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Why should smoking be banned in the restaurants?

Why should smoking be banned in the restaurants?

Recently we had a big discussion at school about smoking in restaurants. Therefore, I decided to express my opinion.

Introduction

Smoking is known in the world from the time immemorial. Tobacco was discovered in America in 6000 BC. Originally it was used in religious ceremonies and as a medicament, nevertheless, after 5000 years, people found the effects of tobacco when it is inhaled and smoking for pleasure was discovered.

Maybe also because of this long-lasting history, the ban on smoking is one of the most discussed and controversial topics in the world. Mankind is divided into several groups, such as staunch non-smokers, addicted smokers, persons who do not care and others. All these people together create an environment full of debate, arguments and opinions where everybody is defending their rights and trying to enforce their requirements.

The aim of our essay is to provide important facts and let those facts explain why smoking should be banned in restaurants.

We mainly concentrate on problems related to health, which means not only active smoking but also passive smoking that is more important for our topic.

Then we provide other disadvantages of smoking in public places, particularly in restaurants, such as harming air pollution and rising global warming, harming other people, annoyance from other guests and also problems with non-smoking restaurants.

We are also going to have a look at electronic cigarettes, discuss if these are less harmful and if this can be some way of solution. We will also approximate not only the current situation related to the ban on smoking in the Czech Republic but also in some other countries in Europe, compare and contrast the laws and regulations. And finally, in the last part, we are going to focus on the economic view of this problem, discuss the possible outcomes and consequences arising from the ban on smoking.

Why should smoking be banned?

There are three main facts about what smoking does to your health: Tobacco smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease and lung and bronchial infections. Smoke-free laws protect employees and customers from the harms of passive smoking in the workplace.

Smoke-free laws help reduce the number of smoking people by providing them with public environments free from temptations to smoke.

Active smoking

There is no doubt that smoking is unhealthy and harmful to our bodies. But what are the biggest threats for smokers?

Cancer. Nicotine from cigarettes causes two immediate effects: an increase in our heartbeat rate and a rise in blood pressure. This continues to strain put on the heart. It is difficult for our heart because it has to pump harder to have enough oxygen. In the long run, smoking shows an increase in blood cholesterol. As a consequence, the risk of having a heart attack is higher.

Smoking can increase the risk of getting lung cancer by 900 percent, which is ten times higher than a non-smoker.

Fertility

The less known effect of smoking is connected with fertility. Studies found that 38 percent of non-smokers conceived a child in their first cycle compared with 28 percent of smokers. In addition, smoking also causes male impotence. Spontaneous abortion is also increased with smoking women. There is no evidence that passive smoking is more harmful than active smoking. It is clear that both types of smoking are dangerous.

Now let’s have a look at the passive smoking, as smokers choose for themselves to smoke and therefore suffer from health disadvantages, whereas non-smokers suffer innocently and unwillingly

We will concentrate on passive smoking because this problem is one of the most important that causes all the discussions about the ban on smoking in restaurants and other public places.

Passive smoking

"Don´t smoke. Smoking causes cancer. "

Statements like this appear everywhere but we should focus on passive smoking because, as we said in the previous part, it is the main key for accepting ban smoking laws. Passive smoking, also called second-hand smoking, is divided into two forms of smoke. There is side-stream smoke and mainstream smoke.

The first one is smoke from the end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar. The second one is the smoke which is exhaled by a smoker. We often think they do not differ but side-stream smoke contains more carcinogens. Even if it can seem to be impossible

People who do not smoke and only breathe smoke from cigarette take the same amount of nicotine and toxic chemicals as people who smoke their cigarette!

Involuntary smoking is called human carcinogen because it causes cancer! It was proved by the US Environmental Protection Agency and by other organizations. Tobacco contains more than 250 harmful chemicals and 69 of them cause lung cancer. There is also a connection between passive smoking and lymphoma, leukaemia, brain tumours and other types of cancers especially breast cancer. This issue is still being studied, although research has shown breast cancer does not appear more often in active smokers as in passive smokers. As far as the United States is concerned there are facts which show harm caused by second-hand smoking. There is an increasing amount of deaths from heart disease and lung cancer in non-smokers.

Asthma-related problems are getting worse every year. Children who are exposed second-hand smoke often need breathing tubes and they have to stay in the hospital longer.

Unfortunately, extra medical care for these problems is over $10 billion per year. In other countries, there is similar research showing negative effects caused by passive smoking.

There was a lot of news related to serious health problems caused by passive smoking. Making reports public is really important to prevent these health issues. Some of them are mentioned here:

"Smoke from cigarettes causes diseases and kill people who do not smoke".

"Breathing smoke can cause serious delivery problems in pregnancy or it can cause spontaneous abortion".

