Smoking In Public Places Pros And Cons Essay Topic

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Debate: Ban on smoking in public places

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Should smoking be banned in public places?

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Background and context

For many years, governments have tried to reduce smoking by taxing tobacco, running advertising campaigns and putting warnings on packets. Recently, several countries have also restricted the areas in which people may smoke. Most bans apply only to enclosed places (meaning inside buildings, e.g. shops, restaurants, bars, offices, theaters, trains, bus shelters etc).
Smoking is banned in all or most enclosed public places in South Africa, New Zealand, Italy and the Republic of Ireland. There are similar bans in the American states of California and New York. Smoking in enclosed public places was recently banned in Scotland. It will become illegal in the rest of the UK in 2007. In England and Wales, pubs that do not serve food can continue to choose to allow smoking. Bans on smoking in public places in the open air (e.g. parks, streets) are less common. Smoking is banned in some streets in Tokyo (Japan). Smoking near the entrances of buildings is banned in some parts of Australia, Canada and the USA. The proposition must define this motion clearly. They must state whether they would ban smoking in all public places, or only in enclosed public places. They must also make it clear if there would be any major exceptions to the ban (e.g. pubs that do not serve food, private clubs open only to members). However, this debate often works best if the proposition do not introduce lots of exceptions.

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Workers: Are workers in smoky public places being wronged?

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Yes

  • Many workers can't simply quite an unhealthy, smoky work environment. Opponents of a ban often argue that employees at smoking institutions can simply get another job at a non-smoking institution, and thus such workers are voluntarily subjecting themselves to being "passive smokers". Yet, are they really freely making this choice? Many supporters of a smoking ban posit that a job is not something that is easily replaceable. There are many factors that may limit a workers ability to freely shift jobs like 1)Job-markets are tight. 2)A worker's family depends on a worker's income from a job. 3)The time (and therefore money) required of an employee to find another job is limited. 4)Other job opportunities are less lucrative (frequently the case in service industries such as bars, clubs, and restaurants), and so the ability or reasoned-impetus to "choose" a different job is heavily constrained.
Thus, if a worker's ability to find a job at a non-smoking institution is constrained, their ability to "choose" is also constrained. With limitation to their ability to "choose", workers' inhalation of second-hand smoke becomes somewhat involuntary. They may very well know that their "passive smoking" is harmful to them and desire that things were otherwise, but calculating the limitations and constraints which I just said on their finding another job are too great, and so they bear "passively smoking" despite the personal harm. In this way, smoking in public places violates the liberties of the workers in these environments, who have no full recourse to alternative employment options.
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No

  • Workers can choose to work at non-smoking institutions. It can be argued that, if a worker objects to inhaling second hand smoke involuntarily at their work place, that they can choose to work somewhere else. There are many careers that people choose to partake in that involve substantial risk or inherent bodily or mental harm or strain. These include:
  1. Military service.
  2. Coal-mining.
  3. Heavy labor jobs such as farming, moving, and heavy manufacturing.
  4. Sewage-cleaning.
  5. Sky-diving instruction.
  6. Certain monotonous desk-jobs can also be argued as mentally and physically damaging.
  • Smoky work environments are not different that other harmful lines of work. Various forms of physical, mental, tangible, and less tangible forms of harm are frequently involved in the jobs that workers choose to perform. Yet, these harms are often accepted as meaningful sacrifices that workers are free to take-up when they deem these harms to be outweighed by the benefits of such employment. As long as their ability is maitained to calculate such benefits and costs and make a free "choice" to stick with such a job, then the arrangement could be argued as just. If workers in smoke-filled environments are free to make such calculations of costs and benefits, then it can be argued that their arrangement is fair, and that cigarette bans in such public environments should not be required on this basis.

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Choice: Do victims of second-hand smoking have no choice?

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Yes

  • Is it wrong to say that people choose to smoke passively. In many places, there are no non-smoking bars or restaurants. Unless people refuse to go out with friends who smoke, they cannot avoid passive smoking. People who work in smoky workplaces like bars often do not freely choose this and sometimes there are no other jobs are available for them. In most countries, safety standards do not allow workers to be exposed to unnecessary danger, even if they agree. Workers should not be exposed to other people’s smoke, since they may not have made a free choice to do so.
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No

