One major issue talked about by almost everyone is whether or not smoking should be banned in all public places. Many places have already banned smoking. I believe that smoking should be banned in all indoor public places as well as some recreational places outdoors. I believe that people should have the right to breathe clean air and smokers should not be able to take that right away. It is their bad habit and they should do it on their own away from those who do not want to breathe it in.
Over 50,000 people a year die from second hand smoke in the United States alone according to www.thetruth.com. That is 50,000 people who died from another person’s bad habit. Aside from death, public health officials concluded that second hand smoke causes diseases including lung cancer and heart disease in nonsmoking adults, and asthma, respiratory infections, cough, and wheezing. The most devastating information related to second hand smoke is that it is linked to exposure in SIDS in children. Studies have linked 1,900 to 2,700 SIDS deaths to parental smoking. This means as many as two-thirds of SIDS cases could be avoided if parents did not smoke. Second hand smoke also causes eye, nose, and throat irritation. Nonsmokers have to battle these problems because smokers are not courteous enough to smoke in private.
According to www.whitelies.tv, a group committed to creating awareness about smoking and the tobacco companies, “250 of the chemicals in second hand smoke are poisonous, 43 have been shown to cause cancer, and a majority is respiratory irritants. Secondhand smoke has been classified as a Group A Carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. This is a rating reserved for only the most potent cancer-causing agents such as benzene and arsenic, both of which are found in secondhand smoke.”
I believe smoking should be banned in all public indoor places. I believe that a nonsmoker should be able to enjoy a meal in a restaurant or drink at the bar without having to inhale these toxins from a cigarette. I also believe that all amusement parks, sports stadiums, and other outdoor recreational areas should either be nonsmoking or have only a select few designated areas for smoking. People should not have to breathe in smoke while waiting in line to ride a ride, or watch a baseball game.
Many people believe that having restaurants with smoking and nonsmoking sections should be good enough. I believe that this is not enough because even the restaurants that have a smoking and nonsmoking section still have smoke in both sections. Just because half is smoking and the other half is not, the smoke still circulates through the air. Ventilation companies state that their product will not clean second hand smoke. Even though there are vents that are supposed to suck up the smoke, there is still smoke going into the lungs of nonsmokers and it is killing them. The ventilation does not suck up the smoke; it merely circulates it through the air according to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Two hours in a “non smoking” restaurant section is equivalent to smoking 2 cigarettes. According to Brookstone, a nationwide specialty retailer that make air purifiers, “No air purifier can protect against the health hazards associated with second hand smoke.” The Sharper Image states, “No air cleaner can protect against the harmful effects of second hand smoke, clean air begins with a smoke free environment.” As you can see these ventilation systems are merely a way to trick people into believing the air they are breathing is clean and smoke free, even the tobacco industry such as Philip Morris USA admit this fact.
Bar and restaurant owners who turned their smoking businesses into nonsmoking places from all over the United States were interviewed about the impact their decision has made. Many say that they were concerned at first that there would be a loss of revenue. They reported that there was no loss. They thought smokers would stop coming and they would lose out on customers. They lost no customers, and the wait for a table was now shorter because they did not have to wait for smoking or nonsmoking seats. There was less maintenance because they did not have to have all the smoke cleaned from everything in the restaurant or bar. None of the owners reported a negative economic impact. All fast food restaurants are nonsmoking and they are still at the top of their game. Fast food chains make huge profits and they do not allow any smoking, why would another restaurant be any different?
Smokers have argued that if nonsmokers do not want to breathe in the cigarette smoke, that they should just stay out of places that allow smoking. Why should nonsmokers have to avoid places when the smokers are the ones that are causing the inconvenience? Smokers are the ones who choose to smoke and harm their lungs, and nonsmokers should be able to choose to not harm their lungs. Some smokers also say that nonsmokers should just deal with it because they should be free to smoke where they want and when they want. Why should we have to deal with them killing us and giving us diseases and illnesses?
A smoker once argued to me that they should be able to smoke when and where they want because they are the ones paying to smoke. They are buying their own cigarettes and they should be able to use what they are paying for. Smokers are paying for their cigarettes, but we are the ones that have to pay for the treatment and medicine when we get sick because of their smoke. They are not paying our medical bills when we get cancer or illnesses from their second hand smoke. If they want to use this argument they also need to pay our medical bills from their cigarettes.
According to White Lies, exposure to second hand smoke is equivalent to smoking. Two hours in a smoky bar is equivalent to smoking 5 cigarettes. Eight hours in an office that allows smoking is equivalent to smoking 6 cigarettes. According to Americans for Nonsmoker’s Rights, the no smoking bans have shown a cut in nicotine levels. When a smoking workplace goes from smoking to nonsmoking, quit rate goes from 5% to 21%. By making more places nonsmoking, it will help smokers to quit their bad habit. These bans in smoking places will help to make it easier for those smokers who want to quit be able to do just that.
I believe that it is everyone’s right to breathe clean air. Nonsmokers should not have to be inconvenienced, sick, or killed because of non courteous smokers. Nonsmokers choose not to smoke and keep their lungs clean, and smokers should not be able to take that away from them by smoking around them. I believe that smoking should be banned in all public places to stop making nonsmoking adults and innocent children sick or terminally ill. Banning smoking in public places has not shown any negative economic impacts. It has not resulted in loss of customers for restaurants or bars. These bans have also shown a decrease in nicotine levels. These smoking bans will not harm anyone; they will only save lives.
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. 2005. American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. 15 June 2005 <http://www.no-smoke.org/>.
Pathway Productions. White Lies. 2002. Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation. 15 June 2005 <http://www.whitelies.tv/>.
Philip Morris USA. Altria Group, Inc. 15 June 2005 <http://www.philipmorrisusa.com/>.
The Truth. 15 June 2005 <http://www.thetruth.com/index.cfm?seek=truth>.