Smoking in Public Places Should Be Banned
People who smoke in public portray a bad example. Children are easily influenced in their growing stages. They imitate the people around them because they cannot differentiate between right and wrong. Therefore they perceive the actions they see around them as the way things should be. Besides that, teenagers who see people smoke in public take it as precedent to start smoking as well. There is a saying that goes “monkey see monkey do,” which tells us that people imitate the actions of others as they see it in their daily lives. Teenagers happen to think that smoking makes a person “cool.” When they see adults doing it on the streets it strengthens their belief in the “coolness” of smoking. Some teenagers think that smoking marks their transition into adulthood and maturity. Hence, more teenagers start smoking due to the influence of seeing other people smoke in public places.
If smoking is banned in public areas, it will promote a healthier lifestyle for everyone. People will see it as a government endorsement for a healthier lifestyle of everybody. This is because by banning smoking in public areas the government sends the message that the government cares about the health of the citizens and that the government discourages people from smoking. Thus, when smoking is not allowed in public areas it reminds people that health care is very important. It reminds each and every person that the government is seriously concerned for the well being of its citizens. Therefore, people would be reminded to live a healthy lifestyle.
If smoking is banned in public places it safeguards the life of the smoker as well as that of the public. Studies have shown that second hand smoke kills. Second hand smoke causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections and asthma attacks in children. Besides that, second hand smoke causes heart diseases and lung cancer in smoking and non-smoking adults. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), secondhand smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic, including more than 50 that can cause cancer” (CDC, 2009). These studies have proven that second hand smoke can cause cancer and is extremely bad for both the smokers and non-smokers’ health. In addition, the CDC also states that, “The California Environmental Protection Agency estimates that secondhand smoke exposure causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer deaths and 22,700–69,600 heart disease deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in theUnited States” (CDC, 2009). This means that just by being near people who are smoking, innocent people are dying of diseases that are caused by second hand smoke. This violates a non-smokers’ right to live a healthy lifestyle because just by being in public places where other people smoke they are subjected to breathing in toxic fumes. Consequently, the health of innocent non-smokers who are in public places are being jeopardized against their will.
By disallowing people who smoke from smoking in public, it will cause smokers to smoke less. Because smoking is not allowed in public, people are only allowed to smoke in their homes. This would mean that as long as they are out of their homes: at work, when they eat out, at the movies or even at the parks, they cannot smoke. Smokers will have to wait until they get home to light up a cigarette. As a result, their cigarette consumption reduces and they smoke less. This in turn will benefit the smokers who have been trying to quit smoking but are unable to because they have more reason to stop. The law prohibits them from smoking in public areas, so cigarette consumption is reduced. Also, should they have an urge to smoke in public they will put in extra effort to quash the craving because it is punishable by law. In addition, there is less temptation for smokers who want to quit smoking if the ban is enforced because no one will offer them cigarettes. Therefore, this allows them to abstain from smoking. This theory is proven in a report published in The Daily Mail (2008), stating, “At least 400,000 people inEngland have quit smoking as a result of the ban on lighting up in public places that was introduced last July.” Smokers will benefit from this ban because it will help them reduce the amount as well as the frequency of smoking and it could also help them break their addiction to cigarettes. In the long run it could help them quit, and also help them develop healthier lifestyles.
If smoking is not allowed in public areas it discourages non-smokers from starting to smoke at all. People will not be tempted to start smoking because they know that smoking is addictive, and if smoking is not allowed in public they will suffer from withdrawal from their addiction to the nicotine from cigarettes. The Wiltshire Times (2007) postulates, “New research shows that one in ten smokers claim to have quit and over half of south west smokers have thought about quitting since the nationwide ban was introduced on July 1.” If smokers choose to quit or even think of quitting because of the inconvenience of not being able to smoke in public, would it not, more so, prevent a non-smoker from smoking? Surely one would not intentionally subject themselves to an addiction knowing that they will suffer withdrawal symptoms due to that addiction. By banning smoking in all public areas, the government shows support for the fact that smoking is bad, and it helps to set changes to the mind set in people reminding them that smoking is not a healthy habit. Furthermore, smoking will no longer be an issue when it comes to the influence of peers because nobody is allowed to smoke in public, so peers cannot pressure a person to start smoking.
Some may argue that by preventing smokers from smoking in public, it infringes upon their rights. It is true that smokers have rights and these rights should not be infringed upon. However, a non-smoker’s right to breathe clean air should be taken into consideration as well. When people smoke in public areas the toxic fumes travel through the air and into the lungs of others. Many non-smokers breathe in the second hand smoke and as a result their health is compromised. Should non-smokers be subjected to these unhealthy and vile smelling fumes every time a smoker chooses to light up a cigarette? Certainly not! Smoking is a personal choice and people can choose to smoke but others should not be subjected to the health risks that come from inhaling second hand smoke. People’s rights to breathe fresh and clean air should be protected, and along with that their right to maintain a healthy lifestyle without breathing in second hand smoke should be protected too.
If people are prohibited form smoking in public it would be safer for the environment. When smokers smoke in public they tend to throw their cigarettes on the ground wherever they are. These cigarette buds are detrimental to the environment because they take a long time to decompose. According to McLaren (2005) “Traditional butts are made of synthetic polymer cellulose acetate’ and never degrade, only breaking apart after roughly 12 years.” Because the cigarette butts are not biodegradable they pollute the land. Most of the cigarette butts that are littered all over the place end up the rivers, and in the bellies of fishes and other aquatic creatures. McLaren (2005) also postulates that, “within an hour of contact with water, cigarette butts can begin leaching chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into the marine environment.’ This pollutes the water supply that will inevitably end up in the stomachs of all living creatures. If the smoking ban is enforced the littering of these buds will no longer be an issue and the environment will be cleaner and healthier for everyone.
If the current situation continues, the health of many people will remain in danger.
The death toll for heart and lung diseases as well as the death toll for cancer will continue to gradually increase if the current smoking situation is not corrected. By putting forth a ban of smoking in public places the government promotes a healthier lifestyle for everybody and it protects every citizen from many diseases and health risks such as cancer and other deadly diseases. Besides that, the ban will eliminate the bad example set fort by people smoking in the public. Children and teenagers will then have a mindset implemented by the government that smoking is bad. The ban will discourage non-smokers from starting to smoke, thus preventing them from getting addicted to cigarettes. Also, it will encourage smokers to quit, and aid them on the difficult journey to be freed from the bounds of addiction. Consequently there will be no cigarette buttes littered all over the place affecting the environment negatively. By prohibiting people from smoking in public the government is protecting the God given rights of its people to live a full and healthy life. It encourages people to take steps to better their quality of life and to take care of themselves as well as the people around them. Therefore, smoking should be banned in all public places.