Tobacco: The Socially Acceptable Killer

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. More than 440,000 Americans die from tobacco-related diseases each year; most of them start using tobacco before age 18.1

Carcinogens in the Body

Cigarette smokers inhale tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide and 200 other known poisons into the lungs.2 Smoking tobacco injures lung tissue, preventing the lungs from fighting infection. It also injures the vascular system, resulting in strokes, heart attacks, aortic aneurysms, and peripheral vascular diseases.3

Speeding Up the Aging Process and the Anti-Aging Skincare Market

The appearance of aging is a concern for many people, especially Americans. As the world's largest cosmetics market, valued at US $45.4 billion, "the anti-aging products sector and increased mass-market distribution of prestige products are the primary drivers of the U.S. cosmeceutical market... retail sales of skin care products [grew] by 4.8 percent to $5.8 billion in 2005 from 2004."4

After just ten years of smoking, skin damage from cigarettes may begin to occur. The more cigarettes one smokes and the longer one smokes, the more skin wrinkling is likely — even though the early skin damage from smoking may be hard to see. Nicotine causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the outermost layers of the skin, impairing blood flow. With less blood being delivered, skin does not receive the normal amount of oxygen and important nutrients like Vitamin A. In smokers, skin will sag and wrinkle prematurely because many of the over 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen and elastin. "The U.S. market value for skin care nourishing and anti-aging products is forecasted to reach $2.6 billion in 2011, a 24 percent growth from last year's estimate of $2.1 billion."5

Pregnancy and Secondhand Smoke

Mothers smoking during pregnancy have caused an estimated 94,000 infant deaths.6 Additionally, tobacco-exposed infants suffer from underdeveloped lungs. Smokers are not the only people affected by tobacco; those exposed to secondhand smoke may suffer from serious diseases and death. It is estimated that 126 million Americans are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, and almost 50,000 non-smokers die from diseases caused by secondhand smoke exposure.7 Out of those 50,000 secondhand smoke deaths, approximately 3,000 are from lung cancer.8


Billions of dollars are spent marketing tobacco to the public. $12.5 billion was spent in 2006 on marketing ($34 million per day).9 The three most heavily advertised brands of cigarettes are Marlboro, Camel, and Newport. 36% of cigarette ads appear in magazines targeted to teens.10 Tobacco companies argue that they have the right to advertise based on freedom of speech under the First Amendment. They maintain that in reference to advertising, people have the ability to decide what is in their best interest.

BODIES…The Exhibition gives visitors a chance to dispose of their cigarettes at the end of all Exhibitions. Over 10,000 packs have been thrown out.


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