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Ban Public Smoking

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There are many different views about smoking in public places. Non-smokers feel their rights are violated and their lives endangered by second-hand smoke. Smokers feel it is their right to smoke where they want. Smoking can cause emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease and other serious illnesses. The number one cause of lung cancer is cigarette smoking. A substantial number of lung cancers that occur in non-smokers can be attributed to second hand smoke. While some people feel that smoking in public places should remain since it is their right, smoking in public places should be banned because second-hand smoke will endanger non-smokers health.

Research has generated evidence that secondhand smoke causes the same problems as direct smoking, including lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lung ailments such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma. Non-smokers should not have to worry about where or what air they breathe. Several studies have documented health and economic benefits related to smoking bans. In the first 18 months after Pueblo, Colorado enacted a 2003 smoking ban, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 27% while admissions in neighboring towns without smoking bans showed no change. The decline in heart attacks was attributed to the smoking ban, which reduced exposure to secondhand smoke.

We have so many ways to be unhealthy that any forced health benefits could be beneficial. America as a whole is becoming increasingly worried about being in good health, but so many aren't willing to do what it takes. It may only be a small step, but it is an important one. In 2009, Public Health Law Research published a brief summarizing the research assessing the effect of a specific law or policy on public health. They stated that "There is strong evidence supporting smoking bans and restrictions as effective public health interventions aimed at decreasing exposure to secondhand smoke."

One argument against banning public smoking is the impact it may have on local businesses, but many studies have been published in health industry literature on the economic effect of smoke-free policies. The majority of these government and academic studies have found that there is no negative economic impact associated with bans and many findings that there may be a positive effect on local businesses. In 2003, New York City amended its anti-smoking law to include all restaurants and bars. A study found the city's restaurants and bars prospered despite the smoking ban, with increases in jobs, liquor licenses, and business tax payments.

Smokers feel they have had the right to smoke in a public place for so long that it should not be taken away, but smoking is optional and breathing is not. Therefore smoking bans should exist to protect everyone from the risks of second-hand smoke.



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