The Right to Choose
Enforcing smoke-free rules has become a national, if not global issue. Businesses should have the right to enforce smoke-free rules if they so choose so, instead of being forced to by the government. Smokers denied the freedom to choose a place to enjoy a legal habit. If people can have the right to smoke despite knowing the harm it causes, then people can choose to go places that allow smoking.
The smoking ban â€˜blursâ€™ the boundary between public and private. A â€˜public placeâ€™ should be defined as somewhere that you have no choice but to enter or is financed by your taxes. Civic offices, libraries and law courts are â€˜public places.â€™ Pubs, clubs and restaurants are not. Politicians and doctors should have no right to dictate what people do in such private spaces. If we give them that right, they will inevitably extend it to other behaviors and other places, for example to ...view middle of the document...
There is therefore no reason to ban smoking in public.
It is legal to smoke tobacco, so governments have no right to try to make people stop. It is therefore wrong to argue that a ban on public smoking should be introduced to encourage people to give up. Smokers fund their own healthcare through the high taxes they pay on tobacco. In any case, heavy smokers are unlikely to give up since they are addicted to nicotine.
People believe a ban would encourage smokers to smoke less or give up. If smoking was banned in public places, it would no longer be a social activity. But banning smoking in public would only encourage people to smoke more at home. This will harm other people in their house, particularly children. This is important, since children are not old enough to choose freely to smoke passively.
A ban on smoking in public places would drive many bars, pubs and clubs out of business. Smokers would not go to these places. It would be impossible to enforce this ban in many public places. Small workplaces will often ignore the ban and are unlikely to be caught. Staff who do not smoke are unlikely to report smokers, because it would be quite easy for coworkers to work out who told the police.
The air is already polluted with other substances such as gases, dust, fumes, and etc.3 One-fifth of Americans smoke cigarettes, which is nothing in comparison to the amount of fumes caused by vehicleâ€™s. In urban areas alone, car fumes are responsible for 50 to 90 percent of air pollution.5 So, unless you're standing right next to a smoker, secondhand smoke can't compete with car exhaust, or pretty much any other source of air toxins.
1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention - http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/
2. Better Health Channel - http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/passive_smoking?open&utm_term=passive_smoking&utm_source=site&utm_campaign=newsletter