"Babies and children exposed to smoke are more likely to have death syndrome, upper respiratory, lung and ear infections".

Smoke affects the heart and blood circulation which is over time dangerous because of heart attacks".

We can see, that smoking is really harmful not only for the smoker but for everybody around. Nevertheless, there are also other aspects which support the fact, that smoking should be banned in the restaurants.

Annoying hobby

One of the biggest problems with smoking in public places apart from health problems is that this “hobby” annoys and harms other innocent people.

“Your freedom ends where my freedom starts”. Smoking is not different from any other limitation of freedom. As well as we do not walk the streets with music loud, wear clothes and do not smell in public so we should not smell the cigarettes. It is really annoying when you are with your family on a special occasion in a restaurant, looking forward to eating the deliciously looking meal you have ordered and you smell the cigarette someone is smoking. You immediately lose your appetite and want to go home. Why does the man have to sit here in the restaurant and smoke? Is he so addicted that he cannot manage to not smoke for an hour? Or if it is really hard for him, why can't he go out and smoke outside, where there is nobody trying to enjoy their meal?

It is not fair, these people are not obliged to breathe in the smoke from the cigarette and suffer because of somebody else.

Effects of smoking on the environment

Smoking not only kills us, but it also kills our climate.

According to the World Health Organization, about 1. 1 billion people worldwide smoke, and this number is expected to triple over the next 25 years. All that smoke and tobacco farming will surely have an impact on the climate. Smoking alone spews 2. 6 million tons of CO2 and 5. 2 million tons of methane into the atmosphere every year. Nevertheless, tobacco smoke also has an impact on the environment. It is said, that more than one hundred kilos of wood is needed for drying one kilo of tobacco.

Moreover, approximately 600 million trees are cut down every year in order to make room for tobacco plants. What is more, all those cigarette filters end up on the ground and contaminate the groundwater with nicotine and other toxic substances. We think we do not have to mention how the litters look disgusting on the ground. Another interesting fact is that the pollutant standard index or PSI of smoke from cigarettes is 600, the PSI in a developed city is about 40, at most 100. Even in China, where pollution is relatively high, the PSI is only about 200 that is still only one-third of the PSI of smoke from cigarettes.

The Pollutant Standards Index, or PSI, is a type of air quality index, which is a number used to provide the public with an easily understandable indicator of how polluted the air is.

Five Restaurants for smokers, who do not support the ban on smoking in the restaurants, say that if non-smokers don’t want to breathe the smoke, they should go to the restaurant for non–smokers.

It is easy to say, but harder to find a restaurant especially for non-smokers. In bigger cities, it is not that much of a problem, but in smaller cities and towns it is. When you have a break for lunch and you want to find a restaurant for non–smokers, sometimes it really is impossible. It is true, that nowadays some of the restaurants claim to have “separated spaces for smokers and non–smokers”, but sometimes, in reality, it looks so, that there is one big room in the restaurant, one half for smokers and the other half for non–smokers. Only some of the restaurants try harder and have structurally separated rooms, which is a little bit better.

At last, but not least, it is said that the ban on smoking in restaurants could help smokers to smoke less. If people were allowed to smoke in public places they may not be as motivated to stop smoking as they would be with not being allowed to smoke in public areas.

Why smoking shouldn’t be banned?

The opposite side, who thinks, that smoking should not be banned in restaurants, argues, that we live in a democratic state and every owner of a restaurant has the right to decide for his or her own restaurant. Whether he or she wants to aim for a non–smoking group of people, smokers or both. It is up to him; he can make up his mind, if opening a non–smoking restaurant would attract so many non–smokers that it would compensate for the loss from smokers. Or would the profit be higher with separated rooms? This argument is definitely true; nevertheless, we think we should prefer our health to economic interest.

Electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes became popular over the last three years. It is also called personal vaporizer. Smokers inhale as much nicotine witch vaporizers as they would do with a normal cigarette. There are many flavours and you can also choose nicotine or nicotine-free cartridges. When these cigarettes came to the market it was claimed that smoking electronic cigarettes is less dangerous. As we know nicotine causes the formation of carcinogens when it reacts with nitrous acid and most e-cigarettes do include nicotine which is inhaled also by non-smokers. It is not required for manufacturers to reveal the ingredients in e-cigarettes so we cannot surely say if e-cigarettes are a health risk or not.

