Should the Government Ban Smoking in the Country

The issue of smoking continues to elicit mixed reactions globally. With the pros and cons that are associated with it, there emerge two major groups of people: those who support prohibition of smoking and critics to the same. The first ban on smoking dates back to the sixteenth century, and it was implemented by Pope Urban VII. The Pope stated that any person who was found smoking near the church ground would face excommunication. Both as a status symbol and as a power stick, it becomes a habit of ages. The question arises then why governments regularly impose smoking ban policies and the common “no smoking zones?” This paper seeks to bring both sides of the debate in concert.

 Also known as “smoke free laws”, smoking bans describe public guiding principles that are embraced by the government proscribing the smoking of tobacco in public places. Furthermore, this policy also includes workplaces. Espoused by various countries around the world, the policy evokes dissimilar opinions. The question remains whether adoption of such a policy has positive or negative impacts. A sneak preview into the matter may form a basis to the concept by looking at the correlated merits and demerits (Owing, 2005).

Smoke free laws, particularly in the public places, manifest several pros. Through a research study, smoking bans that are enforced in both public and workplaces display the tendency to lesser cases of hospitalizations and/or deaths arising from cancer, respiratory problems, and heart attacks. This policy becomes of utmost importance, especially to the non-smokers, who inhale the secondhand smoke, taking in the same ingredients as the smokers themselves (Rabin & Sugarman, 1993). Consequently, these non-smokers fall victims of smoking-related health complications in the future. Smoking is detrimental to the growth of a foetus, as the former causes retard and facilitates higher probabilities of premature births. Similar impact is fairly criticized in the cases of those non-smokers who are exposed to copious volumes of secondhand smoke. Therefore, these policies aid in decreasing the percentage rates of premature deliveries and promote values that are related to health from early life stages (Phelps, 2007).

Proponents of smoke free laws also state that the number of smokers is reduced, since such policies “encourage” them to quit smoking or reduce an amount of cigarettes per day. According to a case study, an individual’s body yearns for nicotine when they puff a predefined quantity of tobacco on a usual basis (Trapp, 2009). Through the smoking ban, the rate of tobacco inhalation lowers, which, in turn, results in reduced craving of an individual to smoke. Apparently, in some findings, the drop in the need of smoking becomes very high, and the one who opts to abandon smoking does it easily, since he/she can then live comfortably without it. Smokers also face a hard time in finding places where they can freely smoke. The resultant inconvenience caused prompts smokers to abandon the habit (World Health Organization, 2003).

The smoke that is exhaled by a person during a smoking session contains unsafe matters that pollute the air around. The persons who inhale the components through the air are exposed to the common respiratory difficulties as well as various types of illnesses. In addition, in some situations, these substances affect such things as clothing and furniture, increasing deterioration rates. Fire hazards also reduce largely due to the bans. It becomes a huge risk when an increasing number of people smoke, for numerous flammable materials like rubber, plastic, and paper surround people in their everyday life. If a smoker forgets to put off the cigarette after smoking, there exist high chances of causing fire. The ban, thus, plays a major role in curbing such misfortunes. Other advantages, as propagated by supporters of such bans, entail the issue of saving money (Royal College of Physicians, 2005).

Despite the countless merits that are associated with smoke-free laws, many people are ardent protagonists towards them. Their major argument rests on the economic impact that is caused by the smoking bans and mostly in the hospitality industry. Individuals who smoke frequent the bars, restaurants, and cafes. When such a ban is enforced, the number of these clients tends to reduce. This translates to lesser earnings in terms of profits, and, hence, even to financial crisis. It also causes permanent closure of some of these businesses. In such situations, chances of additional workers losing their jobs rises, consequently, leading to increased unemployment levels. The government, on the other hand, loses revenue through a drop in sale of tobacco and cigarettes (Heyse, Resodihardjo, Lantink, & Lettinga, 2006).

It also occurs that prohibition on smoking is an infringement to freedom of choice as a personal right. Some deem it okay to do anything as long as it does not hurt others in the process. Others advocate that non-smokers prevent themselves from visiting smoking areas to evade inhaling the smoke (Stoto, Behrens, & Rosemont, 1990). Banning smoking alone proves insufficient, since there exist other substances, such as alcohol, that pose similar or even greater health implications. The policy also seems difficult to implement as much as it appears as a perfect notion. Many times, businesses find it hard to disallow their patrons the luxury of smoking within their place of work, especially on insistence. Moreover, isolated places, such as washrooms where persons secretly smoke, cannot be always monitored. Therefore, in such cases, the sanction loses its objective (Elders, 1997).

Essentially, while in the short run, the policy proves disastrous, it only works in favor of the society and humanity at large in the long run. The underlying fact, however, is that it is very hard to draw a concrete conclusion on whether such a ban deserves enforcement or no. Moreover, if it does, the question about its extent arises. It is a habit that is to prevail for eternities.

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