Texas should have 100% smoke-free laws. This is not a debate that should be carried out on the basis of rights but the health of people (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 2009). This is because rights can only be enjoyed in a healthy and free environment. Moreover the fact that smoking is such an open thing makes it a violation of the rights of the people who do not smoke but have to live with the impact of secondary smoke. A map by the American Cancer Society cancer action network indicates that currently, only 14 states have non-smoking laws in the United States. A good number, up to 24 states have smoking laws that govern smoking in workplaces, bars, and restaurants. In addition, there are over ten states with partial smoking laws. This shows that there is a general consensus that the health situation in the country has concerned many people to the extent that they have begun an extensive and deliberate process to ban smoking in certain areas (Texas Medical Association, 2013). A research, the first of its kind, conducted by the United States Surgeon General released a report on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. This landmark report led to the beginning of smoke-free zone initiatives. Since then, 558 communities have since developed smoke-free zones between 1990 and January 2013. These fundamental factors demonstrate why it is important for Texas to also follow recommendations that have been at the heart of the progressive shift to smoke-free areas in American society. The figures below describe the situation in America since the research in 1964 to date:
Texas is not a special case. While there is lack of a general law that governs smoking in the state, several initiatives have been made by different people and companies. To begin with, several restaurants have designated their business premises as smoke-free areas (Kulikoff, 1986). The number exceeds 72. Moreover, research indicates that Texas pays a high price for tobacco users. The cost of poor workplace productivity, health complications, and premature death in Texas as a result of smoking is $20 billion (Burns, 2007; Smoke-Free Restaurants, 2014). Moreover, 24500 deaths in Texas that occur annually are preventable and caused by Tobacco. This is caused by a significant level of challenge that needs to be looked upon. For instance, it is argued that one out of every five adults and youths do smoke, translating to a population of 3.3 million. The impact of secondary smoke on children in such environments is therefore exacerbated hence leading to the sorry state of affairs. Moreover, 90% of adults started smoking before they reached 18 implying that in 2014, up to 27,000 children will begin smoking, hence making Texas such a big deal when it comes to smoking (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 2009; Smoke-Free Restaurants, 2014).
The big question is why Texas should have a 100% smoke-free zone. Aside from the health issues, there is a strong need to overcome the smoking culture by the municipalities. This implies that there is already an effort towards this end, in order to redeem the health status of the society and promote a healthier environment with a more informed population (Kulikoff, 1986). This can simply be done, in light of the municipalities’ steps that have already been taken, by extending tobacco cessation insurance to more Texans in order to stem the morbidity directly linked to Tobacco smoking in Texas. Moreover, supporting state-wide bans to smoking that exposes the non-smokers to the impact of secondary smoke in all indoor environments is necessary in order to create a positive environment for both children and non-smokers in general (Texas Medical Association, 2013; Kulikoff, 1986). In the end, Texas stands to gain more in revenue and expenditure reduction if it bans smoking in essential places than if the practice continues because nationally this problem has been identified as a serous one that affects all in equal measure.
American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. (2009, October 1). States, commonwealths, and municipalities with 100% smokefree laws in workplaces - See more at: http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=19545#sthash.Vtq0oSBs.dpuf. Retrieved from: http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/100ordlist.pdf.#sthash.Vtq0oSBs.dpuf
Burns, E. (2007). The Smoke of the Gods: A Social History of Tobacco. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Kulikoff, A. (1986). Tobacco & Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake. Chesapeake: University of North Carolina Press.
Smoke-Free Restaurants. (2014). Smoke-Free Restaurants in Texas. Retrieved from: http://www.smoke-freerestaurants.com/Rests-TX.htm
Texas Medical Association. (2013). Texas Should Be Smoke Free. Retrieved from: http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=19545