Smoking In Public Places

January 5, 2022 by No Comments

Smoking is an outright public nuisance, which should be restricted to the privacy of ones home or other private venues. However, smoking in public places is a privilege that should be snuffed out for good. Smoking is one of the longest lasting bad habits that has permeated American culture since the founding of the country. Its longevity is a testament to its addictiveness.

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From the very beginning, smoking was a controversial habit, which was frowned upon due to its addictive nature. One of the original English settlement companies, The London Company, discouraged its American colonists from growing tobacco since it contained some habit-forming compound Glo Carts . Smoking was called “a vile and stinking habit dangerous to the lungs” by King James I in a booklet he wrote attacking tobacco after its introduction into England.

Smoking brings out the worst in otherwise decent people. When a smoker is asked to extinguish their cigarette because the smoke offends a non-smoker, many smokers will argue that they have a right to smoke. There is no truth to that statement. Smoking is a privilege, not a right. However, the Declaration of Independence does say that we have a right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It has been proven that cigarette smoking is an extremely dangerous habit to both the smoker and non-smokers that inhale their second hand smoke. Anything that endangers a persons health, infringes upon that persons right to life as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, a persons’ right to life is superior to a persons smoking privilege.

There are many reasons that smoking in public should be banned. One of the most important reasons is that smoking is a public health risk. Second hand smoke is sometimes referred to as environmental tobacco smoke. In years past, there were theories that second hand tobacco smoke caused health problems in non-smokers. Doctors now say there is no doubt that second hand smoke causes an increased risk of health problems to non-smokers. Ross Brownson, Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the St. Louis University School of Public health says, “Environmental tobacco smoke is clearly a cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers. If your spouse smokes or you are around somebody who smokes, don’t breathe their smoke”. Non-smokers may also be getting the worst effects of smoking because they are inhaling cigarette smoke without the benefit of the cigarettes filter.

Second hand smoke greatly increases the risk of bronchitis and lung cancer. In fact, smoking is the cause of ninety-five percent of all cases of chronic bronchitis. In the Department of Health and Human Services report Healthy People 2010: Understanding and improving Health smoking is cited as the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. According to Dr. Peters-Golden, breathing second hand smoke can increase the likelihood of acute bronchitis because even one exposure to cigarette smoke poisons the cilia in a persons lungs.

Since it has been proven that environmental tobacco smoke can cause health problems such as lung cancer and bronchitis in non-smokers, banning smoking in public places would lessen the rates of those illnesses in the non-smoking population. If these non-smokers were not endangered by second hand smoke, they would not contribute to the strain on an already stressed health care system.

The tobacco smoke that lingers after a cigarette has been lit can cause damage to property. Smoke can dull paint, ruin pictures, and cause photographs to deteriorate. If a person who chooses to smoke wants to destroy their own property, that is their choice to make. However, smokers do not have the right to destroy public property, to which all taxpayers contribute.

Wherever there is public smoking there is always the very public and unsightly mess of cigarette butts that litter the ground. At many public places such as stadiums and parks there can be hundreds of used cigarettes on the ground. In many locations, tossing discarded cigarettes on the ground is against the law. Apparently, many smokers do not care about the law and toss their used cigarettes on the ground with impunity.

Passive smoking is the involuntary inhalation of cigarette smoke of other people’s cigarettes. Passive smoking, secondary smoke, second hand smoke or environmental tobacco smoke all relate to the same thing – that being the involuntary inhalation of tobacco smoke. Cigarette smoke is generally defined as either the exhaled smoke from a smoker or the ‘sidestream’ smoke from the cigarette tip. It is made up of over 4,000 chemicals of which, 40 or so are known to cause cancer, including numerous hydrocarbons, arsenic and polonium.

Smokers choose to inhale this noxious combination of chemicals and carcinogens but non-smokers do not. In the case of children or babies, there is normally no choice whatsoever and it is estimated that some 700 million children around the world are exposed to secondary smoke from the 1.2 billion smokers in the global population.

It is well documented now that secondary smoke or passive smoking has some adverse affects on the passive smoker and most significantly when they are children. Indeed, in an extract from the 1997 Declaration of the Environment Leaders of the Eight (G8) on Children’s Environmental Health, they stated;

“We affirm that environmental tobacco smoke is a significant public health risk to young children and that parents need to know about the risks of smoking in the home around their young children. We agree to co-operate on education and public awareness efforts aimed at reducing children’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.”

So, what evidence is the G8 working from and why should we care? Well, a review by the World Health Organization in 1998 concluded that passive smoking is a cause of bronchitis, pneumonia, coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, middle ear infection, cot death, and possibly cardiovascular and neurobiological impairment in children. Furthermore, a report in 1992 by the Royal College of Physicians in London estimates that 17,000 under 5s are admitted to hospitals in the UK every year as a direct result of passive smoking.

A report from Hong Kong in 2001 concluded that children living in homes where there are two or more smokers are 30% more likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment than those living in a smoke-free house.

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