In fact, it is believed that a nonsmoker who is closeted in a room with several smokers for an hour inhales dangerous chemicals equivalent to that contained in ten or more sticks of cigarette. (Cooper) Reports issued by the office of the Surgeon General declared that second hand smoke (or passive smoking), was considered a contributory factor in over 50,000 deaths every year during the early 1990s. On the other hand, LawsuitSearch.
com [cigarette 6]stated that since it has already been clinically proven that people exposed to secondary smoke are prone to lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other related diseases, employers who force their workers to be exposed to second hand smoke are now valid respondents to lawsuits. Meanwhile, an estimate made in the United Kingdom of deaths attributable to second hand smoke in the workplace and at home for the year 2003, found out that a total 617 employees died at the workplace while 2726 people aged 20-64, and 7959 over-65 year olds died from exposure to second hand smoke at home.
Fatal strokes and heart disease aggravated by passive smoking (second hand smoke) were identified as the culprits in over 3,000 of the cases. (Jamrozik) [cigarette 8] These data certainly strengthens the case against second hand smoke. Allowed freely in public places, it can really prove harmful to nonsmokers. Armed with a prevalence of clinical data gathered around the globe, countries the world over, in what appears to be a concerted effort to save mankind from diseases caused or aggravated by second hand smoke, have, one after another, enacted laws declaring smoking in public areas illegal.
The government of the Greater Kashmir banned it as early as 2002, with the term public places encompassing public offices, educational institutions, hospital buildings, libraries, auditoriums, public conveyance including railways, and court buildings. (Tobacco. org. ) In France, Chrisafris (2006) reported that the public smoking ban which will take effect February 2007 will cover universities, railway stations, and offices, while nightclubs, cafes, restaurants and bars were told to be ready for the ban a year after.
[public smoking 7] Meanwhile, the ban in Hongkong which took effect January 1, 2007, included all indoor places such as restaurants, public places, workplaces, karaoke lounges, and bars. (Washburn, 2007) [public smoking 8] Over in Canada, smoking in public places will be prohibited in Quebec effective February 1, 2007, and smoking in bars, restaurants, nightclubs and cafes will be banned starting January 1, 2008. (Greenaway, 2007) The evidence against the hazards of public smoking can no longer be ignored, and the rest of the world has already spoken: public smoking must be banned if we want a healthy citizenry.
The United States should now stop patronizing the tobacco industry and enforce a total ban on all public places in the country, because people are already dying. Smokers may invoke their freedom to smoke as they wish: when, where, or in what manner. However, people have now decided that enough is enough; that individual freedom can only be exercised as far as it doesn’t curtail other people’s own freedoms. Their right to smoke, therefore, must never prejudice nonsmokers’ right to inhale smoke-free air and, therefore, add years to their lives.
Given the number of deaths occurring each year in countries around the world, public smoking could even be considered an act of homicide through reckless imprudence!
Chrisafis, A. (2006). France sets date for public smoking ban. Guardian Unlimited. (Retrieved from: http://www. guardian. co. uk/smoking/story/0,,1890866,00. html) Cooper, P. G. (2005).
Hazards of Smoking. University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. (Retrieved from: http://www. cancer. med. umich.
edu/prevention/hazards_of_smoking. shtml) Greenaway, N. (2007).
CanWest News Service. The Gazette. (Retrieved from: http://www. canada. com/montrealgazette/news/story. html? id=c414c2a9-9d63-4bae-9c28-a2543ac. 59025) Jamrozik, K. (2005). Estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking among UK adults: Database analysis. BMJ.
(Retrieved from: http://www. bmj. com/cgi/content/abridged/330/7495/812) LawsuitSearch. com. (2006). (Retrieved from: http://www. lawsuitsearch. com/product-liability/smoke-exposure.
aspx) The Reports of the Surgeon General: Secondary Smoking, Individual Rights, and Public Space. (n. d. ). Profiles in Science. (Retrieved from: http://profiles. nlm. nih. gov/NN/Views/Exhibit/narrative/secndary. html) Tobacco. org. (2002)
Public smoking banned. (Retrieved from: http://www. tobacco. org/news/89098. html) Washburn, D. (2007).
Public smoking banned in HK…Mainland next? Shanghaiist. (Retrieved from: http://www. shanghiist. com/archives/2007/01/05/publicsmoking. php)