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Banning Smoking in Public Places Essay, English Composition Writing on Banning Smoking in Public Places
An Argumentative Essay about Banning Smoking in Public Places
“A smoking section in a bar or restaurant is like having a peeing allowed section in a public swimming pool—it spreads” (Boase). Although this quote is comical, it is a very good illustration of why smoking in public should not be acceptable. Smoking should be banned in all public places and should only be allowed in people’s own homes. Not only is smoking annoying for non-smokers, but it carries many big problems with it. According to Barbeau, Osinubi, Sorensen, and Williams, for every seven smokers who die from smoking, at least one non-smoker dies from cigarette smoke (27). Smoking in public should be banned because of the environmental and economic factors, health risks to others, and the negative affects it has on children.
Cigarettes have a large affect on society in the area of environmental problems it carries with it. Smoking obviously pollutes the air and it definitely causes a lot of litter. People who smoke usually throw their butts anywhere such as out a car window, in someone’s yard, or even in stream. If you were to drive around for fifteen minutes you would probably see at least five people throw a butt out of their window. Litter from cigarette butts is such a big problem because they take 18 months to 10 years to biodegrade, and “according to Keep American Beautiful, Inc., smokers litter about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts yearly” (“Cigarette Butt Litter”). It is clear to see how this litters keeps adding up overtime. Not only are the cigarette butts ugly to look at, they adversely affect wildlife. Cigarettes are made to trap the carcinogenic agents in cigarette and when they are thrown on the ground those substances make their way into aquatic ecosystems which could be a threat to the quality of water. Also, there have been cigarette butts found in the stomachs fish and birds because they think that they are food (“Cigarette Butt Liter”). Another way this could affect the environment is that cigarette butts can cause fires. Any cigarette butts thrown onto a dry land, such as leaves, is a potential fire. In fact, “as many as 1,200 grass and bushfires each year are attributed to cigarettes” (VLAA - Cigarette Butt Litter Statistics). These fires can cause millions
There are also the economic problems that come with smoking in public. In this country, we spend enormous amounts of money on healthcare to treat things that are preventable. According to Haustein, “in 1993, the USA medical care expenditures attributable to smoking were estimated to be US$ 50 billion” (237). This is a lot of money to be spent on something that could be avoided. Something needs to be done because these numbers are showing no signs of going down. In fact, over the next ten years the U.S. health spending growth is actually expected to exceed the economic growth rate (Barbeau, et al. 6). In addition to economic problems to society as a whole, smoking can cause economic burden on families. Cigarettes are expensive and in some families they are one of the top priorities. Many times people are more worried about buying cigarettes than they are about buying food and I can not be the only one that thinks there is something wrong with that picture. The majority of smokers live below the poverty line so they obviously do not need the added expense of buying cigarettes, which are not cheap by any means (“Demographics of tobacco use”). By not allowing smoking in public, people would be forced to cut down on their smoking and, in turn, would be saving money.
I am sure that most, if not all, smokers are aware of some of the health risks that come with smoking cigarettes, but I do not think that they know how serious the risks can be. Smoking has such an affect on the lungs that 85% of all cases of lung cancer would be preventable if smoking was given up (Haustein 85). Although most people know that they are harming their self by smoking, they may not be aware of the negative effects on the people around them. Many people who smoke say that restricting smoking in public would be taking away their freedom, but in reality smoking in public takes away non-smokers’ right to breathe fresh air. Passive smoke, or second hand smoke, has very negative health effects on those exposed to it. Studies show that second hand smoke causes pre-mature deaths in non-smokers from lung cancer and heart disease (Bauer 705). In fact, in 2000 “an estimated 62,000 non-smokers died prematurely from heart disease and another 3,000 died from lung cancer because of exposure to SHS [second hand smoke] at work or in other social environments” (Barbeau 27). This demonstrates the enormous effect that second hand smoke has on non-smokers. Even in areas that are supposed to be non-smoking sections are not actually smoke free. Akbar-Khanzadeh of the Archives of Environmental Health journal notes that “studies revealed the patrons dining in and employees working in designated nonsmoking sections of a smoking restaurant/bar were not completely protected against ETS [environmental tobacco smoke] related air contaminants” (677). Numerous studies show that in areas that have already banned public smoking there has been decreases in health problems associated with passive smoking. According to Bhattacharya, one of these studies showed the installation of a smoke-free policy is a U.S. town immediately began cutting the number of heart attacks and will have long-term benefits.
The most serious problem with smoking in public is the negative affects it has on children. Children are the future so instead of polluting their bodies we should be doing everything we can to keep them healthy. Smoking can begin affecting children before they are even born. If the mother is exposed to second hand smoke there is an increased risk of birth defects. In fact, in numerous studies smoking was shown to increase the risk of birth malformations such as cleft lip/palate, clubfoot, and limb reduction defects (Haustein 228). Not only can the smoke cause birth defects, but it can actually cause death to unborn babies. Out of 1,200-2,200 cases of sudden infant death syndrome per year, 22-41% of the cases are a result of exposure to tobacco smoke (Haustein 225). When children are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke they face an even higher chance of health problems than do adults. Contrary to adults, “the nervous, respiratory and reproductive systems of young children are not fully developed and growing fast making these systems vulnerable” (Polanska et al. 87). Being that children have smaller lungs, it takes less smoke than it would take an adult to do the same amount of damage. There is a growing amount of evidence that points to the fact that childhood exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has negative effects on lung functions (Smoking and Health: New Research 164). This is especially true for children who have asthma. Exposure to second hand smoke causes asthma attacks and increases the symptoms of the asthma. The EPA estimates that as many as 200,000 to 1,000,000 children who suffer from asthma have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke (Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Children). One more way in which smoke affects children is the affect it has on their ability to learning. Secondhand smoke, even at extremely low levels is toxic to the brain and affects its development. Even though many people are not aware of this, it is a very serious problem and it affects more children than one might think. It is disturbing but true that, “more than 21.9 million children are estimated to be at risk of reading deficits because of secondhand smoke” (Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Children). It is hard enough for children to learn as it is so we should not do things that will hinder their abilities. Children imitate what they see their parents and others around them doing, so smoking around them is dangerous to their health now and potentially even more in the future if they start smoking themselves.
Smoking should be banned once and for all in all public areas. Smoking negatively affects our society through environmental problems, economic problems, health risks to others, and especially health problems it cause within children. There is no logical reason to smoke cigarettes and doing so does not benefit anyone in any way. Smoking in public is the same as driving drunk because both endanger the lives of innocent people who choose not to engage in the reckless behavior. The only difference is that with smoking the affects are not visible immediately because it has long term affects. Banning smoking in public will ultimately increase the quality of life and in turn will better society as a whole.
Essays About Banning Smoking in Public Places
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