  • People can leave smoking areas to avoid harm. Society accepts that adults can decide to harm themselves to some extent, so long as they do not harm others. This is why the proposition is not arguing that people should be banned from smoking in private. Passive smokers do choose to breathe in other people’s smoke. If they do not want to smoke passively, they do not need to go to places where smoking is allowed. There is therefore no reason to ban smoking in public. [1]
  • The demand for non-smoking bars has been low. Non-smoking bars are rare in the United States. This suggests that culture is accepting of people who smoke in bars. It is the norm for Americans to drink beer and smoke. Most people who go to bars must not mind smoke that much. If they did, they would not go. While for some non-smokers, the presence of smoke may be bothersome, but it is usually not a dealbreaker. [2]
  • Workers are free to choose to quit a smoky, unhealthy working environment. Workers should be allowed to choose to work in dangerous conditions. This is accepted for jobs like mining, fishing and the armed forces. Individuals decide that they are better doing this work than not having a job at all.
  • Ventilation fans can remove most smoke (see below).
  • A complete ban is not necessary to give people a choice. A person should have a choice to go into a non-smoking restaurant or a non-smoking section of a restaurant. It should remain optional. Restaurants are currently required by most states to require a non-smoking section. A ban would be unnecessary at this point.

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Protecting non-smokers: Is a ban necessary to protect non-smokers?

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Yes

  • Public smoking ban protects health of non-smokers. Scientists have agreed that smoking is dangerous as tobacco smoke causes cancer, strokes and heart disease. Smoking does not just harm the smoker. It also harms people nearby, who breathe in the smoke. This kind of smoking is called passive smoking. Smokers choose to smoke, but people nearby do not choose to smoke passively. Most argue that people should only be exposed to harm if they understand the risks and choose to accept them. A complete ban on smoking in public is needed to protect people from passive smoking. Research suggests that partners of smokers have an increased chance of developing lung cancer, even if they do not use tobacco products. It is estimated that passive smoking kills approximately 80 000 people in the EU alone every year. (Brussels estimates that 15% of all deaths in the EU could be attributed to smoking.)
  • Public smoking ban protects rights of non-smokers. One's freedom to swing one's fist ends where someone else's nose begins. Similarly, the right to smoke ends exactly where it comes into conflict with the lungs, nasal passages, and health of others. Public places are such a place and - for example - non-smokers account for 70% of EU population. Therefore, in order to maintain the rights of non-smokers, smoking in public places should be banned.
  • Smokers can/should smoke in private places, not in public. Many smokers excuse their public smoking on the grounds that they don't have anywhere to smoke. However, there's their private property and homes. Why not smoke there?
  • Only 15% of the smoke is consumed by the smoker.Approximately 85% is breathed in by people who do not want to have it in their system.
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No

  • If you dont like smoking or smokers then just leave. There are plenty of places ware there is no smoking allowed, especially lately. You can't smoke at work, you cant smoke in bars and so it is getting harder and harder to find places to smoke in public. So I don't see why people are putting up a big fuss about the whole thing.

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Quick Fact
The first recorded ban on smoking was enforced in 1590 by Pope Urban VII. He stated that if any individual was found or caught smoking near the premises of the Church, he/she would be excommunicated.


Smoking has been around for longer than we can imagine. It used to be a status symbol and a power stick. A cigarette in the hand was a way of intimidating others. Movies have always shown the protagonists smoking away, while they deal with something important. Even in real life, ask a smoker, they would say that smoking helps them clear the clutter in their mind and calms them. However, a non-smoker would easily huff it off saying "It's all in the mind". Well, which side is right, and which is wrong? The ones who count smoking as a social evil will wholeheartedly embrace the ban, to save the big picture. However, smokers, will simply put it off, and find another way to smoke. They know the health hassles it causes, but still choose to smoke. Do you think imposing a ban can stop them?

Then, why is it that every few years there is a smoking ban in order and several "No Smoking Zones" are created? Discotheques stop allowing their patrons to smoke in the premises, and cafés create larger areas for their smoking clientèle. Does the ban seem to work in such cases? Does it seem to make a positive impact on the society? Or is the impact disguisedly negative? Let's take a peek into the issue by checking out some of the pros and cons of banning smoking.

Smoking Ban - What is it?


Smoking bans, also known as smoke-free laws, are public policies adopted by the government that disallow or prohibit the smoking of tobacco at public places. Public places, in general, include places such as roads, parks, squares, beaches, theaters, restaurants, public transport, and so on. Moreover, the policy of smoking ban also covers workplaces.

Numerous countries have adopted this policy till date, and several people have voiced their varied opinions about the same. The underlying fact, however, is that it is very difficult to land up on a firm conclusion on whether or not such bans should be imposed, and if yes, then to what extent. Nevertheless, the imposition of smoking bans has been in practice since the late 16th century, and the world has seen several pros and cons of these policies.

The Pros


The ban on smoking, especially in the public places has several pros. Some of the more prominent ones are as under:

Health Benefits


• A recent study showed that smoking bans imposed in public places and workplaces, resulted into lesser instances of deaths and hospitalizations due to respiratory problems, heart attacks, and cancer.

• The policy is extremely beneficial to the nonsmokers, who happen to inhale the secondhand smoke and thus, breathe in the same substances as the smokers. This exposes even the nonsmokers to the smoking-related health hazards in the future.

