Smoking is a dreadful habit that not only affects the person doing it but the set of people related to the person as well the set of people that are around that person while smoking. Smoking is an addictive disease that causes damage to the liver as well as the other major organs of the body. Seeing that there are many hazardous effects of smoking, most of the countries have a ban on smoking in public places. This rule has been laid forward because smokers are ruining their health by choice but if they are allowed to smoke in public, they will affect many other lives that have not volunteered to be damaged.
Many people oppose to this ban on smoking in public areas. They feel that this argument safeguards the rights of only non-smokers. People argue that public places are for the ‘public.’ This includes smokers as well as non-smokers. This law on banning to smoke in public also affects tourism and restaurant and caterer businesses. Opponents of the ban on smoking feel they are discriminated and are robbed of their freedom of choice. Opponents also argue that this ban will increase the stress levels in the society by not allowing to smokers smoke openly. It will cause more accidents, decrease in morale and productivity and more verbal or/and physical violence.
However, these claims are not based on actual scientific findings. Many researchers have concluded that smoking has many bad effects of the society. The state of California has even concluded that the risks posed by smoking in public places are more concentrated as to indoor smoking. In light of this study, State of California has declared tobacco smoke as a ‘toxic pollutant of the air.”
Many health issues can be encountered due to second hand smoke. Not only the risk if different cancers are increased, there are greater incidents of asthma attacks and bronchial infections. This gives shape to a non-healthy society with many underlying health problems. According to the Center for Disease Controls (CDC), if a non-smoker is exposed to second hand smoke for more than 30 minutes, then the chances of having a fatal heart attack are raised as compared to a smoker. The risks are further intensified if the person already has associated risks like heart disease, family history or is a male above the age of 40. CDC reports that 30 minutes of second hand smoke can easily be accomplished in a restaurant, sitting in a park or travelling by public transport.
The example of Patrick Reynolds is a great way to understand the importance of banning smoking in public places. Patrick was heir to the great tobacco empire but he refused to take that stand because smoking had caused the deaths of his father and brother. Now Reynolds works actively to promote the hazards of smoking and warns people how they can save themselves as well as thousands of other innocent people by not smoking in public places. (tobaccofree.org)
As it can be seen from several researches, this ban is extremely beneficial as compared to the claims of people wanted to smoke in public places. As a mature individual and a patriotic society, we also have to do our part in ensuring this ban. Our contributions may include the promotion of a healthier lifestyle, public awareness activities, and respecting the law. It is important to understand the importance of this law and to abide by it. We see that even though selling cigarettes to underage children is not allowed, yet many people sell them for the money. Else, some adults buy the cigarettes for the child. This behavior needs to be prevented and children need to be made aware of the hazards of smoking.
In the United Kingdom alone, as much as 12,000 deaths are recorded annually that are caused by second hand smoke in the workplace. In Australia, 17.4% of deaths are due to smoking (Parliament: House of Commons: Health Committee, 2005). This is an alarming number that needs immediate attention. Even If the authorities wanted to give freedom of choice, there is no simple way of allowing smoking in public. It is like allowing poisoning everyone around you. The most sensible way to prevent and protect the masses from second hand smoke and its effects are to ban smoking in public areas and to impose heavy fines or imprisonment for the people who do not follow the rules.
The government needs to send the right signal to its citizens. It needs to make decisions that are safe and healthy for its people. This ban will help build up an independent and healthy society that does not require drugs to concentrate or think clearly. This ban will save future generations from diseases that have not yet been discovered.
We are a civilized and educated society. We teach our kids not to jump off from buildings and not to go near fire. We dread the sight of hospitals and medicines. Still we see people slowly killing themselves through this habit of smoking. What they need to understand is that their action is affecting the whole generation and not only themselves. No one has the right to make other people breathe second hand smoke.
It is great to see many countries following this trend and banning its citizens from smoking in public. This single change will bring tons of benefits for the society. It will decrease the death toll, increase health, reduce taxes, and make the world a better place to live in. everyone has the right to breathe clean fresh air. It is our duty to maintain the earth and to save its resources for the future generations. If we keep on smoking in public, then the air will be filled by another toxic pollutant. This pollutant is breathed by our expecting mothers, plants, and animals. It causes a cycle of disaster. I hope this change will be implemented practically and we can have a safer and healthier place to live in.
Parliament: House of Commons: Health Committee, G. B. (2005). Smoking in public places: first report of Session 2005-06. London: Stationery Office.
Patrick Reynolds biography. (n.d.). Patrick Reynolds biography. Retrieved March 31, 2014, from http://www.tobaccofree.org/bio.htm