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Smoking to Be Banned in Public Places

Essay by   •  February 16, 2011  •  Essay  •  518 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,131 Views

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Public: 'of or concerning the people as a whole'. Banning smoking in public places isn't just a question of taking away one group's freedom for the benefit of another; it is something that is in the interest of 'people as a whole'. It comes down to a decision between the health of a whole nation versus the freedom of a minority.

Arguably by allowing smoking in public places it is the freedom of non-smokers that is being restricted. We choose not to smoke but by going out into a public space this choice is effectively taken away. By smoking in public the smoker is forcing everyone in the vicinity to smoke too, perhaps there should be signs everywhere reading 'public smoking area only'.

Maybe it is down to the renowned English sense of reserve but why is it always the non-smoker, the one who has committed no intrusion that has to quietly get up and move when someone next to them lights up? For years now non-smokers have had to endure the unpleasant inhaling of stale cigarette smoke or coming home smelling like the inside of a dirty ash tray and for those people that have to work under these conditions, in bars or restaurants, the situation is even more exacerbated, as they have no escape.

Perhaps most significantly is the detrimental affect that passive smoking can have on anyone's health. Passive smoking has been linked to an endless list of serious health problems ranging from bronchitis and asthma to lung cancer and heart disease and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). According to Cancer Research figures several hundred people each year in the UK die from lung cancer caused by passive smoking.

Quite apart from the enormous cost to the NHS, what is even more infuriating is that in the vast majority of cases, illnesses developed through passive smoking might have been avoided. International experience has shown that the best way to rapidly and successfully tackle health risks from second hand smoke is to take action on smoking in public places.

A ban would not only improve the lives of us non-smokers but would encourage those causing the problem to help themselves. Areas such as California where smoking in public places has been banned entirely suggest that smoke-free environments reduce both the number of smokers in the population at large and the number of cigarettes they get through.

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