A Perfectly Written Sample Essay About Smoking
According to the recent WHO report, out of 1 billion smokers around the world 7 million perish each year from smoking related illness. More than 6 million die of direct tobacco usage and the rest of complications caused by passive smoking. That accounts for a smoking related death in every six seconds.
History and spread
Tobacco smoking is more than 4000 years old. The plant is a native of Central America. Its leaves were used along with other hallucinogenic drugs in rituals and for medicinal purposes. It was smoked through pipes, chewed or inhaled as ‘snuff’.
When Christopher Columbus discovered America by accident, he was introduced to tobacco. From Spain, tobacco usage spread rapidly to the rest of Europe and became very popular. Initially people extolled the medicinal properties of tobacco, but it became the habit of the masses within no time.
Colonies and cultivation
As tobacco gained in popularity its demand grew. European powers with colonies jumped at this new trade opportunity. They started cultivating tobacco in their respective colonies from 16th century onwards. The cheap labour in the colonies of Asia and Africa were perfect for the labour intensive tobacco cultivation and processing. In America large tobacco farms used slaves brought in from Africa for this purpose. Tobacco became one of the important cash crops and its production rose to staggering limits.
Apart from economic gains, the production of tobacco over centuries had another drastic effect. It introduced tobacco usage to a large number of local populations. The addictive ‘weed’ quickly became a part and parcel of the customs, traditions and the life of the natives. It became a habit and a way of life, which is continuing until date. As business soared, newer inventions like the cigarette helped to spread the habit to more number of people. Companies started mixing harmful chemicals in tobacco to enhance the ‘kick’ while smoking. This increased the lethality of smoking many times.
The situation now
The value of the worldwide tobacco market is approximately $770 billion. More than 80% of the smokers are from the developing countries, many of whom are previous colonies. a staggering 15 billion cigarettes sell daily in developing countries. This means 10 million every minute! WHO estimates that tobacco smoking will cause more than 1 billion lives, by the turn of the century. There has been an increase in awareness against tobacco use. Several countries have banned tobacco use; more have imposed restrictions and taxation. Alarmingly, despite these measures, the value of the global tobacco market is on the rise.
Tobacco addiction and consumption has to be curbed. We have to decide whether we want to support an unnatural and artificial cause of death to our woes. Tobacco consumption should be strictly abolished. We have to demand it as our future lies in our hands.