Imagine experiencing the effects of smoking two packs of cigarettes without even putting a cigarette in your mouth.
Many of the unfortunate non-smokers in Mexico City are subject to this bodily harm daily. Breathing the air in this city is like smoking two packs of cigarettes every time you take a breath. Even though pollution in the United States is not as bad as Mexico City, many nonsmokers who try to stay healthy are unable to do so due to second-hand smoke.
There are many steps the United States government should take to eliminate smoking. Laws against minors buying cigarettes should be more strictly enforced. Smoking should be banned from public places and restaurants. These steps will discourage potential smokers, keep our public air clean and reduce pollution.
High schools have had tobacco problems as long as they have existed, but recently, they have worsened. Today's youth must realize that smoking does their body irreversible damage. Studies have shown time and time again that even if a smoker quits by the age of thirty, the damage done to their body as a teenager remains a detriment to their health.
Lung damage from a long time ago can contribute to lung cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis, even if the smoker has quit years before. The body cannot heal itself from this extensive damage.
Recently, a law was passed that restricted the advertisement of cigarettes on billboards and increased the amount of anti-smoking commercials in the media.
America has many rights that encourage freedom of speech and freedom of the press. However, we take for granted one of our most important rights: the right to breathe clean air. tf
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.