For a long time, many people have had different views about smoking in public places. Smokers feel it is their right to smoke where and when they want. On the other hand, non-smokers feel that smokers violate their rights and endanger their lives. Smoking causes heart disease, lung cancer, and other serious illnesses. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer.
A substantial number of lung cancers that occur in non-smokers can be attributed to involuntary smoking. However, there are some parts of the United States where smoking is allowed in public places. In contrast, in New York, smoking is only allowed in designated areas. Despite some people feeling that smoking in public places is their right, smoking in public places should be banned because second-hand smoke endangers non-smokers’ health. Smokers may feel that they have the right to smoke in public places, but this right should be taken away. Restaurants and businesses should be allowed to set their own smoking rules based on customer demand. However, businesses may experience a decrease in customers if they do not allow smoking, especially bars and restaurants. The workplace is also a problem for smokers, as they must now go outside even in the winter to smoke, whereas they used to be able to smoke inside.
A strong supporter of smokers’ rights is Democratic Assemblyman Dick Floyd, who wanted to vote for a controversial smokers’ rights bill. He feels it is not a smoking bill; it merely protects people who use legal substances, such as tobacco and alcohol, in their homes from job discrimination. However, smoking in public places is a danger to non-smokers’ health due to passive or second-hand smoke. The public does not realize the significant hazards of passive smoking. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stated that second-hand smoke is the third major cause of lung cancer in the United States.
The simple separation of smokers within the same airspace may reduce exposure to passive smoke, but does not eliminate it. In Arizona, 5,600 Americans died in 1989 due to passive smoke. A recent report by the federal Environmental Protection Agency highlighted the dangers of secondhand smoke, which kills 53,000 non-smokers annually. Implementing a smoke-free policy sends a strong message about protecting health. However, designated areas for smokers do not fully protect non-smokers.
The heating and air conditioning systems do not filter out carcinogens well enough, and the smoke drifts onto non-designated areas. If public smoking remains legalized, we will face major environmental problems. One issue is that many people are irritated by tobacco smoke. General C. Everett Knoop released a report stating that passive smoking, when non-smokers breathe smoke in an enclosed area, causes as many as five deaths a year.
Smoking in a public place is an air pollutant and can damage health in a number of ways. The four major health hazards are air, water, and noise pollution. Air pollution can lead to various forms of respiratory disease. The main problem with smoking in a public place is indoor air pollution.
Some of the problems that result in indoor air pollution are building ventilation that has been reduced to conserve energy, resulting in inadequate ventilation. Combustion byproducts from smoking tobacco produce substances, including smoke, that contaminate indoor air. The problem affecting a person in a contaminated environment may result in coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, muscular aches, chills, headaches, fever, and fatigue. To solve this issue, we must have extra ventilation and designate areas in public places if necessary.
Although some claim that smoking in a public place is their right and should be kept that way, smoking in public places should not be legalized because it endangers non-smokers from passive smoke and pollutes our environment. The state of New York will continue to restrict smoking to designated areas. Cigarettes are the most deadly habit, affecting the greatest number of people in the world today. A ban on public smoking would be a step towards a healthier and cleaner environment.