Is A Public Smoking Ban The Answer?
Imagine... you come into a restaurant and are seated in the smoking area, you chose to sit in this area even though you don't smoke and you know the smoke bothers you. A smoker comes in and sits down at the booth next to you and lights up. What do you do? A) Ask the waitress for another location in the non-smoking area. B) Ask the person who just lit a cigarette to kindly put it out? Or C) Get up and leave the restaurant? For many people, this is what happens to them. When in beginning all they had to say was, 'non-smoking area please'. In recent, the idea of a public smoking ban has been tossed around. A public smoking ban would mean that you do can not smoke in places such as restaurant, bars, gas stations, etc. This could also come to mean that you are not allowed to smoke in a town period, not even in your own car as you drive through town (abcnews.com). Please don't think that smoking is not bad for your health. Let's look at what smoking can do to you.
Smoking causes many problems such as lung cancer, cancer of the larynx, oral cavity, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas (Encyclopedia Encarta 2002). It causes a fivefold increase in the risk of dying from chronic bronchitis, and emphysema and a twofold increase in deaths from diseases of the heart and coronary arteries. Smoking also increases the risk of a stroke by 50%. Mothers who smoke give birth more frequently to premature or underweight babies, probably because of a decrease in blood flow to the placenta (Encyclopedia Encarta 2002). And babies who are born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are also at an increased risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). It is a known fact that all of these aforementioned risks of smoking are widely publicized. So why is there a need for a public smoking ban? If someone goes to a bar where alcoholic drinks are served and gets drunk, it is the actions of that person who lead them to get drunk. What's next, a ban on alcoholic drinks being served at bars?
Almost every state in the U.S. has considered this idea of a public smoking ban. It's not just the government that is involved in this idea, but the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are involved in this decision as well. Currently there have been many bans issued by individual companies stating that there will be no smoking in the workplace. "Smokers are being made to feel like social pariahs", states John F. Banzhaf III, a George Washington University law professor who founded the anti-smoking group action on smoking and health (ASH) (CQ Researcher 1992). In Helena, Montana, a public smoking ban was placed and it slashed the number of heart attacks in the town by almost half (newscientist.com). Maybe this is the outcome that people are hoping...