Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States, and doing it in public is even worse because smokers harm themselves and those around them. I remember how my great uncle would always smoke in his house regardless of his surroundings. When his daughter visited him for a vacation, she brought her three-year-old daughter with her. The baby was healthy before coming to her grandpa’s house, but she had developed ear infections and started to cough in less than two weeks. When they went to the doctors’ office to find out how she had gotten it, the doctor linked it back to the secondhand smoke that she was breathing in. When my great uncle found out about it, he finally started to care about where he was smoking and who he was with and decided that he would smoke in a secluded place where no one but him may be affected.
Like my great uncle in the past, many smokers think they could do whatever they want because it is their body, but their right ends where my health begins. I believe that smoking in public places should be banned at a federal level because even the smallest wisp of smoke can do a lot of damage to the people around them and the environment. Smoking has been proven to have many deadly effects on humans and the environment, that it would make sense to ban people from doing it in public. Cigarettes negatively affect the environment in many ways that not many people seem to realize. According to a study by Tree Hugger, “more than 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable filter-tipped cigarettes are thrown away annually somewhere in the world” (McLaren). Most cigarette butts are not thrown away properly because many can be easily found on the streets and even near bodies of water. “It takes about 18 months to 10 years for cigarette butts to decompose” (McLaren). It would make it easier for trash to keep on piling up, making the world a dirtier place.
Not only does the trash make the environment look unattractive, but it also affects animals. When a cigarette butt is thrown near a water source, it may contaminate an aquatic ecosystem. According to Tree Hugger, cigarette butts have been found inside the stomachs of birds and fishes (McLaren). It is horrible to know that cigarette butts may have contaminated some of the fish that we have eaten. Though many smokers already know of the health risks that come with smoking cigarettes, most of them do not know how secondhand smoking can affect other people. “Breathing in low doses of secondhand smoke can increase a person’s risk of a heart attack,” according to a study by Dr. Meyers, a professor of Cardiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Kansas (Sciencedaily.com). Therefore, smokers should not risk non-smokers for something that they do.
In continuation of Dr. Meyers’ study is that “secondhand smoking increases the likelihood of a heart attack by making the blood “sticky,” making it more prone to clotting, and reducing the amount of good cholesterol in the body” (Sciencedaily.com). Non-smokers should not be worrying about paying more medical bills, especially in today’s economic situation. Many businesses provide health insurance to their employees. According to statistical data collected by Live Strong, employers spend an extra $49 million in medical costs for employees who are exposed to secondhand smoking in their jobs (Nelson). Employers would be able to hire more people with the money that is being used to pay for medical bills that could be prevented. Smoking banned in public places may lead to less pollution, non-smokers not getting harmed, and employers saving money from unneeded medical bills that could be used to hire more employees.
Whenever I ask a smoker why they smoke, many respond in something like, “It’s my own body; I can do whatever I want with it.” According to a report by Dr. Stillman, co-director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins University says “Inhaling the complex mixture of compounds in tobacco smoke can cause cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung disease” (Shrieves). Though it is their own body, we all share the same air, and the smoke that cigarettes produce is contaminating our air, which may also harm other people. Most people think that smoking and bars go together like two peas in a pod, and many think that banning smoking in public places will lead to a decrease in revenue in some businesses. According to a report collected by the CDC, “a smoke-free indoor air ordinance that was passed in El Paso, Texas, proved that there were no statistically significant changes in restaurant and bar revenues after the smoking ban took effect” (CDC.gov). It is more beneficial to people to ban smoking, seeing as there is no change in revenues and it would not affect the economy.
Ban smoking in public places at a federal level is much more favourable to non-smokers and makes no significant changes in revenues in businesses. Smoking in public should be banned at a federal level without question. Smoking negatively affects people, the environment and businesses. There are no logical reasons to allow smoking in public places, and doing so does not benefit anyone but cigarette makers. Smokers should have secluded areas where they could smoke where no one may be harmed. The government should provide trash cans in these areas so smokers would not just throw their cigarette butts on the floor. Anyone caught smoking in public places and littering their cigarettes should be fined. Smoking endangers people who chose not to engage in the same reckless behaviour, like my baby cousin who had gotten so sick because of my great uncle’s smoking. It also dirties our environment and harms other animals that are in search of food. Businesses that provide health insurance to their workers affected by secondhand smoking are wasting money that could be used to hire more employees. Banning smoking in public may lead to a better way of life and a healthier place to live.
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