17, July 2018
Smoking in Public is Inappropriate: Get a Room, smoker!
A mother and her child take a walk in the park. A passerby releases a pungent scent from his cigarette, subjecting both the mother and her child to what the mother views as an inappropriate substance. The mother’s first instinct is to cover her child’s nose and she shouts at the smoker, “You should not do that in public! Get a room, smoker!” She briskly walks away, as she continues to shelter her child.
With tobacco use being so prevalent, smoke free bylaws have been implemented for a while now. These bylaws have created controversy and impacted the life styles of many people. There are numerous of opposing views on both sides of the argument that believe smoke free policies protect the rights of nonsmokers but at the same time the opposing views states that they marginalize smokers. This indicates that some smokers understand the dangers of exposing others to tobacco smoke, and there are also many who oppose and ignore smoking bans. Nevertheless, smoke free bylaws need to be adhered to because when properly enforced they protect the environmental health. These bylaws create awareness for smokers and urge them to quit smoking. Furthermore, they protect the rights of nonsmoking citizens. Although, smoking in public is inappropriate and unsafe for nonsmokers, the rights and wellbeing of both parties are taken into consideration. Well implemented and enforced bylaws will get the job done.
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a prevalent social issue. Articles from the Minnesota Department of Health, Raupach, the CDCP and Mcneely are similar when it comes to their viewpoints on the subject of ETS. All of these articles believe that tobacco smoke is detrimental to environmental health. They also all believe that this can be resolved by smoking bans.
Smoking bans protect environmental health by minimizing the propagation of ETS among nonsmokers. The public is concerned with all the distinct types of toxins that contaminate the air. Smoking bans aim to minimize the involuntary inhaling of a dangerous substance such as ETS. An article from the Minnesota Department of Health, titled “Environmental Tobacco Smoke,” explains that “according to the CDC and EPA, ETS is the third leading cause of lung cancer, after cigarette smoking and exposure to radon” (MDH). Therefore, policy makers of these smoking bans are taking these warnings very seriously by implementing and enforcing bylaws accordingly.
This day and age, passive smoking related illnesses may be reduced by well implemented smoke free bylaws. Nonsmoker adults, when exposed to cigarette smoke on a regular basis, increase their chances of getting sicknesses such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and lung cancer. In their article, “Secondhand Smoke as an Acute Threat for the Cardiovascular…” the authors describe that “recent experimental data provide a deeper insight into the pathophysiological mechanisms linking secondhand smoke (SHS) to CVD” (Raupach et al. 1). According to the authors, even a low dose of “toxins” inhaled by those people who do not smoke may weaken the lining of the blood vessels and can potentially cause poor circulation. Additionally, this issue may worsen every time a nonsmoker is exposed to SHS (1). The authors on this article are warning the public that by inhaling ETS the chances of getting tobacco related illness are tremendously high.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) warns people of the detrimental effects that ETS may cause on nonsmoker adults and children. In accordance to the CDCP website, “tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer.” The CDC explains in detail the amount of “chemicals” that tobacco smoke can deliver to individuals who inhale these hurtful substances. This is very alarming to those who have been exposed to ETS as it may cause illnesses, and in some instances, deadly consequences. These consequences apply to individuals who work in a variety of occupations in both enclosed and outdoor settings.
Mcneely conducted a study to examine the different types of cancers that flight attendants may have acquired in comparison to regular citizens. They express that “Flight attendants are an understudied occupational group” (Mcneely, et al. 1), so they decided to focus their attention specifically on them. According to their results, flight attendants are at a greater risk of potentially getting many types of cancer. The authors say that “flight attendants (n = 5366) had a higher prevalence of every cancer we examined, especially breast cancer, melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer among females,” (Mcneely, et al. 1). The authors explain that these results are due to the exposure and inhalation of ETS prior to the inflight smoking bans.
The Minnesota Department of Health, Raupach et al., Mcneely, et al., along with an article posted in the CDCP all match in the fact that ETS is a great contributor to illnesses such as cancer and lung disease. The CDCP gives great insight on providing with actual numbers to describe the effect that ETS causes on people exposed to tobacco smoke. It should be noted that in their conclusion, Mcneely suggested that their results should guide future studies on how to improve the health as well as the life qualities between cabin crew members. I strongly agree with all of the facts provided by the authors of these articles, as well as their conclusions drawn by the information. ETS is dangerous and does cause illness such as CVD and lung cancer to many citizens including those in the workforce as a result of being exposed to ETS.
On the other hand, in his article, Grier displays completely obstructed views on the matter. In a section of his article, he explains “Newer, better studies with much larger sample sizes have found little to no correlation between smoking bans and short-term incidence of heart attacks, and certainly nothing remotely close to the 60 percent reduction that was claimed…” (Grier). By saying this, Grier is expressing that the smoking bans have had no significant effect on the matter, as was previously claimed by those who implemented the bylaws.
I respect Grier’s point of view, however, there are experts who say otherwise. Previously mentioned sources, such as the CDCP who specialize on disease control, have identified ETS to be one of the major potential causes of diseases such as CVD and lung cancer. I say that the people who study and analyze these diseases for an occupation have a greater grasp of knowledge on the subject.
