Honors English 10
12 January 2011
Smoking Bans: A Necessity Last year, tobacco consumption was blamed for fifty billion dollars in direct health care costs by anti-smoking organizations as well as one hundred billion dollars that was lost in productivity (Parrish). The smoking bans that have already been implemented help everything from the natural environment to the smokers themselves. Secondhand smoking is breathing the smoke from another person’s cigarettes, or breathing the smoke that the smoker exhales (Bailey, Sprague). Secondhand smoke greatly affects children and can cause them to develop permanent health problems. Adults are also affected; thousands of adults die each year because of the dangerous, but preventable effects of secondhand smoke. It might seem that smoking bans would drive some people away from businesses, but in fact, the opposite is true (Bailey, Sprague). All over the world, groups have been working to decrease smoking in public places. Smoking bans should be implemented in public places because both the general population and businesses are in favor of the bans. This is because of the many negative health effects associated with secondhand smoke.
First of all, smoking bans have already started to help. After Ireland passed several smoking bans, the amount of nicotine and carbon monoxide in the air decreased by more than eighty percent (“Europe”). In 2003, New York City was one of the first cities to ban public smoking; according to a study conducted by the Health Department, the improvement in air quality was almost immediate (Isralowitz). Alex Rich states in his article that, “ Many smokers who are trying to quit have found that bans have aided in this effort by 'de-normalizing' the behavior and limiting the places they are allowed to light up. In fact, smoking bans have resulted in decreased tobacco consumption in some areas by as much as 10 percent” (Rich, Griswold). Therefore, bans help smokers to become healthier by decreasing the amount of smoking they can do. There are an overwhelming number of negative effects when people smoke in public places. Children are the most affected by secondhand smoke. In 2009, statistics showed that more women are smoking and as many as seven-hundred million children are exposed to secondhand smoke each year (Bailey, Sprague). Children and infants are greatly affected because their body systems are not yet fully developed (Rich, Griswold). For instance, one effect of secondhand smoke exposure is fluid building up in the middle ear, which causes a middle ear infection (Parrish). The biggest reason children are hospitalized each year is because of middle ear infections (Parrish). Secondhand smoke also affects a child’s teeth (Bailey, Sprague). According to the Academy of General Dentistry, children that breathe secondhand smoke regularly develop their permanent teeth about four months later than children not exposed to the smoke (Parrish). Even if someone only breathes a small amount of secondhand smoke at one time, the risk of developing heart disease increases by twenty-five to thirty percent (Isralowitz). Because the bodies of young people are still forming, people under the age of eighteen are not permitted to buy cigarettes (Bailey, Sprague). If a young person smokes, it can permanently damage their lungs and cause pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis (Rich and Griswold). Secondhand smoke is also related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Isralowitz). If a woman is exposed to secondhand smoke while she is pregnant, her child is more likely to show symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), than a child that was not exposed the chemicals in secondhand smoke (Parrish). Approximately 150,000 to 300,000 children also develop lower respiratory tract infections because of the smoke (Parrish). A good reason to ban smoking in public places is to keep children safe.
In many of the same ways,