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Freedom of Choice
Should smoking be banned in public places?
Member Name: kelr101
Should smoking be banned in public places?
Advantages: Are there any real advantages to smoking???
Disadvantages: Poor health, Social outcast
*Argument for a total ban*
In November 2004, The Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) reported that exposure to second hand smoke (or passive smoking - Passive smoking is defined as breathing in other people’s smoke) was a serious risk to non-smokers. They report indicated that the chances of a non-smoker contracting lung and heart disease were increased by about 24%. This estimate was derived from the overview of 37 studies and 4626 cases. According to the report and almost identical estimate was reported by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Other immediate effects of passive smoking include Headaches, nausea and eye irritation. Asthma is a major concern of passive smoker’s, especially as there is growing evidence that children of smoking parents are developing asthma due to their second hand smoke. Other more serious related illnesses include bronchitis, due to the reduced lung functions from inhaling smoke.
According to the Action on Smoking and Health Fact-sheets there are 2,700 deaths (in people aged 20-64) every year in the UK, and a further 8,000 deaths from those aged over 65, as a result of second hand smoking. (Data estimated by Professor K Jamrozik, Imperial College London).
Now stop and think. Whilst you’re enjoying a family meal with your child, in a family public house, you could be increasing your risk of contracting lung cancer by 24% and your child could be increasing the risk of developing pneumonia, or bronchitis due to the limiting lung functionality by inhaling smoker’s second hand smoke. You could be attracting the clinging fumes of smoke, the smoke that cause your clothes, hair and body to smell. You could be visiting your child in hospital as it’s estimated that over 17,000 children, under the age of 5 are admitted to hospital every year because of the effects of passive smoking. These frightening health risks are all there, because you chose to enjoy a family meal, in a family public house.
But that’s exactly one point of an argument that many non-smokers are fighting for. Why should they be subjected to second hand smoke, merely for wanting to enjoy their social time in a family orientated atmosphere? An atmosphere that is moulded and shaped towards parents and their children, promoting a happy, safe and secure environment…but what about a healthy one? People should be able to enjoy the benefits of a PUBLIC house as much as a smoker does. They shouldn’t have to live their lives in forced isolation just because their surrounding eateries, or public houses favour smokers, why should they? They have as much right as anybody else, especially when it comes to safeguarding their health.
Lets think about it some more. The disadvantages of smoking:
- Smoking stinks.
- It’s bad for your health, as reported by the SCOTH.
- Its increasingly becoming more expensive as the government continues to impose taxes on the sale of cigarettes.
- Stained teeth and hands
- Wrinkles and premature aging
- Reduced senses especially taste and smell
Why should a non-smoking be subject to these disadvantages merely for wanting to take advantage of a PUBLIC place?
*Argument against a total ban*
Despite the recent reported health risks smokers continue to exercise their free will in choosing to smoke. Most are fully aware of the risks, especially considering the current advertising on cigarette packaging, including such slogans as “Smoking kills” or “Smoking reduces fertility” etc but due to either addiction or merely enjoying smoking they will continue to do so.
Public houses are well aware of the financial benefits of remaining open to smokers. They even encourage the use of smoking by providing ash trays, dedicated floor service that empty said ashtrays, filtered air conditioning, and machines that sell cigarettes on the premises. Due to this continued history of smoking acceptance the majority of smokers are against a total ban of smoking in public places as they have been allowed to exercise their right to smoke in such areas for so long. Why should smokers be forced out into a cold wet night so as to allow a non-smoker their seating area in a crowded bar? Why should smokers be forced to find another “local” so as they can continue to exercise the freedom of choice to smoke? Why should smokers be forced to pay the increasing taxes on cigarettes when both smokers and non-smokers are benefiting from the NHS (or otherwise) expenditure these taxes allow?
Smoking is a freedom of choice, and smokers have always been allowed the relative freedom of choosing where they will smoke. This choice is now being removed causing friction, arguments and debates across the country, made more prominent due to the recent ban in Ireland.
So let’s see, are their any advantages to smoking?
- Cigarettes too many, are used as a consolation. They are used to calm down during periods of stress or as a method of winding down.
- They are used as a networking tool, especially during the working day when a social cigarette solves problems or eases work situations.
- Some use them as a dieting tool
- Others think of them as a dark pleasure – especially those who secretly smoke
Why should smokers have to give up these advantages to cater for non-smokers?
Its simple really isn’t it? We need to compromise. Neither smokers nor non-smokers are willing to forgo their rights in order to allow the other party a win, which is very fair. Why should either side back down when they both believe they are right.
We live in a free country, or we did last time I looked, a country where we are given the freedom of choice. The freedom to decide whether we want to kill ourselves smoking, or where we want to enhance our quality of life by steering clear. Wait that’s it. SMOKING IS ABOUT THE DANGER YOU DO TO YOURSELF NOT TO OTHERS.
Basically smokers continually argue that they should be allowed the right to smoke where they like and when they like as it’s their bodies their harming – but that’s not true. Every-time a smoker exhales the non-smoker sat next to him inhales it, causing damage to their lungs. Even if the non-smoker is sat on the other side of the room, in a non-smoking section, the smoke still travels through the badly air-conditioned room into their lungs.
In order to allow both parties to be satisfied with a conclusion several major changes need to be implicated.
1. Smokers need to understand that the air they breathe is shared by non-smokers – that’s an indisputable fact.
2. Extensive filter systems or air conditioning units need to be incorporated into all public houses where smoking is allowed. This will minimise the chances of exhaled smokers smoke travelling into non-smoking areas.
3. Non-smokers need to accept that some public houses are, and always will be smoker’s havens - if they insist in drinking in these then they need to realise that it may have detrimental effects of their health.
4. Family orientated public houses should be maintained, and should be non-smoking. A child doesn’t have the same choices that an adult does. They shouldn’t be forced to inhale tobacco smoke.
5. Perhaps a time ban could be introduced in public houses that serve food, whereby time limits are imposed as to when smokers can light up.
6. Separate Rooms – not areas – could be introduced for smoking and non-smoking. These of could would need to be segregated with an air filtered walkway.
Basically I don’t have all the answers and neither it seems do the government. Every adult is entitled to the freedom of choice, but this shouldn’t be at the risk of someone else.
Summary: Smoking kills