Smoking bans in outdoor public spaces should continuously raise awareness among active smokers, and encourage them into quitting. “A recent study found improvements in smoking behaviors (e.g., decreased cigarette consumption and increased quitting) among affluent localities but little improvements in less affluent localities,” (Pederson, et al 10) from nonsmoking bylaws. In this quote, Pederson explains that a significant amount of citizens in more wealthy areas quit smoking as a result of the bylaws, however, in less fortunate areas, smoking bylaws had little to no effect. Some smokers fear to quit smoking because of the withdrawals symptoms, so they continue to be incompliant with smoking bylaws. The authors suggest that creating incentives such as “tobacco treatment assistance (i.e., brochures, vouchers for medications) and other similar resources to violators of the bylaw; or repeat offenders may be asked to attend tobacco treatment” (Pederson et al. 10). Evidently, willingly and with the right motivation, smokers can reduce and finally eradicate smoking from their lives completely. Smoking bans are trying to create a smoke free environment for both smokers and nonsmokers equally.
In another article titled “Smoke-Free Laws Encourage Smokers to Quit…” by the “Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids,” the article states in one of their section how the tobacco industry studies the declines on in consumption of tobacco products how smoking bans have contributed with smoking cessation among smokers. One of the tobacco companies mentioned in this article is Philip Morris in their own research they found that “prohibiting smoking in the workplace not only reduces consumption but also increases quit rates”(Tobacco-free Kids 3). This indicates that since smoking bans were implemented, there was a significant reduction in tobacco product sales and profits. These results point out that smoking bans have indeed encouraged smokers to quit as demonstrated by the decrease in tobacco product sales.
Pederson as well as the Tobacco-free Kids’ article show in both of their articles that smoking bans can help smokers quit. If this continues to attract more support from both populations, smoking bans will count a win on their favor. That is the ultimate goal of smoking bans.
One well respected argument of this subject was made by Dunphy. In his article, Dunphy claims that, “I know myself and many other smokers are still going to light up, knowing that there is no punishment” (Dunphy). Dunphy make a good point that the smoking bans are not implemented, and there is no consequence for incompliance of the bylaws. He also continues to say throughout his article that the government would not ban smoking as the taxes for cigarettes and tobacco products produce too great of an income.
While Dunphy’s claims are noted, they are not relevant. He makes it clear that he will not quit smoking because he “loves smoking,” but who is he to speak for other smokers? He can only speak for himself, but he is not entitled to say that other smokers will not quit. As for his argument that smoking bans are not effective, the main goal of the smoking bans is to correctly implement them. Once they are correctly implemented, and consequences were applied to violators, the bans would certainly be adhered to. Dunphy speaks about how the government views the taxes as too great of an income to ban smoking; however, a person who carelessly spends money most likely has no family to provide for. Individuals who have someone to provide for would certainly be more cautious with their money, and would think twice before buying another pack of tobacco products.
The rights of the nonsmokers being protected is another concern of the smoking bans. In public the smokers inhale the smoke from a cigarette and exhale without a care. Nonsmokers may characterize this type of behavior as inappropriate. Tan quotes from Oaks in figure 1 who explains that “Blowing smoke in anyone’s face is a sign of disrespect and aggression, and exposing a baby to carbon monoxide or cutting off its oxygen supply suggests an intention to kill…being born smoke-free is an entitlement, not simply a privilege”(Tan 8). I this quote, Oaks expresses very strong feelings of disrespect towards nonsmoker individuals by the actions of smokers. He depicts an offensive scenario that many nonsmokers deal with on a daily basis. Smoking bans aim to prevent these types of situations by designating specific smoking areas away from affecting others with ETS.
I another part of her article Tan take ETS a step further. She conducted a research to study how smokers and nonsmoker individuals get around expressing their differences in the instance where a smoker crosses the boundaries of a nonsmoking establishment. Furthermore, Tan explains how the smell of a smoker “disrupts” the ambience of a nonsmoking public place.
She explains that the public “have identified how smokers are already ‘pushed from pillar to post,’ as they have been discriminated by sanctimonious non-smokers who seize every chance to criticize them even as they have already ‘taken it upon themselves to avoid inconveniencing others'” (Tan 9). This implies that by nonsmokers wanting to push for the implementation of smoke free bylaws, the inconvenience that is released onto smokers has not being taken into consideration.
Tan’s speaks on both sides of the spectrum, and even when in her conclusion she confesses that she is a smoker herself, her opinion remains unbiased. Altogether, she expresses the sentiment that nonsmokers feel as well as the rights of the smokers by first depicting the scenario of considering the “disrespect” that the nonsmokers feel when they are exposed to the undesirable smell of tobacco smoke. On the other hand, the rights of the smokers are also put into perspective. Their sentiments are being noted, but when speaking of the rights of those who cannot defend themselves like children and unborn babies, their rights outweigh the rights of the smokers. Furthermore the rights of a smoker do not consist of the right to inflict harm upon other nonsmoking individuals.
When speaking of smoking bans, one of their goals is to