Many surveys, studies and scientific research has proved that smoking is injurious to health. Smoke is unhealthy and suffocating. It pollutes the environment. There are two types of smokers – active and passive. The person who smokes is active and other who are near to him and inhale the smoke are passive smokers. Both are equally affected by the ill effects of smoking. Smokers and non-smokers meet at many places like offices, buses, hotels, etc. So, considering the bad effects of smoking on individual’s health, environment as well as individual rights, it should be banned in public places. A person who wants to smoke can do so by keeping himself in isolation.
The smoking of cigarette is glamorized through advertisements. More and more young boys and girls are attracted by this. Even the ‘statutory warning’ on the cigarette packets does not stop them. The young generation think that those who smoke are smart, modern and intellectual.
However, smoking is not a good habit. Those who smoke suffer from several health problems. A chain-smoker is the worst sufferer. Cigarette contains 4,000 types of chemicals out of which 43 are carcinogenic. The carbon monoxide concentration in the smoke is greater than 20,000 ppm. This is diluted to 400-500 during inhalation. It displaces oxygen from hemoglobin and the result is impairment of the central nervous system, cardiac and pulmonary diseases (related to lungs). These may eventually lead to heart attacks. Cigarette also contains ammonia and other hydrocarbons which could cause asthma, other respiratory infections and lung cancer. The dust particles in it may be the cause of irritation of the eyes, cancer, and emphysema. Its nicotine content is highly addictive and reaches the brain immediately. It constricts the blood vessels, raises the blood pressure and gives the central nervous system a small jolt. It can lead to reproductive disorders in the long run.
According to a recent study conduced by Yale University, USA, smoking is more harmful for teenagers. The people who start smoking at an early age reduces from certain disabilities. Their speed and accuracy to grasp information reduces and it becomes difficult to retain it in their mind. According to Leslie Jacobsen, Associate Professor at Yale School of Medicine, “Adolescent smokers were found to have impairments in accuracy of working memory performance”. Smoking makes adolescents lethargic and slow.
Scientists have also discovered that smoking can cut 11 years off a woman’s average life expectancy. And in case of man, it takes 3 years off. They even added that women are more susceptible to the commonest form of lung cancer, Aden-carcinoma. If a pregnant woman smokes, it is not only harmful for her own health but also for th expected baby.
So, when smoking is injurious to health, why do people make it a habit ? In a democratic society, people talk about their freedom of life and freedom of liking. He may justify his smoking habit saying, “It calms me, it helps me work, think and forget the worries”. But he has no right to disturb others by his smoking.
The smoke from a cigarette is inhaled directly. when the smoker inhales, the filtered smoke goes into his mouth. Of course, the second-hand smoke gets diluted by the time it reaches a non-smoker. But that does not make it less dangerous. A research study at the University of Zurich in Switzerland reported hat when a non-smoker remains in a smoky room for half an hour, he can gather the same amount of carbon monoxide in his blood as if he had smoker almost equally. Therefore, keeping all the consequences of smoking in mind, the Government’s policy to ban smoking in public places is justifiable.
Moreover, full banning on smoking may cause an economic scare for the government. The sales of cigarettes are bound to suffer with such a ban and the government will lose revenue from excise duties. The tobacco industry will face a decline. Millions of people working in these industries will be without employment.
But if a government cares for the health of its citizens, it should rise above the economic consideration and find a way out for this. So, the government should ban smoking at least in public places. In India, the government has already implemented this policy in some parts of the country. It has also strictly instructed that children below 18 years of age should not be employed in tobacco industries. They cannot sell tobacco for their livelihood.
However, banning smoking in public places will give some justice to the non-smokers. Separate smoking sections should be introduced in workplaces. The smokers can go to that section for a puff and at least leave the non-smokers free of pollution.