Does smoking in public places affect the population’s health? Do smokers endanger those who do not smoke in any way? The answer for both of these questions is positive, as even passive smoking is harmful to individuals’ well-being. Tobacco use in public areas can lead to poor health outcomes in smokers and non-smokers; in addition, smokers can motivate children and young adults to develop this habit too. These facts show that smoking in public places should be banned because it causes much harm for the population of all ages, leading to poor health state and premature deaths, and is associated with negative role modeling.
Smoking in Public Places Should be Banned
The main argument that should be considered is that smoking in public places forces many individuals to become passive smokers. Non-smokers can be exposed to passive smoking when they are in the environment where some individual smokes. Passive smoking is associated with severe adverse effects on people’s health, including type 2 diabetes, lung and breast cancer, and coronary heart disease (Pan et al. 958; Macacu et al. 213).
In addition, it can lead to premature death even in individuals that do not smoke. The reason for such an impact on health is that the smoke that comes from a cigarette is toxic, and even low doses of tobacco cause risks. As smoke moves in the air, it can affect everyone who breathes it. Moreover, children and pregnant women can visit public places as well; for them, inhaling smoke can lead to asthma, respiratory illnesses, and lifelong pulmonary effects (McEvoy and Spindel 27). These facts show that it is essential to ban smoking in public areas and prevent potential risks for non-smokers and their children.
Another argument for the position is that the legislation that prohibits smoking in public places can improve the population’s health. The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that smoke-free policies can decrease deaths from heart diseases and respiratory illnesses. For example, in Scotland, the banning of smoking in all indoor areas led to improvements in the population’s health state within the following two months, especially among non-smoking bar workers (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). People working in public places reported improved quality of life, reductions in coughing and throat irritations, and better lung function.
Moreover, after smoke-free policies had been enforced, hospital admissions reduced throughout the country (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Similar studies have been performed in other countries, including the United States, England, and Ireland; all of them show the positive effect of such legislation. These facts prove that banning smoking in public places can reduce cases of related illnesses and improve the population’s well-being.
The third argument for this position is that smoking bans can help to reduce tobacco use among the population. Lipton et al. report that such laws can help people to quit smoking. The possible reason for it is that tobacco use is less accessible and appealing for individuals when smoking in public places is prohibited because the opportunities to smoke become very limited. If smoking bans are enforced, people may have to smoke at home, which can be a significant problem for their family members (Lipton et al.). As a result, individuals may decide that it would be easier to stop smoking rather than finding the opportunities to do it. It means that it is necessary to ban tobacco use in public areas to motivate the population to stop smoking altogether.
Finally, smoking in public places does not only lead to decreased well-being but can serve as negative role modeling for children and adolescents. The Department of Health & Human Services reports that young people may try smoking as a way to copy parents or other adults who use tobacco. It means that when they visit public places and see smokers, they may decide to behave similarly to appear more grown-up or gain respect among friends.
Individuals are advised to avoid smoking to prevent children from having this habit, too (Department of Health & Human Services). Although many parents are non-smokers and good role models for their children, they have no control over smokers’ actions. It means that, for non-smoking families, visiting public areas can be associated with the risks that children may become motivated to smoke. Banning tobacco use in public places can prevent exposing young people to this habit. As a result, children will not experience the adverse health effects mentioned above.
At the same time, there are several alternative perspectives on the topic that should be considered. For example, as it has already been stated, banning smoking in public places can lead to increased tobacco use at home (Lipton et al.).
This issue may result in adverse effects on smokers’ family members, as all of them, including children, may become more exposed to smoke. It means that smoke-free policies can potentially affect child health significantly and have worse effects compared to smoking in public places. Moreover, banning smoking can be considered an illiberal practice because it punishes smokers for their choices. For example, if a restaurant allows tobacco use and its personnel and visitors are aware of it and approve of such a policy, there may be no need to ban smoking. Instead, non-smokers can visit other places in which smoking is prohibited.
Although the points presented above are reasonable and should be addressed, they do not consider the fact that tobacco use in public places puts many individuals at unwanted risks. In addition, smokers may be unaware of the effects of passive smoking or not be concerned about other people’s health; non-smokers may lack awareness of the problem too. Moreover, public places should be safe for all individuals, which can be achieved through smoke-free policies. It means that it is essential to raise the population’s awareness about the impact of tobacco and suggest laws that prohibit smoking in public areas and prevent its harm to individuals’ well-being.
This paper shows that smoking in public places can lead to poor health outcomes in individuals, including cancer, premature deaths, and heart diseases. Tobacco use affects non-smokers significantly, which means that they can develop various illnesses even if they lead a healthy lifestyle. Smokers also serve as negative role models for children and young adults. Banning smoking in public places can improve the population’s general health state and encourage people to stop smoking. Although smoke-free policies have disadvantages, such as the effects on smokers’ families and the potential illiberality of this practice, their positive aspects prevail.
The possible recommendations for the government are to increase public awareness of the effects of smoking and develop policies that would protect the population’s health and well-being. Such an approach can reduce the prevalence of diseases associated with tobacco use and potentially decrease mortality rates in America.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Smokefree Policies Improve Health.” CDC.gov. 2018. Web.
Department of Health & Human Services. “Smoking – How to Discourage Your Children.” Better Health Channel, 2018. Web.
Lipton, Brandy, et al. “Smoking Bans Protect Both the Public and the Infants and Children of Smokers.” VOX, CEPR Policy Portal. 2018. Web.
Macacu, Alina, et al. “Active and Passive Smoking and Risk of Breast Cancer: A Meta-Analysis.” Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, vol. 154, no. 2, 2015, pp. 213-224.
McEvoy, Cindy T., and Eliot R. Spindel. “Pulmonary Effects of Maternal Smoking on the Fetus and Child: Effects on Lung Development, Respiratory Morbidities, and Life-Long Lung Health.” Pediatric Respiratory Reviews, vol. 21, 2017, pp. 27-33.
Pan, An, et al. “Relation of Active, Passive, and Quitting Smoking With Incident Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, vol. 3, no. 12, 2015, pp. 958-967.