Marlboro Country, a land where rugged cowboys ride horses over rolling hills, while they steadily puff on cigarettes.
Or, a college campus, where groups of teenagers huddle outside of class trying to get their dose of nicotine.
Sadly, despite Big Tobacco’s efforts to advertise the glamour of cigarette smoking, the latter example is most common.
On Aug. 29, CNN reported that an alarming one in seven teens smoke cigarettes.
Of all the things a human being could do, why would one choose to release harmful and possibly fatal chemicals into his or her body?
Maybe because teenagers don’t have their priorities straight.
Teens seem to be more worried about having flat stomachs and covering up pesky zits than trying to keep themselves healthy.
Some teens, unaware of the idea that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, need to take some advice from comedian Dave Barry, who once said, “Cigarette sales would drop to zero overnight if the warning said ‘CIGARETTES CONTAIN FAT.'”
Maybe the warning labels should inform teens that smoking not only kills, but may also increase facial wrinkling, making a person look older than he or she really is.
For those who spend hundreds of dollars on beauty cream and skin lotion in hopes of making themselves look younger and more attractive, the best idea would be to save $4 instead of buying a pack of cigarettes.
It has been said that cigarette smoking is a major cause of statistics. These words are sad, but true.
Studies show that smokers have ten times the risk of getting lung cancer and twice the risk of dying from heart disease than nonsmokers.
Smoking also causes chronic lung disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema – all of which can be fatal.
And the list of smoking-related diseases continues to grow.
Cigarette smoking cheapens the quality of one’s life and shows a disregard for health and well-being.
But even so, 47 million people, including three million teenagers, continue to welcome the deadly carcinogens caused by smoking into their bodies.
As a result, more than 400,000 Americans die from cigarette smoking each year, even though it is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States.
Preventable means that it didn’t have to happen. If you don’t want to jump off a building, don’t.
If you don’t want to volunteer yourself for heart disease and cancer, don’t smoke.
I could rant and rave until my face turned blue about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, but chances are the people who smoke cigarettes will continue to do so.
However, a study conducted by the World Health Organization stated that 70 percent of teen smokers want to quit smoking immediately.
Then do it!
As actress and anti-smoking activist Brooke Shields once said, “Smoking kills, and if you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Brandon Lausch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org