There are plenty of strong reasons why smoking in public should be prohibited. In my own opinion, the negative effects of smoking to the smokers, the second hand smokers and the natural environment will be greatly reduced if smokers are not allowed to smoke in public places. Usually, smokers are allowed to smoke at the sideways, inside the restaurants, at the park, inside the malls, and many other public places where most people gather. This is very harmful to the people and to the natural environment.
Smoking needs to be strictly banned in public places. Smoking has detrimental effects to both smokers and non-smokers. It is equally harmful to the environment. Thus, smoking is a dangerous habit that a smoker should not bring to public places nor be allowed to. The society must critically understand the dangerous effects of smoking and banning smoking in public places will greatly bring this message. If the government and the private sectors will enforce prohibitive measures on public smoking, it will have positive effects on smokers, non-smokers and the general surrounding. Let us start with the smokers.
Smokers are influenced to smoke more and continue their bad habits because they have easy access and are not prohibited to use open areas. We all know that smoking can harm our bodies in many negative ways. Smoking is the culprit in their deaths. There are many hazardous elements in a cigarette. These chemicals consist mostly of 4,000 dangerous and lethal chemicals. The chemicals that make it up are tar, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. Carbon monoxide is another hazardous element that is found in car exhaust fumes. This is responsible for several diseases such as mouth cancer, throat cancer, bladder cancer, among others. Surprisingly, ammonia is also found in our floor cleaner. These substances are also very dangerous such as nicotine which turns off certain receptors in the brain such that it will release a neuro-transmitter called the dopamine. It is a so-called feel good chemical that is also seen in certain conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s diseases and attention deficit disorder.
Poor academic performance of student smokers
Student smokers are said to perform more poorly than other students, while workers who smoke marijuana are said to have more problems with work performance (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances spill over into poor ability to acquire job and social skills, poor ability to cope with emotional problems because of poor problem solving and emotional skills, and lower levels of satisfaction with life in general (National Institute on Drug Abuse, pp. 5-6). It has also been revealed that cigarette smoking also increases one’s
platelet aggregation as well as blood clotting. It has also been revealed that cigarette smoking increases the endothelium damage as well as the layer of cells that line all blood vessels, including the coronary arteries (“Environmental Tobacco Smoke, p. 1).
Once smokers are prohibited to smoke in many different places, they will be made more aware and conscious of the negative effects of smoking and they will have stronger tendency to quit smoking. They will also internalize their responsibility towards non-smokers and their environment.
Benefit of the ban on smoking
The ban on smoking will be of great benefit to non-smokers or even the second hand smokers. Besides, the non-smokers, especially those who are sensitive to the smell of smoke like people with asthma, will live in the pink of health if the environment is free from smoke. Public places contain many people and children. It is unjust if the smokers will subject them to the dangers they themselves avoid by not smoking. They certainly have a choice to breathe fresh air. Even when the smokers have also the right to smoke, this right must be contained if it harms the general welfare of the people. Hence, smoking in public must really be prohibited in order to protect the non-smokers and protect good public health.
Studies show that secondhand smoke may be the main factor that will cause others to have several major health problems. It must be remembered that this secondhand smoke has been controlled but it can irritate the human lungs. This will necessarily reduce the oxygen in the blood. It can also increase the risk of respiratory infections such as cold, flu, bronchitis (acute bronchitis), and pneumonia (Quebec Lung Association, p. 1).
Secondhand smoke does not only wreak havoc on other people but is also very dangerous to children. The effects are worst during the child’s first five years if he or she was exposed to smoking parents and/or smoking environment. The secondhand smoke will disturb the child physical and cognitive development.
There is also the 1991 report published in circulation that the evidences on the dangers of smoking are able to set epidemiological studies on the kind of diseases that are characterized because of its biggest accommodation.
Moreover, environmental balance will be maintained if the air is free from smoke and other harmful chemicals and substances brought by cigarettes. Thus, public places should be free from smoke brought by public smokers. As we all know, smoking is a cause of pollution. There is a lot of research that shows that many kinds of gases which are released by smoking and are harmful for the environment, such as tar and carbon dioxide (“Smoking in Public Places, p. 1).