The first research of this relatively new product was in July 2009 released by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. This brings us many questions. Were we deceived? What happened? Do e-cigarettes have cessation effect or it is a lie? The real fact is that electronic cigarettes have not been submitted to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for evaluation. Many manufacturers promote their product with false advertisement! There is no proof these new cigarettes are harmless. Moreover, it was revealed that e-cigarettes release carcinogens and toxic chemicals into the air. A producer tries to offer a lot of flavours and for the first time, it seems like a really great option and adequate compensation for normal cigarettes. Unfortunately, the truth is different. The next issue is the regulation of this product. Should we treat them as normal tobacco products? There are many opinions in favour of regulating because it really has not been proved that e-cigarettes are safe and harmless. According to the survey from 2010, it is necessary to test e-cigarettes much more. Lack of research does not allow us to evaluate this case and summarize it. In the meantime, specialists do not recommend using e-cigarettes until evidence is clear. In the Czech Republic, there is a valid ban on smoking in public places, such as all institutions or hospitals. Restaurants, bars and clubs (if want to be also for smokers) must have separated spaces for smokers and non-smokers. A complete or partial ban on smoking in the restaurant is valid according to The European Commission in 26 countries of The European Union. The Czech Republic is still postponing this law.

The Czech Republic is the only country in the European Union which does not exercise any form of protection against the tobacco smoke in restaurants. Altogether eighteen countries of the EU have a complete or almost complete ban on Electronic cigarettes. Only in the Czech Republic, there does not exist any statutory regulation, not even in the time of lunch. Therefore, the Czech Republic is the only country in the EU, where it is allowed to carry a purely smoking restaurant.

In 2013, there was a bill, which supposed that ban on smoking in the restaurants should have been valid from January 2014. This should have included not only common cigarettes but also electronic cigarettes and water pipes with a tobacco filling. Smoking could have been allowed only in the open front gardens. Even though a third of adults in the Czech Republic is smoking and almost half of the youngsters have tried smoking, 78% of the population wish to ban smoking in the restaurants. One of the newest regulation in the protection of children and youth is no entry for people under the age of 18 into the structurally separated public places, e. g. amusement parks or airport halls, where smoking will be still allowed. The ban on smoking is valid in schools, offices, medical facilities, including outdoor spaces, freshly would be valid for example in the playgrounds. Nowadays, in 2014, there is finally a real chance that the law which would ban smoking in restaurants and bars could be approved by the lower chamber of the Parliament. In a survey from this year, 135 of Members of Parliament have responded and the majority approves this law. Specifically: 53 members of Parliament do not agree with the introduction of this ban. 5 of them have still not decided and 77 of them – which mean 57% - would vote for this law. One part of the Members of the Parliament arguments with the protection of public health and the other part does not want this interest to limit the owners of restaurants and bars. In their opinion, the complete ban is a significant intervention into the right of ownership of the owner of the restaurant and dividing restaurants into two parts – one for smokers and one for non-smokers – would be sufficient. The law would be applied only on restaurants, not bars. But neither success in The Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic means that the Czech Republic will belong to the states, where the smokers must be contented with a reserved place in front of the restaurant. The law must also be approved by the senators, of which many of them are smokers. There is also a question, whether the president Miloš Zeman would join his signature to the law, as he is a passionate smoker. There were involved 8 488 adults and 2 576 of them where smokers.

Ban on smoking in European countries.

Every country has special rules, regulations or laws for smoking, it differs from country to country and the legislation changes often. Therefore we chose to only talk about some of the countries, whose regulations are interesting and the Czech Republic could be inspired by them.

Belgium

In Belgium, there is a ban on smoking in workplaces, schools, restaurant, including bars and casinos. The ban on smoking in Belgium has an interesting development:

  • January 2006: Smoking banned in the workplaces
  • January 2007: Ban on smoking in the restaurants and bars, except these, which serve “light” meals, such as a pizza. Small bars were not included in the regulations
  • September 2008: Smoking is not allowed in schools
  • January 2010: A general ban on smoking, which included all types of bars was debatable, finally was mitigated on a set of regulations, which relate to bars only when they serve food
  • July 2011: There was a thought, that the discrimination between bars could disrupt economic competition. Therefore, in July, the partial exception has ended. Nowadays, in Belgium, there is a ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and casinos without any exceptions. A complete ban on smoking also in all the trains (wagons for smokers already do not exist) and train stations. Buses and trams are also non-smoking

Ireland

Ireland was the first country in the world, where the ban on smoking was introduced in all closed public places such as bars, restaurants, hospitals and public transport. The ban was introduced ten years ago, on the 29th of March 2004.

Poland

In Poland, there is a ban on smoking in schools, hospitals and public transport, including bus stops and train stations. From 1st January 2011 there is a ban in all public interiors. This also covers also bars, cafes, restaurants and discos. Nevertheless closed spaces for smokers are allowed.

Austria

From the 1st of January 2009, there is a ban on smoking in all public places including bars and restaurants. But it is not a complete ban – restaurants and cafes which are smaller than 50m2 have to decide, whether they will be for smokers or only non-smokers and have to show their choice at their entrance. Larger ones have to be for non-smokers or have to be divided with separate rooms for smokers. There are high fines for restaurants who don't practice this law – €1 000 for customers and €10 000 for the owner.

