Smoking in public places ought to be banned as it not only affects the health of smokers but nonsmokers as well. This is because when people smoke in public places, cigarette smoke contaminates the air with its negative impacts affecting all who breathe it. Nevertheless, the number of smokers keeps rising each year despite heightened public awareness where people are adequately informed of how harmful smoking is (Bhat et al., 2015). On this note, since a person makes a personal decision of engaging in the greatly addictive habit while knowing the health risks involved, the choice of smokers ought to be respected. The government or other stakeholders should not dictate where or when smokers should smoke. Despite smoking being the choice of smokers, it should be banned in public places as it subjects even nonsmokers to its negative health effects.
Every person has the right to a harmless environment and fresh air. In this regard, smoking in public places ought to be banned as it violates such rights and results in many health risks for smokers and nonsmokers. In line with reports from the Center for Disease Control, secondhand smoke presents about 250 toxic chemicals to nonsmokers, and this encompasses over 50 that are carcinogenic (Stillman, Soong, Zheng, & Navas-Acien, 2015). Research concerning nonsmokers shows that being exposed to secondhand smoke results in about 3,500 cancer deaths over and above around 50,000 deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases every year (Stillman et al., 2015). Where smoking in public places is allowed, nonsmokers have no option apart from being secondhand smokers. Just as smokers choose to smoke, the rights of nonsmokers ought to be upheld by banning smoking in public places; it is not sensible to safeguard the rights of smokers if they are harmful to other people. However, some arguments banning smoking in public places is a violation of the rights of smokers. Most smokers are mature people and should be allowed to smoke without limitations unless they decide otherwise.
Smoking in public places presents a bad example and children may be easily attracted to it in their development stages. Children tend to copy the behaviors of grownups and sometimes fail to distinguish between right and wrong practices. On this note, they take the behavior they see being practiced freely by adults as the right thing to do. Studies affirm that 60% of the teenagers in places where people smoke in public places find it “cool” and 40% attempt it at some point (Turner et al., 2016). To prevent adult smokers from continually influencing children and increasing the number of smokers, smoking in public places has to be illegalized. Nevertheless, other than banning cigarette smoking in public places, both children and nonsmokers ought to be trained to have self-control. In this manner, they will not be easily influenced into smoking. After all, many other vices are happening within the community apart from smoking and sometimes children get to witness them.
Smoking in public places increases litter, which makes the surroundings untidy. With the increased number of smokers, cigarette butts are continually detracting from a given place’s aesthetic. Reports from the Ocean Conservancy affirm that cigarette butts contribute to about 20% of the litter collected in the course of cleanups (Bhat et al., 2015). In this regard, banning smoking in public places will go a long way to reducing litter and enhancing the beauty of environs. However, there are numerous economic gains associated with cigarettes, and banning smoking in public places will reduce the number of smokers drastically, which can render a country debilitated economically. On this note, smoking in public places should not be banned. As an alternative, the government should educate people on the proper disposal of litter. This will reduce the level of litter in the surroundings without hurting the economy.
It has been found that smoking in public places increases the number of smokers, which results in poverty intensification. Research shows that many smokers begin smoking after seeing other people doing it in public places and approximately 15% of their income is used for cigarettes (Bhat et al., 2015). This reduces the amount of money they could have used in other beneficial ways such as health care, paying school fees, and buying foodstuff. Accordingly, smoking in public places results in the rise of family violence as the non-smoking spouse will find that the other is misusing money and could resort to aggression in an effort of making them stop the behavior.
There are arguments that because it is a person’s choice and free will to become a smoker, their decision should be respected. The government and other stakeholders should not infringe on the rights of smokers by prohibiting smoking in public places. Nonetheless, irrespective of smoking being a personal decision, it subjects nonsmokers and children to its health impacts. Inhaling secondhand smoke has been established to cause approximately 3,500 cancer deaths and over 50,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases among nonsmokers every year. Since its drawbacks outweigh its benefits, smoking in public places has to be banned.
Bhat, N., Oza, S., Reddy, J. J., Mitra, R., Rahul, P., & Singh, S. (2015). Effect of anti-smoking legislation in public places. Addiction & Health, 7(1-2), 87-91.
Stillman, F. A., Soong, A., Zheng, L. Y., & Navas-Acien, A. (2015). Clear skies and grey areas: Flight attendants’ secondhand smoke exposure and attitudes toward smoke-free policy 25 years since smoking was banned on airplanes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(6), 6378-6387.
Turner, M. M., Rimal, R. N., Lumby, E., Cohen, J., Surette, A., Roundy, V., & Shah, V. (2016). Compliance with tobacco control policies in India: An examination of facilitators and barriers. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 20(3), 411-416.