Smoking in Public

Essay by t1010University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2004

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Historically, smoking in public places such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, airports, and government buildings was unrestricted. Health, safety and economic concerns, as well as arguments concerning individual rights and even office etiquette, however, have made smoking one of the more controversial issues today (McGlinchey). Smokers feel it is their right to smoke where and when they want. On the other hand, non-smokers feel smokers violate their rights and endanger their life. Disputes, like this one, evolve when one's pursuits of happiness conflicts with those of someone else. Secondhand smoke is not healthy for anyone; therefore I believe that smoking should not be allowed anywhere where it can potentially harm another individual without his or her consent.

Tobacco smoke contains 4000 chemicals, some of which have marked irritant properties and some 60 are known or suspected cancer-causing substances. Smoking in public places is a danger to non-smokers health for the reason of passive or second-hand smoke.

Many people are irritated by tobacco smoke. Sore throat, cough, headache and eye irritation are just some of the effects that some face. Smoking also causes heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other serious forms of respiratory diseases (Jaffe). The simple separation of smokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate exposure to passive smoke.

Currently, one debate focuses on smoking in the workplace. Smoking may cause reduced productivity due to smoking breaks and there is also a risk of increased absenteeism due to ill health or even early retirement of valuable workers. Other costs include cleaning and fire risks. Many companies are elimination smoking in the office; some are even choosing non-smoking candidates over equally qualified smoking candidates, as well as cutting down health care benefits for those who do smoke (Chung). Today, as medical costs continue to...