Lately, the health hazards connected with "passive smoking" or "second-hand smoke" - also known as "environmental tobacco smoke”, have been gradually getting increased recognition. The majority of people in modern society are aware that smoking can cause health problems not only in smokers but in people nearby. In recent years many cities, districts and whole states have cracked down on smoking in public. As of October 2009, nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 175 million people, live in areas that have passed strong smoke-free laws covering restaurants and bars – a figure that has nearly doubled ...view middle of the document...
Second-hand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in America killing 53.000 nonsmokers in the US each year (Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights ). The American Heart Association indicates that approximately 38,000 people die each year from heart and blood vessel disease caused by secondhand smoke (University of Virginia). The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, which contains all the toxic agents that are inhaled by a smoker, causes 3000 cancer deaths per year in non-smokers (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies). U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona concluded in a 2006 report that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke: even small amounts of secondhand smoke exposure can be harmful to people’s health.
The mortality and disease statistics related to smoking not only erase all skepticism about the harmful effects of cigarettes on the smoker, but also provide significant evidence illustrating the need for a prohibition of smoking in public places. There is proof that smoking effects entire populations: not only is the health of the smoker in great danger, but the health of innocent bystanders is as well. Public policy must be executed to ban smoking in public places in order to protect the health of guiltless individuals threatened by the smoking population. Top restaurants guide, Zagat Survey, shows that 89% of Americans support smoke free-restaurants (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids).
However, while some Americans are for the smoking bans, others are very unhappy about them. One group that is against prohibiting smoking in public is the tobacco industry. While it is really difficult to argue that smoking is harmful for smokers’ health, the tobacco industry still continues to deny that there is a direct link between passive smoking and poor health of nonsmokers. In reality, Anne Landman, an expert on the tobacco industry, claims that tobacco companies knew much more about the health hazard of secondhand smoke long ego that most people realize. They didn’t just keep this information strictly to themselves, but masterminded a massive global effort to confuse and deceive the public about the health hazards of secondhand smoke in order to delay laws restricting smoking in indoor public places ( Landman). Cigarette companies fear that the public will become too educated on the risks of smoking and as a result it would consequently reduce the industry's revenue. Furthermore, in order to frighten bar and restaurant owners, the tobacco industry has funded research across the country to claim that clean indoor air policies are bad for business.
In fact, it has been proven that smoking bans are effective at reducing the risk of heart attacks and heart disease associated with exposure to secondhand smoke, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine (Institute of Medicine of the National Academies). Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of...