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Indybay Feature

Tobacco: A Thriving Known Killer

by Brock Senta
The leading cause in preventable death is thriving today. This is how and why the tobacco industry continues to be successful.
Our government is aware of the most preventable cause of death in our country, has done nothing to stop it, and is even choosing to help continue its success.

Tobacco is the most toxic of all known drugs. Over 480,000 deaths are connected to smoking and second hand smoke per year. This makes sense when noting that thousands of chemicals are sent into the air when a cigarette is burned including key ingredients in rocket fuel, rat poison, rubber cement, nail polish remover, and hair dye. Even though it is known that tobacco users tend to have a life expectancy 10-12 times shorter than a non-smoker, people continue to purchase and try tobacco products.

How do these killing products continue to sell? They aim to appeal to kids. New e-cigarette products come in bright colors and fruity flavors resembling candy. Cartoon characters are used to make it look fun and innocent. Even professional athletes, said to be some of the healthiest people in the world, present chewing tobacco look like a “cool” and normal activity. They purposely have targeted individuals whose brains aren’t developed and can be easily influenced by outside factors. To make an extra dollar, this billion-dollar industry depends on taking advantage of those least likely to be able to make safe and smart decisions. One they are hooked, it is easy to keep selling.

In today’s society, our government has refused to tolerate controversial issues that are much less harmful than the tobacco industry. We lock up dealers for the rest of their lives for having small portions of marijuana, which has been proven to be less toxic and have more health benefits than tobacco. We rally people trying to make a better life for themselves in a new country, and lock them up or kick them out. We even refuse to teach adolescents about their own reproductive system in certain states. It is absolutely absurd that our government cannot decide to stop the leading cause of preventable death in our nation. We are so caught up in lobbyists, and political parties, and money that we are letting the most successful killer in America continue to stay in power. Politicians make decisions for the future of our country based on tobacco money, while they continue to get away with harming millions to gain profit. This needs to stop, and the solution is so simple. By refusing their money and making appropriate decisions based on the wellbeing of our people, we can take the power away from the tobacco industry and save lives.
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