Smoking cigarette has proved to be a fatal practice not only for active smokers but most importantly, for the passive ones. Passive smokers inhale the smoke that is exhaled by others as they smoke or through tobacco ignition.
Smoking bans are guidelines and regulations which limit smoking in public areas. May public places are therefore marked as ‘Smoke-free Zone’ which emphasize on environmental and health hazards that smoking poses even with limited exposure.
However, individuals have a right to either choose whether or not to smoke cigarette but it is not fair if they do it at the expense of others, who become passive smokers and are at a similar risk as a direct smoker. It is the role of governments and health institutions to safeguard public’s health by regulating drug use and abuse cases such as tobacco smoking. Safety measures are considered to enhance public heath of passive and active smokers.
For instance, some nations have taken to consideration the aspect of personal freedom and have chosen to segregate specific ventilated areas designated for smokers while others have gone to the extreme of being abolitionists by imposing a total ban on cigarette smoking.
Cigarette smoking is not only implicated with public health due to their carcinogenic nature and chemical additives but also, has proven to be costly and degrading to societal values hence, should be banned.
Smoking cigarette proves to cause many deaths in the world as a result of health related issues such as e.g. coronary impairment, obesity, emphysema infant defects, lung cancer and respiratory illnesses. In the United States alone, the Environmental Protection Agency assert that secondhand smoking leads to over three thousand fatalities from lung cancer and thirty seven thousand deaths as a result of heart ailments (Koop, 2004).
Cigarettes smoking as a cause of illnesses and premature deaths become the first preventable cause to be controlled through imposing bans (Congress, 2005). Cigarettes have nicotine which is responsible for addiction and is attributed to coronary illnesses and nerve impairment hence, declining people’s life expectancy. Cigarettes contain various chemical substances that are toxic and carcinogenic.
Regular smoking predisposes an individual to twenty times chances of acquiring lung cancer. In addition, it triggers production of stomach acid which causes and individual to acquire ulcers and other stomach illnesses such as cancer. It is notable that smoking destroys blood vessels and vital organs such as the hearth which predisposes smokers to stroke and cardiac illnesses (Booth et al, 1999).
Besides, the World Health Organization points out that use of tobacco cause health problems, addiction ,deaths and most importantly, accelerates impoverishment particularly in African countries where great expenses are incurred in the management and treatment of these health issues. W.H.O therefore, ensures that the availability of tobacco is restricted through reducing its demand and supply.
In addition cigarette smoking has proven to be to be expensive to individuals who have to pay high taxes to acquire them. This affects their income as they strain to get more to cater for cigarettes as pointed out that “in Kenya it an average of two hours and 40 minutes to earn enough to buy a packet for imported cigarettes, while in the United Kingdom it takes just 40 minutes” (BBC, 2004).
Various western nations have banned tobacco smoking and advertising and now many manufacturers have drifted attention to African nations. However African nations have also become aware of these issues and therefore, the previous year saw Tanzania banning tobacco smoking in its public settings (BBC, 2004).
In other instances, smoking may cause accidental fires which results to great losses that need to be catered for hence; a lot of money is spent on cigarettes related claims. Cigarettes hurt the economy through financial costs, declined life expectancy and therefore, reduction of the pool of available labor force.
The tobacco industry use eleven billion dollars per annum to market cigarettes through advertisement strategies. The FDA aims to curb deceptive advertisements and requires explicit labeling on packages alerting on hazards arising from smoking cigarettes such as addiction of nicotine which is even reinforced with additives to enhance its addiction (Congress, 2005).
The social use of cigarettes can be implicated to marketing strategies employed by various tobacco firms. The American Tobacco Company for instance, previously engaged in aggressive advertising that saw increasing number of smokers.
These stylish displays in shops and the media adverts, which associate smoking with sophistication, the elite and with loyalty, cause the rise in use of cigarettes. Cigarette smoking therefore, has become socially acceptable due to misleading advertisements targeted especially to the youths (Cunningham, 1996).
As a result, a ban is essential in drifting social norms of being tolerant to smoking in day to day lifestyle. Ban is imposed through tax measures, establishing awareness programs, creation of policies and termination initiatives geared at guiding human behaviour through controlled smoking hence, facilitate public health.
Lawyers in the United States are aware of the health implications achieved from cigarettes smoking although they emphasize that the smoker should bear the burden and not the tobacco industry. It has therefore required that the manufacturer label a warning on risks of smoking, avoid deceptive advertisement and create public awareness of statistical facts emanating from smoking.
However, lawyers insist that the tobacco companies bear no liabilities for the risks of smoking since it is a personal choice. Some point out that there should be a ban while others assert that imposing a ban is unconstitutional and alternative measures should be considered (ABA, 1986).
However, when deaths arise from smoking cigarettes, families are left to suffer and become overburdened and poverty strikes them. Tobacco related fatalities and medical realities are however instigating fears in a society that has embraced the consumption of tobacco as a social norm. Smoking is done for social a motive of trying to fit with the peers or other social groups
The rationale for imposing tobacco bans are based on the concept that smoking is elective while breathing is a must for all humans. Bans imposed by governmental bodies are meant to safeguard passive smokers from health risks although they might not be legitimate since they infringe people’s privacy.
Legislations have been set by many nations based on scientist medical facts, which asserts that tobacco smoking is dangerous to users and second-hand smokers. Ban on tobacco smoking has resulted to a decline in the number of smokers as the world is sensitized on the consequences incurred on 31st May (BBC, 2004).
The World Health Organization has facilitated on creating public awareness on risks of cigarette smoking including its contribution to poverty as nations pursue healthcare. Other suggestions to smoking cigarettes includes use of Smoke-free Tobacco (SFT) which involves snuffing or chewing and use of low tar products, which are they are equally harmful as smoking (Koop, 2004 ).
Self-interest is the main determinant in dictating the approach towards smoking bans and often the main cause of controversies. Although it has been noted that many people depends on tobacco industries for exports and employment opportunities to earn then a living while governments use taxes levied on cigarettes for infrastructural development, the risks that arise from cigarettes smoking outweighs the advantages and therefore should be banned.
ABA. (1986). The ABA Journal: The Lawyer’s Magazine. Washington DC. American Bar Association.
BBC. (2004). Should Smoking be Banned?. United Kingdom. Retrieved on March, 15, 2011 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3757225.stm
Booth, G., McDuell, G. R. and Sears J. (1999). World of Science, Volume 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Congress. (2005). USA Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 109th Congress First Session, 151, Pt. 4. Washington: Government Printing Office.
Cunningham, R. (1996). Smoke & Mirrors: the Canadian Tobacco War. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre.
Koop, C. E. (2004). Reducing The Health Consequences Of Smoking: 25 Years Of Progress: Report Of The Surgeon General. Atlanta, Georgia: DIANE Publishing.