Smoking bans are laws or policies that prevent people from smoking in workplaces, restaurants, coffee shops, and other kinds of public places. They’re put in place because of the rationale that breathing is a necessity while smoking is just an option, so smokers should give consideration to non-smokers and keep them away from second-hand smoke.
Smoking bans are common around the world and have been in place for years. In fact, one of the earliest smoking bans took place in 1575, when the Roman Catholic church in Mexico forbade people from using tobacco products while they’re in church. The most common bans are those that prevent people from smoking in public areas, but there are certain countries that have put a total tobacco ban in place. Bhutan, for example, forbids its people to grow, harvest, produce, and sell tobacco as well as tobacco products.
Many are in favor of smoking bans, saying these can do good things for people’s health. However, there are also numerous people who are against these policies and consider them to be unfair. To know more about this argument, learn about the pros and cons of smoking bans.
List of Pros of Smoking Bans
1. They help protect the health of people.
Smoking bans ensures that cigarette smoke won’t get into public places, preventing non-smokers from getting into contact with second-hand smoke (which can cause a wide range of respiratory illnesses including lung cancer). As a result, people can eat at restaurants, enjoy a cup of coffee at coffee shops, and get into public transport without having to worry about their health.
Many people argue that smoking bans can help smokers, too. These bans can make them more aware about the health risks of smoking and encourage them to quit. At the very least, it prevents them from smoking cigarettes while they’re in public places and helps reduce their cigarette consumption.
2. They help lower healthcare costs.
When people aren’t exposed to cigarette smoke, they reduce their overall chances of falling ill and ending up in the hospital. This, in turn, helps them save money since they won’t have to deal with sky-high hospital bills, expensive medications, and pricey treatments.
The positive financial effect of smoking bans extends beyond the personal level. Healthcare takes up a huge chunk of the government’s budget so, when less people smoke, less money will be spent on smoking-related illnesses and there would be more funds for other patients.
3. They help in preventing fires.
Smoking bans are put into place not just for health purposes but also for safety reasons. By following smoking bans in places that have highly flammable materials, people can prevent fires from arising, destroying properties, and taking lives.
4. They’re useful in maintaining productive workspaces.
As mentioned above, smoking bans can help reduce smoking-related illnesses. These, in turn, mean that less people would be absent at work due to these illnesses and that companies can maintain excellent productivity. Smoking bans also help ensure that businesses can maintain clean and hygienic work areas and that their products (most especially food, semiconductors, and pharmaceuticals) don’t get exposed to the chemicals found in cigarette smoke or to the smoke itself.
5. They help protect the environment.
Cigarette butts, which are mostly non-biodegradable, can be harmful to the environment since they can clog water systems and leach dangerous chemicals into the ground and water table. Fortunately, when people follow smoking bans, there would be fewer cigarette butts and the environment can become cleaner and healthier.
List of Cons of Smoking Bans
1. They impinge on people’s freedom.
For many smokers, smoking bans is one of the government’s ways of interfering in their lifestyle. They find this offensive because they believe that, since smoking is not a crime, the government nor anyone else should not have a say about what they do and limit their freedom.
2. They are sometimes not effective.
In principle, smoking bans aren’t effective since they’re merely telling people that they can’t smoke in a certain location but they can in other areas. As a result, people just avoid places with smoking bans and smoke elsewhere, which doesn’t achieve the goal of getting smokers to quit or at least reducing their tobacco consumption.
Implementing smoking bans also can be difficult at times. There are many people and even establishments that don’t respect the ban mainly because the penalties aren’t so stiff and won’t get offenders into too much trouble. Many government officials also don’t take smoking bans seriously and aren’t so interested in punishing offenders.
It’s important to note that many tobacco company owners are some of the biggest supporters of politicians and give them financial aid during election campaigns. Because of this, politicians usually have a hard time implementing smoking bans because they know it can impact their political futures.
3. They reduce the amount of taxes that the government collects.
The tobacco industry contributes a lot to the country’s economy. So, if smoking bans successfully discourage people from smoking or even just convince them to lower their cigarette consumption, tobacco sales will plummet and the government won’t be able to collect as much as tax it needs to. As a result, it has to make up by increasing the taxes of other products and making these goods more expensive than they already are. If the government can’t make up the lost revenues, they may have to reduce the national budget, which can seriously impact important sectors like healthcare, education, and housing.
4. They can destroy businesses.
Obviously, smoking bans can have a negative effect on tobacco farmers and cigarette manufacturers and sellers because their sales would inevitably plummet. However, these policies can also have an impact on restaurants, coffee shops, and other places where people love to smoke. By implementing smoking bans, these businesses will lose many of their customers and earn less than they used to.
These are just some of the pros and cons of smoking bans. Government officials, business owners, and ordinary citizens should weigh them carefully to decide if smoking bans are worth implementing or not.