Robert M. Collinsworth: Nicotine kills more people every year than opioids do

To the editor:

The CDC has attributed 480,000 deaths per year, in the United States, to nicotine-related causes (more than 41,000 of those deaths are the result of second-hand smoke). That is 1,315 nicotine-related deaths every day, 55 nicotine-related deaths per hour, or almost one nicotine-related death every minute of every day in our country. Nicotine is the single largest cause of preventable death in the United States.

Right now, there is a justifiable nationwide outrage because there were 64,000 deaths related to illicit drugs and prescription opioids in 2016.

How is it that the country can be outraged over one drug causing 64,000 preventable deaths but much less outraged over another drug causing 480,000 (750 percent more) preventable deaths every year?

The answer is simple: The states and the federal government are making a great deal of money from nicotine because it is a legal drug and thus taxable. Therefore, it receives less media and government attention. Think about what these statistics are saying. They are saying that our federal and state governments are willing to allow someone to kill you, or someone you love, as long as they can make a great deal of money from it!

At what point do “We, the People” say “Enough!”? How many fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters must die before we are willing to pick up a pen and write a letter to our president, vice president, and members of Congress?

Would you be willing to write and mail a letter every day if it could save your son or daughter’s life? What do you think would happen if two to four tractor-trailer loads of letters arrived at the White House or Congress every day asking them to outlaw the use of nicotine for human consumption in the United States?

This is not fake news. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has compiled these statistics. These accurate statistics are actually body counts of the fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters I referenced earlier.

Robert M. Collinsworth