According to the Quebec Lung Association (p.1), two-thirds of the smoke produced by cigarettes spreads into the open air. It is said that the smoke is seen as the pollution for indoors. It does not completely eliminate the chemicals spread unto the environment. So, even when a smoker smokes in an open space such as in the park or in the sideways, cigarette smoke is not eliminated and it could be taken back in directly into the environment or to second hand smokers. We all know that our environment is deteriorating. Banning smoking in public places will be a logical preventive measure to reduce pollution and clean the air. It is the easiest way to eliminate environmental tobacco smoke completely. The government will now be able to deal with it more effectively.
Social problems associated with smoking
Smoking can lead to belonging to gangs that are a major source of violence. Youth who encounter the socialization factors just mentioned often turn to and associate with other socially and educationally successful youth. Gangs can satisfy their unfulfilled basic needs, such as needs for a positive identity, connection to peers, and feelings of effectiveness and control. However, gangs also often promote power, violence toward out-groups, and violent action. Violence in gangs often revolvers around of territory, honor, and drugs (Durkheim).
Intervening with children before they develop in-grained antisocial behaviors is an important dimension of reducing violence in youth. Slogan campaigns and scare tactics do not work. In one successful intervention, positive Adolescents Choices Training (PACT), African American 12- to 15-year-olds learn to manage their anger and resolves conflicts peacefully (Durkheim). Through the use of culturally sensitive videotapes, students learn to give and receive feedback, control their anger, and negotiate and compromise. The videotapes show peer role models demonstrating these skills, along with adult role models who encourage the participants to practice the techniques.
The Safe Schools Act can help to foster programs such as PACT. Under the bill, schools can receive grants up to $3 million a year over 2 years to develop their own violence prevention programs. The initiatives could include comprehensive school safety strategies, coordination with community programs and agencies, and improved security to keep weapons out of the schools. To ensure that programs focus on prevention more than on enforcement, the grants allow only 33 percent of the funds to be used for metal detectors and security guards. (Ben-Yehuda, Nachman, 1985).
Interventions can reduce or prevent youth violence. Effective prevention factors include developmentally appropriate schools, supportive families, and youth and community organizations. One promising specific strategy for preventing youth from smoking is the teaching of conflict management as part of health education in elementary and middle schools (Ben-Yehuda, Nachman, 1985).
The interdiction and eradication efforts are doomed to fail if the real problem actors are not determined. But there is another enforcement strategy that can be used to accompany interdiction and eradication in order to catch these big producers and government culprits; that is, strengthening of the intelligence branch of the enforcement agencies. I think interdiction and eradication efforts could more or less succeed if we have a sharp intelligence to match it. Somehow, targeting just one market actor could lead to a multitude of seizures because a few influential people are in control.
Prohibiting smoking in public places hold a lot of promise in benefiting the smokers, the non-smokers and the general environment. It will reduce problems caused by smoking such as lung cancer which kill millions of people worldwide. It will also provide protective measures to safeguard the health of non-smokers. It will also promote a smoke free and healthy environment for all human beings and living things around us. Banning smoking in public will be the main solution to stop cigarette smoking. Government and private sectors should promote, enforce and abide by it.
- “Ban Smoking in Public.” Stop Smoking Website. 2008. Web.
- “Environmental Tobacco Smoke.” American Heart Association Website.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Marijuana Abuse: Research Report Series”. 2005. Web.
- Quebec Lung Association Website. Quebec Lung Association, Inc. 2007.
- “Smoking in Public Places” Socyberty Website. 2008. Web.
- Emile Durkheim. 1895/1982. Rules of Sociological Method. New York: Free Press.
- Ben-Yehuda, Nachman. 1985. Deviance and Moral Boundaries: Witch-craft, the Occult, Science Fiction, Deviant Sciences and Scientists. University of Chicago Press.