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Since the early s, most states and cities have banned smoking in public indoor spaces such as bars, restaurants, and offices.
These bans were sparked by contemporary research that, for the first time, proved the harmful, carcinogenic effects of secondhand smoke. Over the past few years, cities around the country have been proposing and sometimes passing bans on smoking in public outdoor spaces such as parks, bus stops, and even sidewalks.
These outdoor proposals have fueled a lively debate between public health advocates and opponents who see such bans as an infringement on individual rights.
Since tobacco use is largely perceived to be a bad habit that squanders money and lives, should smoking be banned in public places? If so, how far are we as a society willing to go in order to police our behavior?
In many states and countries around the world, restaurants, bars, and offices still allow smoking, but the trend is decidedly leaning towards a smoke-free future.
The dangers of smoking indoors are generally acknowledged throughout the world. A consensus generally emerged from the public that banning smoking indoors was a necessary act for maintaining public health, and governments at the local and state levels have acted to outlaw indoor smoking. Some anti-smoking advocates have now shifted their energies towards enacting even more wide-ranging smoking bans.
New York City has been at the head of the pack by prohibiting smoking in most city-owned outdoor spaces, such as parks, waterfronts, and monuments. But how far are we willing to go to avoid the potential risks of second-hand smoke?
The first is the issue of secondhand smoke.
The second is that cigarette butts are a form of litter. Since most smokers prefer to drop their butts on the ground, ban advocates argue that the best way to keep the streets clean is to ban smoking altogether. There have also been efforts to ban smoking in parks, due to the fact that cigarettes pose a major wildfire risk if not disposed of properly.
The third argument for outdoor bans is that non-smokers should not have to be subjected to the image of someone smoking in public. Many parents would prefer that their children not be exposed to the sight and smell of people smoking cigarettes.
They feel that smoking instead should, like alcohol, be permitted only in non-public spaces. Finally, outdoor smoking ban advocates argue that they are doing society — and ultimately the smokers themselves — a favor by banning the act.
The theory is that if smokers are sufficiently discouraged from lighting up in public, they will be more likely to quit and, therefore, avoid developing a smoking-related illness. Society also benefits because our health care system will spend less money on treating preventable illnesses caused by smoking.
Arguments Against A Public Smoking Ban But not everyone is enamored with the idea of prohibiting smoking in all public areas. Many people, including a sizeable number of non-smokers, are opposed to the idea of banning outdoor smoking on philosophical grounds.
Cigarettes are, after all, perfectly legal to buy and smoke in the United States. Some also believe that banning smoking in public could push our society down a slippery slope of behavioral control laws.
But where exactly does that line of thinking end? A recent study found that there was virtually no elevated health risk for people exposed to secondhand smoke in outdoor areas. This lack of scientific proof is cited by opponents who argue that outdoor smoking bans are more about stigmatizing and banishing smokers in a punitive manner than protecting public health.
While there is ample evidence that being in a smoky indoor space exposes you to carcinogens, the same cannot be said about outdoor secondhand smoke. Furthermore, non-smokers choose to put up with many other types of pollutants when they go outside.
In many cities, carbon monoxide from car emissions is the far more prevalent — and similarly toxic — air pollutant, yet nobody has proposed a blanket ban on cars. The theory is that if smoking becomes socially stigmatized to the point of invisibility, more people will make the decision to quit, and fewer young people will choose to take up the habit.
The main flaw with this Pavlovian approach to quitting is that smoking is not merely a personal choice — rather, it is motivated by an addiction to nicotine, which has proven to be one of the most difficult drugs in the world to quit.
While the goals of smoking ban advocates are well-intentioned, simply outlawing behavior has never been the most effective strategy for getting people to quit their stubborn addictions. A typical smoker who is no longer allowed to smoke in a park on his lunch break will, on average, find the nearest alleyway to smoke in.
If anything, they force smokers to cling to their addiction even more tightly, safely out of public view.
At their worst, outdoor bans increase the alienation smokers feel without helping them gain any control over their addictions. The most productive and compassionate approach to the public health issue of smoking is to treat smokers as addicts rather than willful nuisances.
Cessation techniques that focus on psychologically overcoming nicotine addiction, such as hypnotherapyhave produced better long-term outcomes than laws designed to banish smokers from public view.Smoking, in the United States, is ruled entirely by individual state laws, as the United States Congress has not yet enacted any nationwide federal ban.
The following article debates on whether smoking should be banned in public places or not. Follow Us: One of the facts is that smoking in public spaces influences non-smokers.
State Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars United States, called for enacting laws eliminating smoking in public places and worksites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC); because this objective was not met by , it was retained for Healthy People (renumbered as TU).
- Teenage Smoking: Teenagers Should Not Smoke Teenagers should not smoke because smoking is the most preventable cause of death in America today, especially among teenage smokers. Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer. Find out if smoking in public places, including outdoor areas, should be banned.
On the one side people claim that smokes bothers non-smokers, even if it is outdoors. Should smoking be banned in public places, even in outdoor areas? Vote and explain your views. Smoking in public places also endangers people who have respiratory ailments (ground).
Recent studies show that almost (qualifier) 80% of those who ingest secondhand smoke from public smokers have a higher risk of getting respiratory problems than smokers themselves (data).
5 reasons to ban smoking in public places 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. Jun 12, · The government is banning all smoking from public places and most office buildings have banned smoking to. Here are three reasons that we need a ban on cigarette smoking. Cigarette smoke is very harmful to non-smokers. Smoking, in the United States, is ruled entirely by individual state laws, as the United States Congress has not yet enacted any nationwide federal ban. The following article debates on whether smoking should be banned in public places or not. Follow Us: One of the facts is that smoking in public spaces influences non-smokers.
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