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The Big Debate: Should Cigarette Smoking Be Banned

smoke_yes_noIn the past seven or eight decades, numerous laws have been passed banning smoking in certain parts of the country. Each state has their own set of laws regarding smoking allowances. Some outlaw cigarette use completely in public spaces, whereas other allow for limited use in certain areas, such as bars or clubs.

The federal government has almost completely banned cigarettes from flights and television ads. There are getting to be fewer and fewer outlets left for smokers to feel included and to enjoy their habit. But is there still room for smokers in the public or anywhere for that matter? Let’s look at both sides of the debate.

The Case for Smoking

The main argument against a ban on smoking is that people should be allowed to do what they like, so long as they are not harming anyone. Further bans, and even many of the current ones, make many smokers feel like their rights are being violated and like they cannot have freedom to do as they please.

Many smokers believe that they are being unjustly restricted and that their habit is one that should be their concern and not the government’s.

They may point to past decades when smoking was less restricted and public health seemed to be much the same as it is now. They also point to the many freedoms allotted to them by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and believe that the freedom to smoke within their own property and in some public places should be allowed.

A ban totally outlawing cigarettes would cause anarchy, they say. They might bring up the prohibition and the large-scale havoc and crime it caused. They foresee a future that is comparable to the prohibition should such a law entirely outlawing cigarettes be passed.

The Case against Smoking

Those who oppose smoking and would like to see it outlawed completely cite public health concerns. They believe that it would do the public good to be rid of cigarettes and smoking once and for all. They dwell on surgeon general’s warnings and research that shows that inhaled and secondhand smoke are both dangerous,

They say that it is not just the smoker who is at risk, but also the people around that person. They concede that people should be allowed to do as they like, so long as it does not interfere with the safety and rights of those around them. Smoking, they say, infringes on the rights of those nearby to smokers. It puts them at risk without their consent and causes numerous health issues for smoker and secondhand smoker alike.

They point to study after study that shows conclusively that smoking causes cancer, emphysema, lung and throat disease, and various other kinds of health issues. They note also the effect smoking has on children, as it affects them more severely.

They accept that many will feel their rights are being violated by outlawing their favorite habit. But those who stand against smoking say that it is a small price to pay for greater public health and lower insurance rates for all.

There is some concern from those who support a ban that widespread crime would break out as a result of such a ruling. But they once again believe that the greater good would be served if such a law were passed.

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The Current State of Affairs

As it stands, smoking isn’t likely to go away for a while it has been a part of public consumption for decades now, and in older forms, even longer than that. There is strong support for smoking as well as strong support for a law that would ban it completely.  There will be massive opposition either way, which is why the current state of affairs is something of a concession on both sides.

Smoking isn’t outright banned, but neither is it allowed everywhere. We are seeing many states ban smoking in their larger cities and more populated areas, and we will likely to see further rulings like these pop up every now and then. They don’t mean that an eventual ban is coming, but such a move could be threatened at some point or another. If that happens, there is likely to be a major uproar, and it is incredibly unlikely that such a law would be passed on its first attempt.

Instead, we are likely to continue to see small victories for both sides as politicians make concessions for their constituents and try to appease their voters.

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