There Is No Damage for What We Know
Smoking is a massive issue that affects millions of people in America every day, whether it be someone picking up that first cigarette and smoking it to causing the deaths of some tens to hundreds of people every second. No matter what the case may be, millions of people are still smoking, and many of those people will be diagnosed with cancers, diseases, and more due to their hazardous habits, and who do they blame? The companies who produce the cancer sticks, of course. They will sue tobacco companies for thousands, even millions of dollars in damages for the problems the smoking individuals have caused for their own health by starting to smoke in the first place. It is never their own fault for starting the habit on their own recognizance, despite being warned, right? Individuals who smoke and are diagnosed with lung cancer should not be able to receive damages from tobacco companies because smokers are more aware now than ever before of the consequences of smoking on their health, whether their sources come from online, television, or just from plain and simple health classes during school.
Over the years, education systems throughout the country have provided millions of people with real facts about smoking. Schools all over the nation now require that students of all grade levels take some sort of health class in order to progress to the next grade level that they would be attending, and most, if not all schools, have their health classes cover the dangers of smoking on a person’s health. Educators have provided thousands upon thousands of documents to the internet involving lesson plans for students of all ages to learn both what smoking does to a person and how to get help for said person, from asking the questions “… why do so many kids [start smoking]?” to informing students that “Nicotene, a chemical in tobacco plant leaves that is used in cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco, is addictive,” (Health Problems Series – Smoking). In California, a document that was published in March of 2008 required all health curriculums to help students recognize “that tobacco smoke is harmful to health and should be avoided” and to “Explain the dangers of secondhand smoke,” (California State Board of Education). From using cigarette smoking facts sheets for students to know how dangerous cigarettes are (Cigarette Smoking Fact Sheet) to presenting students with real mortality rates of smokers in the U.S. alone (Smoking-Related Mortality Facts), there is no denying the fact that people are warned well before they start smoking that they can get cancer or have other life-threatening issues later in life. These facts are only reinforced as students get older and progress through school, therefore putting the fact that tobacco is dangerous into young peoples’ minds nearly consecutively. However, the public education system is not the only method of displaying the negativity of smoking and tobacco in general.
Television is another source of education for young people about the dangers of tobacco in their lives, namely in commercials by the CDC and website sponsors such as The Truth. These advertisements not only instill a sense of reality of the jeopardy that smokers put themselves in, but they make sure to get the message across by putting forth the message in a frightful, alarming, or unsettling manner. There are countless compilations of commercials on YouTube alone that deal with this topic, and they all display warnings that the public service announcements are not for the faint of heart, and for good reason. They demonstrate everything from how smoking damages a person’s skin (TOP 40: SCARIEST ANTI-SMOKING COMMERCIALS [PART ONE]) to how one can suffer from cardiovascular or circulatory issues and suffer from a stroke (TOP 40: SCARIEST ANTI-SMOKING COMMERCIALS [PART TWO]) to even how someone can get throat and lung cancer and pass away due to their smoking habits (TOP 40: SCARIEST ANTI-SMOKING COMMERCIALS [PART FOUR]). These commercials are displayed on television on a regular basis all over the world, and they all warn their viewers about smoking and stopping before their so-called “temporary” habits become terminal. And if, for whatever reason, the commercials and the public education system are not enough warning for people, the ultimate form of both communication and education has taken the anti-smoking campaign by storm: the internet.
The internet has a vast arrangement of websites that are specifically designed to present facts about the dangers of smoking as well as information on where a person can be assisted in order to quit smoking. The Truth, for example, is dedicated to end smoking by presenting facts from industries such as the World Health Organization, the CDC, The Department of Health and Human Services, and the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. The Truth informs people of the internet that “1,154,000 [smokers] have a cancer other than lung cancer from smoking” (Fact 11, The Truth), that “Every 6 seconds, someone in the world dies from a smoking-related disease” (Fact 133, The Truth), inform people that “About 90% of lung cancer deaths among women who continue to smoke are tobacco related” (Fact 46, The Truth), and share that “46,000 [current smokers in the U.S.] have lung cancer from smoking” (Fact 6, The Truth). As one CNN writer points out, “Smoking can kill you… [People have] known that for at least 50 years — and yet millions still smoke, and thousands more pick up the habit every year” (Christensen), so it is essentially pointless to try and receive some monetary benefit from anyone as a result of a person’s bad decisions for their state of health.
At this point in time, to decree that it is all the fault of the tobacco companies that someone has all of the smoking-related health problems that they do is absurd and, quite frankly, not necessary. There are warnings nearly everywhere that consistently tell people how dangerous and hazardous smoking tobacco is for one’s health, and people disregard those warnings and start the habit on their own recognizance. They know all of the information that they do as a result of countless forms of education and educational media that tell them that when they smoke, they are endangering themselves and those around them, no matter how harmless and culturally acceptable it seems. Being diagnosed with lung cancer is devastating and can cost someone their life, but there is no reason for someone to collect damages for their terminal illness when they have been warned time and time again about how smoking can lead to the disease in the first place.