If there was a way you could prevent some illness, diseases and even death, wouldn’t you do it? Smoke is a proven killer, whether inhaled directly or second hand, and attempts should be made to reduce it in public places. Many would argue limiting places in which people can smoke is a violation of their rights to enjoy a legal habit. Arguing for the non-smokers, why should those who choose not to smoke have to inhale the secondhand toxins of those putting it into our environment? Where should the line be drawn between overall health and habit?
Even if you don’t smoke, breathing in someone else’s smoke can be deadly. Secondhand smoke causes about 3,000 deaths from lung cancer and tens of thousands of deaths from heart disease to nonsmoking adults in the United States each year. Secondhand smoke is a huge problem in America today. Tobacco smoke has more than 4,000 chemical compounds. At least 250 of those compounds are known to cause disease. More often than not, exposure to secondhand smoke can raise the chance that others will get lung cancer, other types of cancer, emphysema, and heart problems by 30 percent.
One of the biggest problems is smoking on a college campus. Central Connecticut State University, (CCSU) has a smoking policy that directly states, “In keeping with the University’s goal to provide a safe and healthy work environment, and in conformance with Connecticut General Statute 31-40q(d), smoking is prohibited everywhere on the campus–other than in five designated areas.” These spots around school include the football parking lot, and 4 smoking shelters that are never far away. Even though CCSU has provided these sectioned off areas, students do not follow the rule stating to stay in those sections while smoking. Every day walking outside students are seen smoking everywhere- walking to class, outside dining halls and dorms, in the parking garage, etc. As surveyed by the CDC, eight in 10 college students (83 percent) say it’s important that inside and around their living quarters are smoke and vape-free. There are places on this campus specially made for the use of smoking, so it baffles me that some smokers have such little respect for the people around them as to force non-smokers to breathe that air.
To solve this problem on campus there are various steps that need to be taken. Some variables include posting more, “NO SMOKING” signs, creating more smoking shelters, and perhaps the most important, enforcing the no smoking rule. These students know they aren’t supposed to smoke just anywhere. Yet because no one says anything to them about it, they continue to do so. If this campus started to enforce this rule and discipline the students breaking it students will be more motivated to smoke in designated spots rather than anywhere. By enforcing consequences this campus could be a clean, respectful environment.
Areas that have banned smoking have seen improvements in public health. The bans have had no negative economic side effects at all, and are in fact beneficial to the economy, because reducing smoking lowers health care costs. I personally don’t see how banning it in certain places would be a bad thing. Yet some readers may challenge my view by insisting that putting a ban on smoking in public places removes freedom of choice. Although not all smokers think alike, some would probably dispute my claim and argue that it would be denying smokers the freedom to choose a place where they can enjoy a legal habit.
Though it is understandable where they are coming from, in what world is it okay to cause disease and illness to innocent civilians walking past you on the street? If a legal aged citizen would like to choose to smoke in their home or on their property that would be fine. Save habits for home and not for public places.
I am researching this topic because half of my family smokes and half doesn’t or has quit. It is a huge topic of discussion at all family events. My aunt is a huge smoker and as a result her daughter has asthma. Smoking and secondhand smoke has affected my family so greatly so this is a topic I am quite passionate about. I believe this topic is so important to today’s society because according to the CDC, “Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are inhaling many of the same cancer-causing substances and poisons as smokers. Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion.” These facts send chills down my spine. If we can prevent this just by moving our habits elsewhere, why wouldn’t we? Smoking has been proven to have many health risks associated with it, not only for the smoker but for those around. Smoking in a person’s home or personal vehicle is one thing, but smoking in public locations including college campuses, bus stops, outside restaurants puts other people’s healths at risk.
The smoking policy in Connecticut roughly states: CT General Statute Sec. 19a-342 protects citizens from the health risk associated with secondhand smoke. The Act prohibits smoking in workplaces with 5 or more employees, all restaurants, bars, retail food stores, hospitals, nursing homes, buildings owned or leased by the state, school buildings, elevators, dormitories in public institution of higher education, etc. Not only do many smokers disregard these laws, but law enforcement also does a poor job of fining offenders. It is their job to enforce this law and maybe if it was done more people would be scared of consequence and this would be less of a problem.
It is said to not be socially acceptable to show favor or hate based on one’s beliefs, race, gender, culture, religion, lifestyle, or sexual orientation. Smoking is a part of some lifestyles and it’s something that certain people have chosen to do. Because of this, participators will argue by banning smoking on college campuses, we are banning their lifestyle and therefore, discriminating against them, which isn’t socially acceptable.
Do smoking bans limit personal freedoms? Yes- for smokers. To tell people that they aren’t allowed to engage in a legal activity in public places or on campus is to limit their rights- understood. But that leaves out a big group of people: the unwilling, innocent second-hand smokers who don’t think inhaling mouthfuls of toxins is fun. These bans protect their freedom to breathe air without sucking in pollution. For example, biting your nails is a habit. This would never be banned so why should smoking? Because sitting next to someone biting their nails in public is not dangerous. But sitting next to a smoker, or even having to walk through a cloud of smoke, is dangerous. To protect the rights of smokers is to limit the rights of everybody else, who deserves access to clean air.
Everyone should have a chance to live in an area where their air is clean from a bunch of chemicals that cause illness. People deserve to live longer and enjoy life without a disease caused by inhaling smoke. The point is not to punish smokers; it is to reduce air pollution and prolong the lives we have on this earth.
- “By the Numbers: Addressing Tobacco Use on College Campuses.” CVS Health, 1 Jan. 1970, cvshealth.com/thought-leadership/by-the-numbers-addressing-tobacco-use-on-college-campuses.
- “Health Effects.” American Lung Association
- “News.” Smoking Policy, www.ccsu.edu/policy/smokingPolicy.html.
- “Second Hand Smoke.” Second Hand Smoke | National Environmental Health Association: NEHA, www.neha.org/eh-topics/air-quality-0/second-hand-smoke.