk of certain diseases, such as lung cancer, is heightened? Are there any studies about the correlation between death rates and the recently popularized vaping devices and electronic cigarettes?

  23. Your post was fantastic. With the current increase in the use of vape devices it was also extremely relevant to modern day issues which made it much more intriguing to read. The actions of big tobacco companies and how they target those in lower economic standing as well as minorities is no secret either. The fact that smoking as well as vaping remain so popular regardless of the known toxins within the both of them remains as a shock. This post left me thinking more in terms of what exactly the next logical step would precisely be to advance past one of the worst habits that is still stuck in America. Awesome Work.

  24. This was a very informative article. Prior to this, I had never paid attention to the actual statistics behind smoking and it is shocking that over a third of all children are exposed to second-hand smoke. Given, that it is so obvious that tobacco is bad, it always surprises me that countries do not classify it as a dangerous drug and ban it completely. I wonder which countries have the strictest smoking laws and how effective these laws have been. I have also noticed the prevalence of smoking in some of the Asian countries I visited, and I wonder if any campaigns similar to “Truth” in the US exist there.

  25. Harrison Davis

    April 25, 2019 at 7:10 am

    I found this post very interesting as I have been around cigarettes and cigarette smoke my whole life from my parents. I think we are one of the first generations to really curb smoking aside from the whole vape epidemic. I had a friend actually tell me he might pick up smoking to try and quit the juul??? I digress, I would like to know more about the psychological side on why nicotine is so addictive or what other chemicals cause the addiction. Also, I know there is a correlation between depression/anxiety and smoking cigarettes. I would’ve liked to read about some studies on that. Maybe doctors and psychiatrists should try and find another solution that helps best with the person that is addicted. Everybody has there vices, but there is just so many better vices out there. Coffee? Gum? Great article though I enjoyed reading it.

  26. This was one of the most interesting blog posts I have read. I always knew smoking was bad and I am fortunate enough to not have people in my family smoke–my dad quit a long time ago. However, many of my friends use juuls and I knew it was bad, but not to the point of it being linked to depression. This is scary to think about because of the number of teenagers who actually have them. It makes me wonder how hard would it be for one to stop juuling compared to a person trying to stop smoking. Also, what are the long-term negative side effects to juuling? What does juuling look like 5 years from now? What can we do to prevent it from being used heavily?

  27. Mary Ellen Frank

    April 25, 2019 at 7:56 am

    People know that lung cancer is the number one cause of death, yet they still smoke tobacco every day. In a way, cigarette smokers are slowly committing suicide, but that does not surprise me since suicide is so prevalent in our world today. Tobacco is a long-standing cultural tradition. Indians smoked it, people grew it as a cash crop in early America, and now with the advent of technology, people are vaping it. Tobacco brings people together, much like death does, so it does not surprise me that people will connect with each other over a practice that they mutually are being killed by.

  28. I am surprised how successful marketing efforts have been, despite the chemicals and toxins tobacco contains. It’s sad that 1200 people in this country die everyday from tobacco use, and that secondhand smoke exposure can lead to many health consequences. You also mentioned how smoking rates vary significantly through different cultures, races, and genders. I also wonder why cigarette smoking is more prevalent among white people compared to African-American youth and young adults. Is it the same for e-cigarette use? Does the prevalence of cigarette smoking vary depending on socioeconomic class? To me, I believe it would because cigarettes can become quite expensive, which means that people under a certain income threshold would find it difficult to purchase them regularly.

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