Smoking came to Britain Should in the 1600's but only started to become fashionable in the nineteen sixties and seventies. The main attraction to smoking came from the idolisation of pop-stars and supermodels that smoked, but did not know the risks. Today we do know the risks, so why do so many still smoke? One reason is that many people who smoke started when they were young teenagers, when they did not understand the risks associated. Instead, their only aim was to have the right 'look'. Others may have been driven through the desire to appear older. Teenagers may also have started to smoke due to the influence of peer pressure. Statistically, not many people begin smoking at a later age. Usually the reason behind starting to smoke as an adult is due to work related pressure or simply stress. Statistically, there is a greater percentage of women smoke than men this is due to using smoking as a slimming aid.
Hundreds of people die from smoke related diseases each year. Deaths caused by smoking are six times higher than the 20,170 deaths arising from: road accidents (3,444); poisoning and overdose (2,663); other accidental deaths (8,986); murder and manslaughter (503); suicide (4,379); and HIV infection (195) in the UK during 1998.World-wide, about 4 million die prematurely each year as a result of smoking. Smoking has more than 50 ways of making life a misery through illness and more than 20 ways of killing you. In general, smokers endure poorer health than non-smokers. It has been estimated that, in England, 284,000 patients are admitted to NHS hospitals each year due to disease caused by smoking, occupying an average of 9,500 hospital beds every day. In addition, smoking related illness accounts for 8 million consultations with GPs and over 7 million prescriptions each year.
The most common cause of death through smoking is lung cancer; this is when tar builds up within the lungs stopping them from functioning properly. So why should non-smokers inhale this fatal smoke? It is said in one year passive smoking was found to be linked to more than 1,000 deaths in London from coronary heart disease. Passive smoking is the inhaling of smoke from other smokers. Roy Castle is an example of someone who died from passive smoke. He died of lung cancer through the inhaling of smoke whilst playing his trumpet in a nightclub, yet he never smoked himself.
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From hearing this information of passive smoking, should smoking be banned in public places? The government in Singapore has already made that decision. Smoking in Singapore is banned in all public places; smokers are forced to use especially built rooms with huge extractor fans to stop the smoke getting out. This is quite extreme; however Singapore is clearly helping others stay healthy. My personal feeling is that smoking shouldn't be banned from all places, but I do feel there should be designated areas for smokers and non-smokers. I believe that non-smokers have the right to sit in a non-smoking area to avoid inhaling smoke of others, they should not have to put up with the smell or health risk smoking contains.
Currently, one debate focuses on smoking in the work place. Many companies are eradicating smoking in their offices and also some are choosing non-smokers over qualified smoking candidates. Also companies are considering to force their smoking employees pay for additional health insurance. I agree with this as companies should not pay the costs of someone's habit, as smokers are fully aware of the cost of their habit both health wise and financially, they should pay the cost not others.
Looking from a smoker's perspective, the following points should be taken into consideration. A public ban on smoking is a removal of choice in an age that seeks to empower the individual. Smokers are not purposely trying to make non-smoker's lives a misery, many smoke outside for the convenience of those who do not want to inhale the smoke fumes. Restaurants, public-transport facilities and shopping centres are predominantly smoke free. There are only a handful of areas in which people are free to smoke, including bars and nightclubs.
One may also look at car fumes as being a similar problem to smoking fumes. Cars produce harmful Carbon Monoxide fumes which are consumed by individuals rather than the driver of the car. In the same sense should cars be banned from public places because they also produce harmful fumes? This point can also be said of alcohol and factory fumes, both of these either are harmful to the environment or someone's health.
Bearing in mind that smoking is an addiction, it is important not to isolate smokers. People who smoke shouldn't be made to feel like social outcasts, so provision should be made to cater for them. No pocket of society should be excluded; this could be paralleled to the Jews in Germany.
In other continents for example Spain, smoking in public places is not frowned upon. There are no restrictions on where you can and cannot smoke. This shows that smoking in public places has already been dealt with in this country to an extent that smokers are seldomley annoying the non-smoking public. Restrictions in the U.K already seem extreme in comparison to other countries and if restrictions become any worse, we might be excluding tourists as well as British smokers to our society.
Some people only smoke socially on weekends, it de-stresses people and is a stimulant which encourages conversation (where alcohol is a depressant). If there is a ban on smoking in all public places, pubs and nightclubs would lose most of their profit. People would not want to go out if they were not able to smoke socially.
Passive smoking is inconclusive evidence; we can not prove that inhaling others smoke is in fact harmful. So passive smoking might not cause all non-smokers health problems.
In conclusion I don't think smoking should be banned in all public places, as that would exclude smokers in our society; however I do believe more designated smoking areas should be introduced especially in pubs and nightclubs. In today's society were acceptance and compromise are two key principles, exclusion of any sub group would seem to go against the grain of social thinking.
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