Every year people all over the world start to smoke. Although they know how unhealthy their choice is, the number of smoking people has not stopped increasing. Nobody else can control whether or not a person chooses to smoke, other than themselves, of course. They choose to start with this highly addictive habit, likely without considering the consequences. But what about all the other people around them? Does anyone care about them? When a person smokes in a public place, the smoke travels and affects the humans around them negatively. But they have no other choice. So my question is: Should smoking be banned in all public places?
To understand this problem we should first look at what smoking causes to a human body. It causes: more than ten types of cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which is a disease which makes it very difficult to breathe; heart disease; stroke; asthma; and newborns can have serious health complications if the mother smokes while she is pregnant; diabetes; loss of vision; and the list goes on. The truth of the matter is that no matter how much you smoke, you’re subjecting yourself to potential issues for nearly every organ in your body.
Not only is it bad for the smoker themself to smoke in a public place, but it is also bad for the people around them since smoke is very diffusible and will spread in a room and affect whoever is in it. This is called “secondhand smoke”. When someone smokes a cigarette most of the smoke does not go to their lungs but goes into the air, causing “secondhand smoke” for anyone who is around it. Secondhand smoking increases the chance of getting diseases by 30%.
In the past years, smoking has been banned multiple times but has never become permanent.
In the year 1590 Pope Urban VII banned taking tobacco in any ways possible, “in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose”, but this ended in 1724.
Sultan Murad IV took over the Ottoman Empire in 1623, and in 1633 he banned tobacco from his empire. This ban was lifted by Ibrahim the Mad.
Hitler banned smoking in German universities, government buildings, and Nazi party offices. After 1942, restaurants weren’t allowed to sell cigarettes to female customers.
The freedom of choice is obviously an important right and so it is not for the government nor any third party to decide if you can or cannot smoke, once you are of a responsible age where you can logically evaluate your choices. However, when your choices affect people around you, it should no longer be your choice to make. There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoking.
Nevertheless, banning smoking in public would likely lead to an unprecedented increase in smoking at home. There is a saying that goes “monkey see monkey do”, which means that people imitate the actions of others as they see it in their daily lives. Considering this statement, one could assume that consistently smoking around family members, especially younger children, would make them consider it as a normal habit. A recent study by the Cancer Prevention and Control Program said, “the longer adolescents are exposed to a parent’s smoking, the more likely they are to begin smoking”. It also showed the startling result that 70% of these adolescents had already at least experimented with cigarettes. Evidently, in the last decade, we have substantially increased our knowledge of the dangers of smoking yet many still choose to subject themselves to these risks without intervention. However, when what people choose to do affects others, I truly believe it is the responsibility of not just the government but of the general public to interject. For instance, the government could raise cigarette prices significantly so that people can still buy them but not as many.
We could help educate those around us as well as help those already addicted to smoking. Regardless, upon further consideration, I think our collective society could decrease the amount of smoking in general, rather than simply in public so as to decrease the negative effects on the community as a whole.
Pros for banning smoking in public areas:
People who smoke in public portray a bad example, specially for children who often look up to adults and imitate them not knowing the difference between right and wrong.
It will promote a healthier lifestyle for everyone, and it will show that the government discourages people from smoking and cares about the health of the citizens.
It won’t affect the people around smokers if it was banned making everything around that area and other places a healthier and a more breathable environment.
It won’t encourage the kids or our younger generation today to start smoking, helping them from an early risk of lung cancer or other illnesses.
It will help preventing a possible fire caused by a cigarette or a lighter.
Cons for banning smoking in public:
It is worse for someone to be in a private property with two chain smoking parents than an occasional moment in public.
In conclusion we are convinced that smoking should be banned in public places for everybody’s physical and psychological benefit. However, arguably more important is the need to decrease smoking everywhere, not just in public. Our essay proves the fact that smoking to any extent, anywhere is dangerous to at least one person. Our priority as a society should be to decrease smoking all together, and this will require much more time and effort from everyone involved.