• Smoking retards the growth of a fetus, and leads to increased chances of premature births. The same effect is also seen in case of the nonsmokers, exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke. Thus, smoking bans not only lower the percentage of premature deliveries, but also help in the promotion of values regarding health from the early stages of life.

Helps to Quit Smoking


• When a government imposes smoking ban as a law, it automatically reduces the number of cigarettes that an individual smokes per day.

• According to a research, a person's body craves for nicotine when he/she inhales a specific amount of tobacco on a regular basis. Under a smoking ban, this very rate of tobacco inhalation reduces, and with it, reduces the craving of a person to smoke.

• In some cases, the reduction in the need of smoking is so high that an individual considers to quit smoking, and he/she can do it easily because now, he/she can live comfortably without it.

• Also, a smoking ban makes it more and more difficult for the smokers to find places, where they can go and smoke. This inconvenience that is caused to them, may also many times make them give up their habit.

Lesser Influence on Others


• Smoking is, many a time, seen as a status symbol, and some people, especially teenage kids, deem the habit to be extremely stylish.

• The reduction in the amount of smoking, and of the number of smokers that takes place as an effect of the smoking ban, would result in much lesser chances of the non-smokers getting influenced by the smokers, and entering into the habit.

• Thus, a smoking ban may lead to lesser number of new smokers because smoking under a ban would seem like an unwanted and an illegal thing to do.

Saves Money


• A smoking ban leads to a much lesser amount spent of smoking. This saves a lot of money both, of the individual as well as of the state.

• On the individual level, money is saved as lesser (or no) cigarettes are purchased. This money may, in turn, be utilized for some other productive purposes.

• According to the Center for Disease Control the government incurs an average of $16 after every single pack of cigarettes smoked, with regards to lower productivity and increased number of health issues. Smoking bans may help decease, if not completely eliminate, these costs.

Decreases Pollution and Fire Hazards


• The smoke that is exhaled by an individual while smoking, contains harmful substances that pollute the air around. The people who inhale these substances through the air, become prone to respiratory troubles as well as other forms of illnesses.

• Moreover, sometimes these substances also affect things such as furniture, clothing, and so on. Their deterioration speeds up in many of such cases.

• Risks due to fire are also lessened to a large extent due to smoking bans. Fire is a risk when more and more people smoke because we are surrounded by innumerable flammable materials such as oil, wood, plastic, rubber, paper, etc. If a smoker forgets to extinguish his cigarette after smoking, chances of these materials, and many more, catching fire that may lead to fatalities, are extremely high. The ban may aid in curbing such chances.

The Cons


In spite of the numerous pros that the smoking ban has, a large number of people choose to opt against the policy and argue in favor of smoking. The following are some of the cons of the ban:

Economic Impact


• It is the hospitality industry that the smoking ban seems to affect the most. People who smoke, are often major patrons of cafés, bars, and restaurants, and the number of these patrons tends to diminish when a smoking ban is imposed.

• The reduction in the number of patrons would earn them lesser profits, thus leading to financial difficulties. Moreover, if these difficulties go on increasing by the day, some of the businesses might also consider permanent closure.

• In such cases, the risk of more and more employees losing their jobs is elevated. Also, the job market would, in turn, generate much lesser jobs, leading to a rise in unemployment.

• The government earns a lot of revenue through the sale of tobacco and cigarettes. The ban results in a major drop in this revenue.

Personal Right


• It has been argued that imposing a smoking ban is against the 'freedom of choice'. Some people opine that it is okay to do anything one wants as long as he/she is not hurting the others in the process.

• Some have proposed that nonsmokers, in order to avoid inhaling the smoke, may prevent themselves from going to places that allow smoking. However, this is not always possible.

• Moreover, banning only smoking as a potential health hazard seems a little absurd as there are some other substances as well (drugs, alcohol, etc.), which pose similar, or rather much greater health hazards.

Difficult to Implement


• Though a smoking ban may seem like a brilliant idea to control the potential dangers, it is not always easy to implement at all places.

• Many times, it is extremely difficult for businesses to disallow their patrons from smoking in their premises, especially if the patrons insist on the same.

• Furthermore, isolated areas such as washrooms, where people might secretly smoke, cannot be monitored all the time.

• Also, if it is a small or a new business, it may not afford to lose its clients because of the ban. After all, it all about survival. In such cases, the ban loses its purpose.

While we can all have and foster our own opinions on this controversial topic, one has to keep the bigger picture in mind. While in the short run, the ban seems to have certain cons, in the long run, it will only benefit the society and humanity on the whole. So, if you are a smoker, and against the ban as a matter of principle, rethink. The smoking ban is here, and here to stay. The best that you can do, is to get used to it.

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