Smoking Bans Are More Harmful Than Helpful

 New Smoking Bans Are More Harmful Than Helpful

I am a non-smoker. Wait, let me rephrase that: I am currently a non-smoker, but in my early twenties, for a couple years, I indulged in Camel Lights, sometimes burning through upwards of a pack a day. That was a brief phase, and I no longer care at all for cigarettes. They’re expensive, stinky, stain the teeth, and mar one’s breath. I detest the diseases caused by tobacco and am horrified that thousands die every day from lung cancer. With that said, these “No Smoking” bans in the United States have gotten ridiculously out of hand.

More and more parks, beaches, and other outdoor venues are banning people from lighting up. The number of smoking bans has nearly doubled in the last 5 years. There are currently 2,600 bans, with more in the pipeline. In Atlanta, there is a $1,000 fine if violators are caught puffing in the park.

“Second hand smoke is harmful,” Mary Cheh, Councilwoman of the District of Columbia said. “It’s particularly harmful to children.”

But where is the evidence that outdoor second hand smoke is dangerous?

“The evidence of a risk to people in open-air settings is flimsy,” Ronald Bayer, a Columbia University professor said.

Indeed, less than a dozen studies have been performed on the effects–if any–of outdoor second hand smoke. When there is such a lack of research, why are we so quick to legally condemn someone’s right to smoke? America is supposed to be a democratic society, and yet I see this cracking-of-the-whip decidedly dictatorial. Subjecting others to indoor second hand smoke is one thing; restricting the public at large from enjoying a cigarette is another.

If we are intent on limiting “the bad stuff” to the public, how about we go one step further: we ban fast food. The obesity epidemic is far more alarming than cigarettes. Greasy, artery-clogging cheeseburgers are harmful to one’s health. Hundreds of studies have proven this. America is packing on the pounds at an alarming rate. The amount of saturated fat and calories in meals dished out at any drive-thru is enough to make you run to the nearest elliptical. And yet, we do not ban junk food. We can enjoy a Coke or Big Mac at virtually any public place of our choosing. Many venues sell them, even. I highly doubt the man toking on a cigarette several yards away will cause me to develop diabetes and high cholesterol. But a steady diet of fried food certainly will.

Alcohol is listed as the top drug in the United States. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that 1 in 4 children grow up in a home where someone drinks too much. Consumption of alcohol can cause cancer of the esophagus, throat, mouth, liver, and breast. But it is easier to order a third or fourth cocktail at the bar–and drive home–than to light up. Alcohol has destroyed more marriages and families than a Marlboro ever has.

Nowadays, casting shame on smokers is more common than ever. Lawmakers are intent on making it as difficult as possible to smoke outdoors, and the right to smoke is being further stripped away. Smoking is a vice, to be sure, but when are we going to wake up and realize that it is also a choice? Rather, it should be allowed to be a choice. Just as ordering a 900 calorie, triple chocolate shake is an option to someone obese. Tobacco is not as tasty as a milkshake and is a whole lot smellier, but if we lose the right to choose what floats our individual boats, we abandon the essence of what it means to be an American.

Written By: Shamron Moore

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21 Responses to "Smoking Bans Are More Harmful Than Helpful"

  1. Wilson   August 9, 2013 at 5:13 am

    The sad reality is that your parents’ deaths were inevitable. No doubt you’ll say “I would have had more time with them”, but what would that time really be worth? You probably didn’t spend that much time with them anyway, avoided them frequently, and if they lived longer what time you had would watching their complete disintegration. Your death is coming inevitably upon you as well, and you should only be so lucky to be given the gift an early one.

    Reply
  2. Kim   August 9, 2013 at 1:07 am

    The writer doesn’t explain how the ban is harmful — just that she doesn’t like it. Lots of things I don’t like are very beneficial nonetheless. Exercise, for example! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Regula   August 9, 2013 at 12:46 am

    The bans don’t have much to do with harm from second hand smoke in parks. They are a deterrent to obfuscate air pollution, polluted water, some 2000 chemical additives in the food, all of which are carcinogens, food polluted by herbicides, pesticides, artificial fertilizer, all of which have a deleterious effect on human’s health and even worse on that of children. Most of those industries, including oil and fracking, Monsanto’s glyphosate and so many pesticides are multi-billion dollar industries and they work hand in glove with the pharmaceutical industry. Smoking is the scape goat. In many instances smoking has very beneficial effects. Done with measure it is less adverse to human health than driving a car.

    Reply
  4. K. Kangas   August 9, 2013 at 12:38 am

    I live in a small town that also houses the largest oil refinery in the US. Bans on smoking my little cigarette are not going to save anyone from the deadly gases emitted from the plant every day. I should imagine the same goes for Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, or any number of other smog filled cities. I’ve solved my problem by never going out, but that is not an option for everyone. I have to agree with the author — alcohol & fast food kill more people than a cigarette, neither of which is particularly restricted. And I resent the smug do-gooders who subject me to their irrational fears.

    Reply
  5. chad f   August 9, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Land of the free… what a joke! Our forefathers would be turning in their graves if they saw what our country has become. Our freedoms are being systematically stripped away at an alarming rate.

    Reply
  6. DtheMan   August 9, 2013 at 12:28 am

    If we are intent on limiting “the bad stuff” to the public, how about we ban open sewers and defecating in public? Oh, wait, we’ve done that already. Banning smoking is exactly the same. If a smoker can’t prevent their smoke from entering my lungs, they are defecating in public, no less. Any other interpretation is nothing but an excuse.

    Reply
  7. chad   August 9, 2013 at 12:11 am

    As a non-smoker I resent being subjected to the smoke of others, whether is it inside or out. Your freedom to do what you want ends a the point where it affects me.

    Reply
  8. Jonathan   August 8, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Who paid for this advertorial?

    Reply
  9. Janice   August 8, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    My father died of lung cancer and my mother from a heart attack. Both were heavy smokers. Now my brother is dying of lung cancer and my sister of lymphoma and heart disease. Both were/are smokers. I am for every cigarette ban. Besides being nasty and smelly, cigarettes kill. I wonder when my diagnosis will come after inhaling second hand smoke for over 20 years.

    Reply
    • Veronica Thersom   August 9, 2013 at 5:17 am

      Hopefully you wont live that long

      Reply

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