Smoking in Public

Should smoking in public areas be allowed?
Have you ever gone to a restaurant or to the bowling alley and come home smelling like cigarette smoke? And while you were there, some people are sitting there smoking by you and you can’t stand the smell of it. So you go out side and to get some fresh air and what do you know there’s some more people lighting it up and smoking but they are polite enough to go outside. Doesn’t this annoy you, that you can barely go anywhere without people smoking in your presence. This leads us to the question, Should smoking in public areas be allowed? Smoking in public areas is something that could definitely be dealt without. The things I will cover with you are the effects of smoking, the effects of second hand smoke, and some policies that are against public smoking.

First I’ll start with the effects of smoking.
To make cigarettes, tobacco leaves are dried and shredded, and then they are rolled into tubes. The smoke from tobacco in these cigarettes contains more than 4,000 gases and chemicals many of them are poisonous. Some of theses substances include ammonia, which is used in cleaning fluids, carbon monoxide, the deadly gas in car exhaust fumes, and tar. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, these substances are injected into the body. A smoker breathes smoke directly through the mouth in the bronchial tubes, which lead to the lungs. Tiny particles stick to the walls of the tubes, causing irritation. Then the smoke passes into the lungs and it leaves behind a brown tar. This tar contains chemicals, which lead to lung cancer. Nine out of ten deaths from lung cancer are caused by smoking. The American Lung Association says cigarette smoking kills 11,000 lung cancer patients a year and 13 percent of these patients survive more than 5 years. Currently in the United States, approximately 26% of adults smoke cigarettes. Cigarettes don’t only cause lung cancers but can also cause other problems to the heart and blood vessels. Some other cancers associated with smoking include larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and some other organs.

Smoking also causes some serious respiratory diseases. Emphysema is a disease that robs a person of their ability to breathe. This disease is terminal and it kills you. It destroys a little bit of your lungs at a time so you don’t even realize there is problem. Patients who have emphysema can survive for many years with the help of oxygen tanks and special breathing exercises. Everyday activities, like shopping, cleaning, or exercising are some things that you can’t do in the later stages of emphysema. Elaine Landau says in her book “Cigarettes” that one cigarette lessens a smokers life by 7 minutes. Overall smoking is very dangerous a deadly it causes over 300,000 deaths a year in the United States. So if you’re ever offered one just remember how dangerous it is even if it only lessens your life by 7 minutes. However you don’t have to smoke to be harmed by cigarette. This leads us to the effects of secondhand smoke. Inhaling smoke from others is called passive smoking.

There two kinds of secondhand smoke, mainstream and sidestream smoke. Sidestream makes up 80 percent of secondhand smoke and mainstream 20 percent. Sidestream is the more dangerous of the two because it has higher concentrations of poisons than mainstream smoke. This smoke is from the lit end of a cigarette that never passes through the filter. It flows into the air between the smoker’s puffs. Mainstream is the smoke exhaled by the smoker. In early 1993, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released a report that showed the respiratory health effects from breathing secondhand smoke. In that report it stated that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adult nonsmokers and impairs the respiratory health of children. About 3,000 American nonsmokers die each year from lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke, of these; the estimate is 800 from exposure to secondhand smoke at home and 2,200 from exposure in work or social situations. It is clear that those who work or live with smokers have a greater risk of lung cancer than those who are less exposed

Every year, an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 children under 18 months of age get pneumonia or bronchitis from breathing secondhand tobacco smoke. 50 to 67% of children under the age of five live in homes with at least one adult smoker. Secondhand smoke is a risk factor for the development of asthma in children and worsens the condition of up to one million asthmatic children. Children exposed to secondhand smoke damage their developing tissues. Children that breathe in secondhand smoke visit the hospital for breathing problems more often than those who are not exposed. According to the National Institutes of Health, children who breathe in secondhand smoke are at risk for a number of other health concerns. They are more likely to experience middle ear problems, coughing and wheezing, and worsened asthma conditions. Overall about 53,000 people in the world die each year because of secondhand smoke. Now you might be asking yourself how you avoid secondhand smoke. Well there a couple things you can do. The first thing you can is stop smoking if you do and consult your physician if you need help. The second thing is if you have household members who smoke, help them stop. If it is not possible to stop their smoking, ask them, and visitors, to smoke outside of your home. The third thing you can do is Do not allow smoking in your car. And the final thing you can do is to make sure your school or your children’s school is smoke free. In fact many restaurants, work offices, and public areas prohibit smoking in their building areas. If only there were a law that stopped smoking all together millions of lives would be saved and you wouldn’t have to worry about secondhand smoke. This brings us to some policies that are against public smoking.

Smoking in the world is being prohibited in more and more places. Many forms of transportation, such as trains, some buses, and airplanes, do not allow travelers to smoke on board. It is also banned at most job sites, public buildings, airports, and many restaurants. The movement to stop smoking is international many of similar steps have been taken in numerous countries.

Laws to control or prevent cigarette sales and smoking have been passed by many states and local governments. Over 42 states and 400 cities and towns limit smoking in public places such as city hall, stores, and elevators. Eleven states require restaurants to offer separate seating for non-smokers. Ten states have passed laws to control smoking in the workplace. In response of the objection the Tobacco Institute has tried to fight back. However, Minnesota was the first state to enact a law protection for the non-smoker. In 1975 the Clean Indoor Air Act was passed. This act made it illegal to smoke in all public places, unless an area was set aside specifically for smoking. Smoking is not allowed in city buses, grocery stores, offices, and many other locations. Minnesota’s law is considered a model because it inspired other states to pass similar laws. In 1980 voters in Florida and California went for the same movement Minnesota went through. However the proposal was rejected. So instead they had laws passed that didn’t allow smoking on trains, buses, grocery stores, health care centers, and many other places. California hit smokers by having a law passed to raise the tax on cigarettes. This would cause sales to go down. All these laws were being passed just so more lives would be saved and the air would be cleaner. If a single cigarette is such a killer I don’t know why you would continue to smoke if you know it is tearing away at your lungs.

While progress has certainly been made in reducing exposure to smoking and secondhand smoke and much more is needed to be done. Thousands of employees at their work are exposed to harmful levels of secondhand smoke on a daily basis. All Americans need to recognize and protect themselves from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke because no matter where or what you do there will always be smokers in your life. So if you know somebody who smokes encourage him to stop and it might change or even save his or her life.

So now you know some more things about Second Hand Smoke, the effects smoking has on your life, and some current policies against Public smoking. And I hope that your opinion on smoking has changed and have realized that it is a killer even if you’re not a smoker. So now when you go to a restaurant with smokers, be sure you sit in the Non-smoking section because that decision can save your life.

Bibliography
Gano, Lila. Smoking. San Diego, California: Lucent Books, Inc., 1989.
Landau, Elaine. Cigarettes. Danbury, Connecticut: Franklin Watts, a Division of Scholastic Inc., 2003.
Moe, Barbara. Teen Smoking and Tobacco Use. Berkeley Heights, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2000.
Myers, Steve and Pete Sanders. Smoking. Brookfield, Connecticut: Alladdin Books, Ltd., 1996.
Schaler, Jeffrey and Magda. Smoking Who Has the Right? New York: Prometheus Books, 1998.
Williams, Mary E. Smoking. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 2000.
Williams, Mary E. Tobacco and Smoking. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1998.

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