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Smoking in Public Places

By jz161763 Aug 30, 2011 1092 Words
Jessica Zender
American Government
Smoking in Public Places
Smoking has been around in our history for longer than we can imagine. It used to be a status symbol and a power stick. A cigarette in ones hand was a gesture of intimidation to others. Movies have always shown the protagonist smoking away while they deal with something important. Even in real life, ask a smoker, they would say that smoking helps them clear the clutter in their mind and calms them down. However, a non-smoker would easily brush it off their shoulder by saying "It's all in the head". Well, which side is right, and which side is wrong? The ones who reckon smoking as a social evil will embrace the smoking ban with all they have, to save the big picture of the earth being healthy. However, smokers, will simply put it off, and find another way to smoke. They know the health hazards it causes, as they still choose to smoke, and so do you think a ban will stop them? A smoking ban is a controversial subject. Those who do not smoke, and have never smoked, often feel like there is no reason not to have a public smoking ban. Smokers, however, feel like it is a personal right to be able to smoke in public, and the smoking ban issue is important and personal for them. While this might seem like a new issue, this disagreement surrounding an action to ban smoking in public places has been around for a while. The first known smoking ban occurred in 1590 and was given by Pope Urban VII during his short reign as pope.

Anyone who was caught smoking or chewing tobacco near a church was excommunicated. It was not until the twentieth century that the health problems associated with tobacco use came into the public eye. This is the time when businesses provided smokers with their own separate locations, so they could smoke without exposing the rest of the customers to the dangers and irritation of smoke. In the 1990s, California became the first state to issue a smoking ban, and this was in restaurants. Since that time, many cities have taken up the force to ban cigarette smoking in public locations, particularly restaurants. In fact, recent estimates show that as many as thirty-four states have cities that have some sort of ban smoking laws. There are pros and cons on the smoking ban issue. But the most commonly claimed pro is that there are so many scientific medical reasons that smoking in public should be banned. Not only does smoking hurt the person who is smoking, but recent scientific and medical evidence shows that the dangers associated with second hand smoking are extremely serious and relevant. The most commonly claimed con is that is legal to smoke tobacco, so governments have no right to try to make people stop and quit smoking. On the pro side of a ban, scientists agree that smoking is dangerous. Tobacco smoke can cause cancer, strokes and heart disease. Smoking does not just harm the smoker, but it also harms people close by, or who breathe in the smoke (which is called “passive smoking”). Smokers choose to smoke, but people nearby do not choose to smoke passively. People should only be exposed to harm if they understand the risks and choose to accept them. A complete ban on smoking in public is needed to protect people from passive smoking. A ban would give confidence for smokers to smoke less or give up. If smoking was banned in public places, it would no longer be a social activity. Instead, smokers would have to leave their friends and family inside, and go outside to smoke. This would be for the most part unpleasant when it is cold and wet outside. Several people took the dive to quit smoking after the smoking ban. This is because; they found it complex to find a place to smoke in public places. Also, smoking in public places creates the opportunity of influencing the minds of vulnerable children as well as even some adults. Smoking in public destroys the quality of the environment that it is practiced in. When young children are on field trips through a city, they do not want to inhale smoke, for it gives them the impression that cities are dirty and polluted; actually, this statement isn't very far off because of the effects of smoking. Do we want the cities and towns of our nations, of our world, to be thought of as neglected and classless? On the con side of a ban, Society accepts that adults can decide to hurt themselves to some degree, as long as they do not harm others. It is therefore wrong to argue that a ban on public smoking should be introduced to persuade people to give up. Smokers fund their own healthcare through the high taxes they pay on tobacco. In any case, heavy smokers are not likely to give up since they are addicted to nicotine. A ban on smoking in public places would force many bars, pubs, and clubs out of business. Smokers would not go to these places anymore. These businesses would also earn less money from selling tobacco products. As for the government it makes a lot of tax money from the sale of cigarettes. This sum of money has dropped since the ban was issued. Opposing to increasing well-liked beliefs, smokers do have their rights. As long as smokers are following company policies regarding smoking, such as smoking in designated areas, and properly disposing of smoking materials, they are not harming anyone aside from themselves. Some would argue about secondhand smoke, but oftentimes designated smoking areas are located far enough away from the building so that secondhand smoke will not be harmful of health effects on nonsmokers. Rules allow people to choose a town with rules that work for them. If parents want to bring up their children in a smoke-free environment, then it is a good thing that they can choose a town that bans smoking. Same goes for smokers, because there are towns that smoking is allowed in. To this end, on must determine whether cigarette smoking is a “right” of Americans who chose to smoke.

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