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The Effects Of Smoking Bans On Victims Of Exposure To Second Hand Smoke

1149 words - 5 pages

The Effects of Smoking Bans on Victims of Exposure to Second Hand Smoke

Exposure to second hand smoke, which for the purposes of this report will be designated SHS, poses extremely detrimental health risks for any and all individuals who consider themselves non-smokers, especially young children and pregnant women. SHS is estimated to contribute to heart attacks in nonsmokers and causes nearly 53,800 deaths in the United States alone on an annual basis.1 According to the United States Surgeon General’s report from 2010, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in this country, causing approximately 443,000 adult deaths from smoking-related illnesses ...view middle of the document...

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Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of disease (emphasis added) even in a country as sophisticated and modern as Switzerland, according to a study reported by Geospat Health in May of 2013. Lung cancer was the most common cancer mortality in men and the second most common in women.6 The study also noted smoking differences in each of the three major language/cultural regions of Switzerland, with the mortality rates higher in the French and Italian speaking regions of the country, reflecting the habits and mortality rates of both France and Italy, where smoking is much more prevalent, and the German region (which is by far the largest) having significantly lower smoking mortality rates, due to Germany’s increased anti-smoking campaigns and laws protecting citizens from SHS.7 Although not as stringent as the US laws forbidding smoking in almost all indoor spaces, Europe’s leading countries are now attempting to curb the use of tobacco products, many for the first time in their histories.
All studies have pointed to the extreme dangers SHS provides for pregnant women and children, especially adolescents. In a report published by the Center for Global Tobacco Control, it was demonstrated that efforts to curtail indoor exposure to SHS was working. The results of the study showed that the proportion of US middle and high school students who were exposed to indoor SHS actually declined from 65.5% in 2000 to 40.5% in 2009, with significant declines also being observed across all population subgroups.8 This comprehensive review also found that SHS exposure was linked not only to cancer and heart disease but to a plethora of other adverse outcomes peculiar to children, including neurologic disorders and impaired cognitive abilities.9

All relevant scientific evidence now indicates that there is absolutely no risk-free level of exposure to SHS. Only by eliminating smoking in indoor spaces can nonsmokers be fully protected from this insidious and completely preventable exposure. As seen particularly in the US, our comprehensive smoke-free policies which prohibit indoor smoking in all indoor public areas have changed social attitudes and norms as regards the acceptance of smoking in general. One only has to look at movies from the early 1930’s up to and through the 1980’s to see a dramatic change in the American culture. In these early cinematic endeavors, everyone smoked, as it was considered a glamorous and...

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