The debate about banning smoking in all public places still happens not just in America but also in many countries around the world. However, most countries have imposed restrictions on smoking in general. This is still a very topical discussion and it is important to reflect on this issue and resolve it. Let us take a look at both sides of the story.
Arguments Not in Favor of Banning Smoking in Public Places
The Smoker’s Choice
Those who are against this law say that it is a violation of their basic human right. They strongly believe that irrespective of what the law and the doctor say, it is still up to the individual. Its supporters say they are not harming anyone else. What happens to them is their problem. The argument is: it is my body, I decide what to do with it.
Smoking in someone else’s home without their permission is wrong. But public places, according to them, is not one person’s private space. It is open to one and all. So, banning smoking in all public places is illegal. They say that rather than prohibiting smoking totally, there should at least be smoking and non-smoking sections in public places.
Freedom to Choose
The primary issue boils down to freedom of choice versus health issues. If women can choose whether to have an abortion or not, why should there be restrictions on smokers? Smokers point out that banning smoking in all public places are acts of discrimination.
Arguments in Favor of Banning Smoking in Public Places
Smoking Poses a Health hazard
Those in favor of a total ban of smoking in public places have their own reasons. The most important argument raised by these people is with regard to their concern that smoking poses a health hazard for both the smoker as well as all the non-smokers who are around him / her. They passionately argue that the idea that smoking only affects the smoker is completely untrue. Those who inhale secondhand smoke are just as susceptible to being affected adversely. In fact, some studies have shown that secondhand smoke is much worse.
Not Against Human Rights
Those who are pushing for a total ban point out that this move is not going against human rights. The freedom that one can exercise is only good up to a certain point. That point is when it starts to hurt people. That’s why banning smoking in all public places is necessary. Public safety cannot be compromised in the name of asserting an individual’s right to exercise his / her choice.
Problems with Smoking Areas
Proponents also think that designating separate smoking areas will not work. After all, air moves around! Restricting smokers to one area might lessen the smell. But when the air moves around, the same toxins will still be there. It will only be a matter of time before it gets to the non-smoking area.
As stated, anti-smokers will point to the heath hazards it poses. All government officials, it has been pointed out, should take the steps to protect their constituents. This includes limiting smoking. If you want to smoke, why not do it in your home? Why should they do it in parks or restaurants where it can make people extremely sick?
Some might be wondering why not ban cigarettes altogether? Passing a law declaring the sale of cigarettes as illegal will not solve the problem. One needs to think of the Prohibition in the 1920s. It only drove the business underground.
The matter of banning smoking in all public places will continue to be hotly debated. With health now a government concern, it seems more likely that further restrictions will be set.