A Proposal to Ban Smoking in Public Areas
Every year, there are over 400,000 smoking-related deaths in the United States. A large percentage of these are due to lung cancer, whose leading cause is smoking. However, not all deaths are smokers themselves. Anyone in the vicinity can fall victim to second hand smoke. These people, through no action of their own, can have their lives threatened.
This problem, which plagues all Americans, should have action taken on a local scale to help protect the health of the public. The Ames City Council is in the process of debating a city ordanince which whould ban smoking in all public places, with the exception of those designated as "smokng areas". A public place shall be defined by Subsection 142B.1(3) Code of IowaAmes City Council, Current Odrances, http://www.city.ames.ia.us/Whatsnew/smokingban.htm).
Several other methods for solving the problem of second-hand smoke have been suggested in the past. One method is to use air purifiers to clean the air. While this can remove some smoke particles from the air, even the most expensive air filtration system cannot remove all of the poisons and toxins put into the air by second hand smoke. Another solution would be to have separate rooms in which smoking is allowed, such as a lounge or parlor. This idea is also flawed, because for this to work, the rooms in which smoking is allowed would require entirely separate ventilation systems to accomplish the objective of protecting others (from the New York Times, 1/12/99, Public Smoking Ban: Alternatives?)
The need for this legislation is made obvious by statistics, as well as by example situations. As the Saskatchewan Institute on Prevention of Handicaps states on their web page about second hand some, people who are regularly exposed to second hand smoke are 50% more likely to develop lung cancer. Keep in mind, these people don?t smoke themselves, but they are still put at risk by the actions of others. The Saskatchewan Instite?s webpage goes on to state that half of all children exposed to second-hand smoke are exposed at home. While this is an important fact, its importance lies in opposite, half are exposed in places other than at home. In America 25,000 people are killed every year in car accidents, while 53,000 die from second-hand smoke (from Office on Smoking and Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr_1988/). Action must be taken to protect these people from a threat over which they have no control.
In addition to statistics, a situation to illustrate the necessity for this proposal can be considered. Imagine a family, Mom, Dad, and their three children, are going out to eat in a nice restaurant for Mom?s birthday. When the waitress asks if they?d like smoking or non-smoking, they Dad requests non, because he is concerned about his family?s health. However, the truth about this decision is that in reality, just being in the restaurant increases the...