The decision to prohibit smoking in public places has sparked heated discussion around the world. The proponents have suggested that smoking in public areas has negative health implications for both smokers and non-smokers in the ongoing debate. They also went so far as to list the financial losses that smokers face. The opposite side, on the other hand, has suggested that restricting smoking in public areas would have a negative impact on the economy. Historically, California’s 1995 ban on smoking in public places has spread to many states and countries outside of the United States. As many states and nations continue to pass legislation against smoking in public places, it remains a matter of debate. The paper seeks to provide an argumentative discussion on the reasons as to why smoking should be banned in public areas.
Arguments for Smoke Bans
Negative Health Consequences
Public smoking causes serious health consequences to smokers and the people around them, particularly through secondhand smoke. Smoking is associated with different types of cancer such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, as well as liver and heart diseases. Non-smokers are also at a risk of having health conditions due to involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). The secondhand smoke has poisonous chemicals including Benzo[a]pyrene, which is found in tar. Tar is one of the most potent chemicals that cause cancer (White, Duncan and Baumle 135). Secondhand smoke also has formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide, which are equally poisonous chemicals. While adults could resist the severe effects of smoke, children are at a higher risk because their organs such as lungs are still developing and can easily be damaged. Moreover, babies breathe faster than adults making them inhale more smoke compared to that inhaled by adults. As such, second-hand smoke increases mortality rate among children due to Sudden Infant Syndrome (SIDS) as well as other illnesses such as lung infections (White et al. 135). Owing to the above health consequences, smoking should be banned in public places.
Economic Consequences of Smoking
Prevalently, the existences of restaurants and bars in public places has encouraged a many people to smoke. There amount of money spent on cigarette in public is enormous. Other than the high cost associated with the smoking habit in public places, there is also the smoking medical costs (Darnbrough 54). For instance, smokers are at risk of their lungs failing to function, and they will be required to use high medical bills when seeking treatment. Moreover, the amount paid for life and health insurance by smokers is higher than that paid by nonsmokers. The cost also spills over to non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke because they are also faced with hazardous health conditions such as lung and heart diseases. Therefore, smoking comes with high monetary costs for both smokers and non-smokers (Darnbrough 54). With such a financial cost, there is sincere of banning smoking in public places.
Arguments against Smoke Bans
Reduction of Revenue
Smoke bans will hurt the economy, particularly in the hospitality industry that is located in towns and public places. Notably, when smokers are banned from smoking in public areas, the bars and restaurants located within cities equally make no sales leading to zero revenue to the government (Rahtz 28). It is important to point out that smoking mostly takes place in public places as compared to rural or places outside of town. This means that by banning smoking in such places, the government must be prepared to forego colossal revenue (Rahtz 28). Notably, a reduction in revenue collection would hinder the nation from the delivery of services to the people. With this regards, it would be harmful to ban smoking in public places.
Increase of Unemployment Rate
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, banning of smoking in public places would lead to low sales in bars and restaurants located in towns. Consequently to low business activity, a myriad of the affected business would close down their operation. Sadly, such a business closure will have an adverse effect for those who were working in the mentioned businesses. As a result, they will equally lose their jobs (Bearman, Neckerman and Wright 156). Notably, loss of jobs would not only affect these employees but will also distress the members of their families. The resultant effect of this ban is an increase in the unemployment rate which is harmful to the nation. Therefore, such a ban should be reconsidered because of its consequences.
Indeed it is true that banning smoking in public places would have a negative impact on the economy and will also increase the unemployment because of the business closure. However, the comparative analysis of the economic consequences of banning smoke in public places and the health consequences show that a healthy life is more precious than a stable economy. Reasonably, when a country has a stable economy while its vast majority are facing ailments and death cases because of public smoking, then it is better for a nation to give weight to health (White et al. 135). Similarly, a stable economy is built when the population is healthy and productive. In light of this, the reasons for banning smoke in public places are weighty than those against banning of smoking. Therefore, the smoking should be banned in public places.
Bearman, Peter S., Kathryn M. Neckerman, and Leslie Wright, eds. After tobacco: what would happen if Americans stopped smoking?. Columbia University Press, 2011.
Darnbrough, P. J. Quit Smoking. Author House, 2014.
Rahtz, Howard. Drugs, Crime and Violence: From Trafficking to Treatment. Hamilton Books, 2012.
White, Lois, Gena Duncan, and Wendy Baumle. Medical surgical nursing: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning, 2012.