Smoking is a habit that has been practiced for many years. Various persons have had varying opinions regarding smoking in public areas. For smokers, because it is something that is in them, it is no huge deal where and when they smoke. For non-smokers, though, when smokers do so in public areas, it is a big concern because they fear their interests are being abused and threatened. The people who smoke view the practice as any other practice carried out as a way of relaxing or passing time. This implies that many smokers do it for a number of reasons other than addiction. For eg, to relieve stress or strain, one can smoke. On the other side, certain individuals agree that smoking in public or smoking in general should be prohibited. There are explanations that this has not occurred yet, and it is not bound to arise soon. Throughout the nation, policymakers make plenty of money from tobacco and cigarette taxes. Second, it is necessary to use revenue from taxes raised to set up social services such as parks. Finally, the cigarette sector provides numerous possibilities for jobs and is also a means of livelihood for many people.
This paper is an overview of smoking in public spaces, and it would also help to consider its consequences and how this activity is regarded by citizens and what most believe can be done. The harmful effects and effects that follow smoking are numerous, beyond the few positive effects that come with smoking. Smoking has been ranked as the leading source of health issues internationally, to begin with (Fong, 15-45). One cigarette includes more than 4000 organic compounds, according to statistics from health offices, and are the source of several health conditions, with 70 of these chemicals believed to cause cancer. Diseases such as lung cancer, respiratory diseases, asthma or bronchitis have long been linked with these substances. Reports also suggested that in the United States, around 3,000 adults suffer per year owing to lung cancer. Compared to other causes of deaths in the same region, this is a massive amount. Another UK research found that while 3,500 people are killed in traffic crashes last year, 12,000 people die from cigarette smoke consumption every year (Hudson, par. 2-6). This illustrates that smoking has the power to take away more lives than most types of health hazards, and people should be conscious of all the risks involved with smoking.
In comparison to aggressive smokers that are vulnerable to the risks of consuming cigarettes, inactive smokers bear the same fate. This is because the same chemicals found in the cigarette are inhaled by passive smokers as those inhaled by the active smoker. It has been established that passive smoking is a major cause of lung cancer to adult non-smokers. In US alone, more than 3,000 adults die each year due to involuntary smoking (Yanbaeva, par.1-5). A report from a U.S Surgeon General revealed that living with smokers increased a no smoker’s chance of developing lung cancer by 20% to 30 %. This means that both smokers and non-smokers share almost equal chances of developing health problems if they live in the same environment. Similarly, extended exposure to passive smoking is known to cause coronary heart diseases and also have adverse effects on the individual’s blood and blood vessels (Hudson, 2-6). This in the long run increases the risks of developing heart attacks. Another report indicated that heart diseases developed from secondhand smoking have been causing approximately 46,000 deaths of non-smokers. This is a number that should not be ignored and hence should sound a bell to everyone living with a smoker in the same environment. Additionally, smokers should be conscious of the health risks that they pose to those in their environment as well as themselves and should, therefore, respect them by not smoking in their presence.
Other than the health risks caused by cigarette smoking, there are other environmental risks that come with tobacco production. One of the primary effects is environmental pollution that is commonly felt through air pollution. It is through such environmental pollution that has contributed increased respiratory problems to not only adults but also children. Young children like fetus are also affected by environmental tobacco smoke if their mothers are smokers. Much of the harmful substances from the smoke reach the unborn ones through their mother’s bloodstream before they are born and through breast milk after they are born (Lawn & Rene, 10-27). Notably, the exposure of unborn children may result in miscarriages, children born with low birth weight, sudden death syndrome (SIDS), or even cot death. A majority of children born of smoking parents are prone to lung diseases in their first year of their lives and consequently poor growth compared to those from non-smokers. Also, they are prone to suffer more asthma attacks, be shorter than the average at all ages and twice likely to be obese than children of non-smokers (Yanbaeva, par.2-7). To ensure such health risks are less experienced and that innocent children do not suffer, a smoking ban is the only solution. In addition, to curb such health issues and many more, the government must introduce smoking ban to ensure that both smokers and non-smoker are well catered for.
The implementation of a smoking ban would make sure that smoking in public spaces is prohibited. This does not mean that their freedom to cigarettes would be denied to smokers, rather it will mean that they can not smoke in any venue they want. In the other hand, this could contribute to putting up smoking areas where smoke needs to go until the temptation to smoke has dropped and in the company of non-smokers does not do so. The implementation of the pattern of public smoking bans came last decade and has been significant in many countries since then. Today, 26 of the 50 states in the United States have implemented smoke-free legislation and 47.8% of people of the United States are protected by municipal or federal smoke-free laws. This is an indication of how the state as well the health department in US has taken problems that come as the result of smoke seriously. By allowing the smoking ban to be effective, the state or local government is protecting everyone from the smoking effects. This is seen as an example of public health policy since it works on multiple levels (Myers, n.d). For instance, it reduces environmental tobacco smoke, it results in the communication that smoking is unacceptable which discourages kids from adopting the habit and lastly, it helps those who wish to quit smoking quit. Smoking bans are linked with reduced ER visits. Researchers in Dublin, Ireland realized that after the introduction of a smoking ban in 2004, visits to emergency rooms had declined significantly (Callinan, 25-66). This included emergency visits due to heart related problems, asthma and breathing problems. Therefore, smoking bans are said to contribute to a boost in the overall health of people.
In conclusion, the introduction of smoking bans are said to be one of the greatest achievements that the government has had in is history. Studies have revealed that banning of smoking in public places has helped in improving worker customer relationship as well as health. You find that many communities have laws that ensure that public places, bars, restaurants and workplaces have smoking zones. This is to ensure that smokers are not stigmatized but are allowed to smoke at a designated place where they do not interfere with non-smokers. According to different studies conducted in different states, smoking bans have resulted in a drastic drop in hospital admissions. Whether smokers complain of the inconveniences which arise on the application of the smoking ban, there is no doubt that it benefits everyone whether a smoker or a non-smoker.
- Be Tobacco Free. Secondhand Smoke. Retrieved from :< http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/health-effects/secondhand-smoke/index.html>. [Retrieved on April 15, 2015]
- Callinan, Joanne E., et al. “Legislative smoking bans for reducing secondhand smoke exposure, smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption.” Cochrane Database Systems Rev 4 (2010).
- Fong, Geoffrey T., et al. “Reductions in tobacco smoke pollution and increases in support for smoke-free public places following the implementation of comprehensive smoke-free workplace legislation in the Republic of Ireland: findings from the ITC Ireland/UK Survey.” Tobacco control 15.suppl 3 (2006): iii51-iii58.
- Hudson, David L. Smoking Bans. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2008. Print
- Lawn, Sharon, and Rene Pols. “Smoking bans in psychiatric inpatient settings? A review of the research.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 39.10 (2005): 866-885.
- Myers, Wytta. How smoking Bans Save Lives. Indoor smoking bans definitely help our clothes smell better, but are they really saving lives? A few years in, all the signs point to yes. Retrieved from :< http://www.everydayhealth.com/stop-smoking/how-smoking-bans-save-lives.aspx>. [Retrieved on April 15, 2015].
- Yanbaeva, Dilyara G., et al. “Systemic effects of smoking.” Chest Journal 131.5 (2007): 1557-1566.