Arguing for the government: Toppacio Rodriguez
California should ban smoking in outdoor areas because of the health issues it causes towards other people.
Before 2007, smoke-free laws did not protect more than 94 percent of the worlds’ population of nonsmokers, but then in 2008, the number went to 74 percent, as stated in the World Health Organization (WHO) website.
The WHO states that out of the 100 most populated cities, only 22 are smoke free, California should increase that number.
There are smoking bans in certain areas, like hospitals, because of the health issues second-hand smoke can cause patients.
Patients in hospitals include a variety of people from flu patients to pregnant women, and from newborns to senior citizens.
Hospitals know the effects of second-hand smoke, and ban smoking because people exposed to smoke will suffer.
The WHO acknowledges that even though there are areas meant for smoking, called smoking zones, smoke can travel to a nonsmoking area and affect the surroundings.
Cigarettes have more than 4,000 chemicals and about 250 are known to cause health issues and an estimate of about 50 lead to some sort of cancer according to the WHO and the National Cancer Institute (NIC).
Second-hand smoke affects everyone, which can lead to a variety of health issues.
The WHO states adults can suffer effects like cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The NCI states infants may die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and pregnant women could deliver babies with a low weight.
According to kidshealth.org, second-hand smoke is an “asthma trigger,” and when exposed to smoke, asthmatics can suffer more “frequent and severe asthma symptoms.”
The WHO states that about 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma and people who suffer from asthma should avoid asthma triggers.
I suffer from chronic asthma and allergies so I know how difficult it is to be around people who smoke.
I have noticed that whenever I am walking from one class to another, or going anywhere for that matter, my throat gets irritated when I pass people who smoke.
I begin to feel light headed and short of breath whenever my friends smoke around me.
I have made the decision of being a nonsmoker because I want to take care of my health and be here to support my family as I am now.
People who smoke counter balance my decision by smoking and making me a victim of second-hand smoke.
“Exposure to SHS (second-hand smoke) remains a serious public health concern, and one that is completely preventable,” states the NCI’s website.
The WHO notes that one out of 10 tobacco related deaths are from second-hand smoke and of those victims, 31 percent are children.
The only way to prevent this is by, “creating 100 percent smoke-free environments,” according to the NCI.
We need to make a difference in California and save our health.
Arguing for the opposition: Eric Harbin
It needs to be said: smoking should not be banned from public areas.
Recently, cities such as Santa Barbara and New York have considered banning smoking from public places due to the risks of second-hand smoke.
Organizations, such as Cancer.org, have compiled evidence to illustrate the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
The organization states that second-hand smoke is responsible for increased cases of asthma in children.
According to the website, 46,000 deaths are due to heart conditions in people that live with smokers, and 3,900 deaths due to lung cancer in non-smokers.
However, these health complications may be falsely attributed to second-hand smoke. While the number of asthma cases in children has increased, the overall number of smokers has decreased.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of smokers in the U.S. decreased 15 percent from 1997 to 2004, and this number is continually on the decline.
How is it possible to blame second-hand smoke for an increase in the number of children with asthma when there has been a decline in smoking?
Other factors, such as diet and environmental conditions unrelated to smoking, also have an impact upon non-smoker’s health.
Fast food has become a daily trend in American lifestyles, and obesity rates have been on the rise.
It’s known that obesity can lead to heart conditions, which in turn can result in death. When discussing the health problems of people who live with smokers, it is important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. It’s equally likely that poor diet and a lack of exercise, rather than second-hand smoke, is the culprit of these health problems.
One must also ask themselves why smoking is under attack from the government while other, more dangerous, activities are not.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were approximately 1.6 million auto-related injuries in 2008. That is a staggering amount of injuries that occur due to driving each year.
Not only does driving pose a danger for the driver, but innocent bystanders can be injured or killed due to an automobile accident.
While smoking in public is being banned due to limited adverse effects caused by second-hand smoke, activities that are far more dangerous to the public are free to endanger millions of citizens on a daily basis uninhibited.
Furthermore, it is not the governments place to decide what Americans should be able to do with their own bodies. Instead of government regulations on smoking, why not let the marketplace decide whether smoking in public should be allowed?
If the public is against smoking in places such as restaurants and malls, they will stop frequenting those establishments, thus hurting the profits of the business owners. If businesses begin to lose money due to smoking, they will no longer permit smoking on their property.
Although it is proven that smoking has an adverse effect on the smoker’s health, second-hand smoke is an entirely different issue, and the government shouldn’t be able to impose its will upon the American citizens.
Smoking is a freedom that is enjoyed by Americans, and should be allowed to be done in public places.