Slovakia

Our closest neighbour has similar regulations as we in the Czech Republic. There is a ban on smoking in all public places – hospitals, cultural and sport places, schools, bus stops, airports and railway stations. In restaurants, where people can order a meal, space must be divided into two parts – one for smokers and the second one for non-smokers.

Economic effect of smoking ban

A smoking ban can prevent people from exposure of second-hand smoke but owners of restaurants have worries that such laws will harm their business. There are argues that such laws will result in a decreasing number of customers who go to restaurants and bars. Therefore, revenue will decline and it can also increase unemployment. In fact, numerous scientific and economic analyses show that smoking bans do not hurt owners, employment or profit of restaurant. Moreover, some analyses have shown there is no effect at all and sometimes we can see positive results.

One problem of studying smoking bans is that it is really difficult to measure the ultimate impact of such a ban. If we want to measure smoking ban accurately, the data must be collected longer than one year after a ban takes effect. For example research in the USA from the Centre for disease control and prevention has shown that smoke-free laws do not have an adverse effect on the economic situation of restaurant or bars. The states that were chosen never had a state-wide law prohibiting smoking; on the contrary, they had many communities in which laws prohibited smoking in restaurant and bars. Results were clear. In all states, there was no important association between smoke laws and employment. This study was done on 216 cities and 9 states during 11 years. Therefore, we would expect no impact from smoke-free law on revenues in restaurants and bars.

There were numerous researches on this issue. We can mention the International Agency for Research on Cancer that came to the same results. This analysis finally has shown small positive effects of smoke-free laws existing. Another study was published in the journal Tobacco Control in 2003 and it concluded:

"All of the best-designed studies report no impact or a positive impact of smoke-free restaurant and bar laws on sales or employment. Policymakers can act to protect workers and patrons from the toxins in second-hand smoke. They can be confident in rejecting industry claims that there will be an adverse economic impact. "

Next evidence is that in the USA there are states where these policies work. For instance: Washington, New York, California, Massachusetts or Florida are in favour of smoke-free laws.

CDC Foundation also offers a lot of interesting videos where owners of restaurants and bar talk about their business in connection with smoke-free laws. The CDC Foundation helps the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to do more and faster.

In the workplace, Second-hand smoke is widespread more than we think. In our workplace, we can often be exposed to second-hand smoke. We should pay attention to the workplace due to many hours spent at work. Smoking in the workplace causes destruction not only to employers but also to employees. With smoke-free laws at workplace, it can be attained healthier environment and higher productivity. Therefore it can result in decreasing labour costs, lower insurance premiums and lower maintenance expenses such as cloths and carpets.

There is a lot of research and we should also listen to people´s mind. Several people have been asked whether smoking should be banned in public places? 85 % of respondents answered yes and 14 % said no. Smoking in public places only makes people who don't smoke angrily. And I'm sorry that I don't want tar in my lungs, but it should be banned. If they ban smoking, smokers will smoke less often making them resist the temptation easier which will help them quit. All in all, it should be banned for everybody's good. Smoking should be banned in all public places. If people wish to smoke, they should be required to do so in the privacy of their own homes. This may sound mean, but the fact is that secondhand smoke has been proven to be dangerous, and the people who are inhaling it have no control over the air around them. When what you do infringes on the rights and safety of others, it should be illegal.

No: Smokers aren’t going to quit because of a ban. Dining establishments, theme parks, stores, and other businesses should all have designated smoking sections to accommodate people who like to smoke. Passing laws to outlaw smoking in public places is not going to convince people who want to smoke to stop smoking. On private property open to the public it should be left to owners to decide.

Conclusion

The decisive fact is that public smoking is not just detrimental to the person who smokes but it is also harmful to people nearby. Smoking is a negative externality for society. Therefore, it is necessary for governments to intervene. The government is a regulator and if costs exceed benefits the situation must be changed. People should understand that this regulation is a step forward. There are many parks and streets covered by cigarettes on the ground. Normally we can see children playing in the playground and everywhere there are cigarette butts. Many restaurants are so smoke-filled that our eyes burn and clothes smell.

Do we really want this? With smoke-free laws our country can become a better place and our lifestyle can be improved.

We have clearly defined the effects of smoking. Smoking is harmful in every way. We believe that smoke-free law can fundamentally decrease the amount of smoking people. Even though people know facts about health and financial expenses, it can seem they do not care. Every day we are surrounded by warnings about how smoking kills. We often read a lot of articles on how dangerous smoking can be. We can watch many people die of cancer but the addiction still persists. So, how can we rid of this awful habit?

Smoking ban is solution.



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