Factual Essay Smoking Ban

It's Time to Ban Smoking in Public Places

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     According to published research, an estimated 1,323 Americans die each day from a smoking related illness. Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in the US (Bilofsky, 1). Smokers only make up approximately 26% of the US population, but those 26% affect all of us. A number of diseases can be caught from second hand smoke, or passive smoking, including a number of cancers throughout the body, emphysema, asthma, and cardiovascular problems. Second hand smoke has been proven to be harmful to smokers and non-smokers. A ban on smoking in all public places would greatly decrease the health hazards related to smoking.

     We have a right to clean air and to a safe environment, smoking should be banned in public places for man reasons, including the fact that it is a hug health risk for both smokers and non-smokers. We find smoking to be irritating for a number of reasons. The smell of smoke is awful, it clings to your clothing, and it affects the breath of the smoker. Smoke in the air is also irritating to the eyes, causing them to water and itch. Personal hygiene is affected too: smoke stains your teeth and can cause sores inside the mouth. Smoking, simply put, just looks stupid. Smokers whether they like it or not, are criticized and judged daily by stranger just for having a cigarette in their mouth. Frankly, we believe smoking to be a complete waste of the time spent smoking and the money.

     Dealing with the concerns of health, or health-related problems, we have to take into consideration ETS, or Environmental Tobacco Smoke. ETS is defined as a diverse and dynamic mixture consisting of several thousand constituents (Hanneman, 3). A physical separation of smokers and non-smokers in a public place isn’t enough. Separate ventilation systems are needed because approximately 1 million square feet of building area per one smoker is required to achieve minimal acceptable exposure levels to non-smokers (Goodfellow, 68). It is unfair for one person’s nasty habit to affect another person’s health. In a poll taken in the state of California both smokers and non-smokers were asked how they felt about the states no smoking law for restaurants and bars and their desire to eat there. 85% on non-smokers and smokers both said that they would be "more likely to go" to a smoke free environment (Bellman, 1).

     Currently 48 states and the District of Columbia have Clean Air Acts intact ("Environmental Tobacco Smoke").

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The state of California has a law that prohibits smoking of any kind inside any restaurant, bar/restaurant, or gaming club ("Breath"). Many communities throughout the US have taken a stand on smoking and have their own policies. Will other states follow California’s lead? We certainly hope so. Laws emposed against smoking may infact help smokers quit. A large majority of smokers legitimately want to quit, but have no drive to. With no-smoking laws intact the indoor air would be safer.

     ETS has been proven to be harmful to everyone. People go out to eat and out to bars to have fun and enjoy themselves, not to be put at serious risk or catching a possibly fatal disease. Should the rights of smoke outweigh the rights of a non-smoker?



As more cities consider bans on smoking in public places, Kentucky, as one of the heavier tobacco-using states, will undoubtedly continue to debate the pros and cons of this issue with considerable fervor. As a health and physical educator, I feel the need to weigh in on this topic. As you might expect, I support smoking bans with few reservations. Here are five reasons why.

No. 1: Secondhand smoke has serious negative health consequences. I personally don’t care what you do to your own body, although the educator in me would advise you to quit for your own good. I do care that your behavior affects the health of others.

Unlike other self-indulgent behaviors like eating fast food or drinking alcohol in public, secondhand smoke is not singularly linked to the participant. The negative effects of smoking in public carry over into other people’s lives with a tangible, measurable, and sometimes permanent impact. Whereas eating fast food for every meal or excessive alcohol consumption is likely harmful to the individual, the negative impact on others is minimal. Some may argue that eating too much fast food may cause an earlier death and the associated increased cost of medical care is a burden on the taxpayer. While probably true, the link is weaker, less immediate and less measurable than the one between secondhand smoke and health.

Secondhand smoke exposure is clearly linked with negative outcomes on a person’s health. While the exact degree of harm is debatable, a recent study published in the medical journal Circulation reviewed 13 studies from around the world and found that banning smoking in public places can reduce heart attack hospitalizations by up to 36 percent over time, regardless of geographical location. Clearly, it’s become increasingly more difficult to make a case that secondhand smoke causes no measurable injury to the breather — especially over time. The scientific evidence that links secondhand smoke with heart disease and cancer has been mounting for decades. Not only that, the effects of temporary exposure to smoke are also well documented and include headaches, breathing problems, and even nausea. The bottom line is that secondhand smoke has numerous short-term and long-term consequences for innocent bystanders.

No. 2: Litter reduction. Cigarette butts account for millions of pieces of litter annually and detracts from a location’s aesthetic. If smokers would dispose of their waste properly when they’re in public places, this might not be an issue, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t. The evidence is there, littering attractive buildings and the surrounding landscape with cigarette butts. A smoking ban would reduce litter. Although not a primary argument in support of a public smoking ban, it is still a credible one.

No. 3: The lingering odor of stale cigarettes. In bars and restaurants and other establishments that permit smoking, many patrons find the smell of cigarettes to be unpleasant and annoying. Cigarette smoke tends to linger on people’s clothes and hair and takes longer to fade even after the offending party has left. Clothes worn to a smoky bar may still smell like smoke days later.

No. 4: The right to a healthy workplace. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide a safe and healthy environment for its employees. While many workers choose to work in workplaces that permit smoking, others may prefer not to be around smoke but persist because they need the employment. A smoking ban opponent may simply say, “work somewhere without smoke,” yet I would argue that your insistence on smoking in public is not as important as that employee’s health and livelihood. Smokers’ unwillingness to control their urges should not force people to change jobs in the name of personal health and welfare.

No. 5: The cost of secondhand smoke. We’re not talking only about the high cost of the smoking habit, which can average $1,500 a year just for the cigarettes. But there also are smoking medical costs. For example, a smoker with poor lung function may have much higher medical bills because of the smoking habit. Smokers also pay more for life insurance and health insurance than nonsmokers, because of their higher risk of health care costs. Smoking lowers the potential resale value of home and cars, because most buyers are not interested in purchasing a house or car that smells like cigarettes. Not to mention the cost to businesses and taxpayers to beautify streets, buildings and other public places that have been littered and damaged by smoking. These are some of the hidden costs of smoking.

Final thoughts. I must add that despite my argument for banning smoking in public, I do support a person’s right to smoke in private settings where the impact on other people is controlled and negligible. My position is that with the use of controlled substances comes the responsibility to respect other people’s health.



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