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The recent smoking ban annoyed a great deal of people, and I can't say I blame them, after years of being able to go down to the local, drink a few pints, if the football's on watch that, chat to some mates, smoke a few fags, suddenly they find themselves banished to the cold outside if they want a smoke. I can understand why they don't find it fair, but what about the non-smokers who want to go down to the pub, is it fair for them to have to breath in the smoke of cigarettes, risking their health even though they have decided not to smoke. At the end of the day this whole argument is about who has the ultimate right, and that is a question without an answer.
When I was 10 I did my DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) course, I still have a DARE car sticker stuck on my bedroom window =], at the time everyone in my class listened to the policemen who came in, the nurses and all decided that we were not going to do drugs, we made up songs and poems against drugs, alcohol abuse and smoking, all deciding they were just evil things we wanted nothing to do with. Unfortunately a year later at least a quarter of the class were smoking, binge drinking at weekends also quickly became a hobby as well recreational dug taking. Secondary school is an awful place full of peer pressures to start acting like an adult when you are really still a kid, this is where most people pick up habits which will stick with them throughout their lives. The pressure to take up smoking was quite strong, all the "popular" kids smoked, and by taking up smoking you could join in with their smoking behind the sports hall at break and that would be your ticket into popularity. I did have several friends who took up smoking at school for these reasons; several of these friends had previously been very against smoking just a year or so before they took it up.
I, however, chose not to smoke, not just because of the health concerns, although the thought of breathing in this poison didn't really appeal to me, the main factor was that I couldn't possibly afford it, one of my smoking friends worked out once how much it cost her to smoke in a year, I can't remember the exact value but it was well over £1000 which at 15 was an amount of money which shocked me, I didn't have that much money in a year to spend. Now I possibly could afford to smoke, but I have passed the period in which I was most vulnerable to the pressure to smoke and now I know for certain that I don't want to smoke, for the health concerns now, my health is so important to me. For this reason I don't want to breathe in smoke, my lungs are already exposed to the pollution of Nottingham amongst god knows what else, smoking is another factor which I would rather not add to my lungs.
Apart from just generally not wanting to damage my lungs with second hand smoke, another issue I have with smoke is that it does trigger my asthma. I'm not badly asthmatic, in as much as there are people with far worse asthma and the smoke doesn't create the worst reaction, but it does set off my asthma symptoms, which is something that I would rather didn't happen. In the past I have sat at bus stops and started coughing quite badly for no apparent reason, until I turned round and noticed that smokers surround me.
Those are the reasons I would like to avoid smoke from cigarettes and the smoking ban does now mean that when I am in restaurants and other buildings where before I would have been attacked by a cloud of poisonous fumes, I can now breathe in the clean(er) air, and for this reason I do support the ban. And it isn't an entirely selfish view, it is not just me who benefits from this, all other non-smokers in these buildings also benefit, staff who once were breathing in the smoke of their customers in a pub, children sat at a restaurant breathing in the poisonous fumes while eating. It also benefits in many ways smokers, while they are in the buildings they are breathing in less smoke, even though they have already damaged themselves there is no need to damage them further by breathing in more second hand smoke. Also while smoking outside there is more space for the second hand smoke to go into, rather than when in a room where it will in theory just hang about being breathed in again and again, causing more damage.
While there are health benefits to the smokers being chucked outside, it isn't all-good yet, smokers can now be found in doorways, poisoning the entrances to the buildings they are now no longer able to smoke inside. There have been studies finding the air in these doorways with poisoned air well above the safe level. And I must say while I am walking past the pub near my home I do walk by a group of smokers who did not used to huddle there, beforehand I wasn't a visitor to pubs so I didn't suffer from the smoking in them, now I do have to breathe in the smoke of those huddled outside the pub.
It is a very difficult issue to sort out, there are two completely separate major groups supporting different sides, and unlike some other debates such as capital punishment and animal cruelty this argument relates directly to us, it is our health we are talking about and our freedom.
I have nothing against smoking, I know people who think of it as a disgusting habit, and are very anti smokers, myself, I feel that if you make the decision to smoke then that is fine, it is up to your what you do with your body and what you spend your money on. I will lend people money to go buy a pack of fags, I have even gone into the shop in the past and bought fags for my 15-year-old friends when I was 16, which is probably illegal or something, but she was nearly 16 and I didn't have a problem with it. My problem is with the fact that I don't want to smoke; I don't want to be near smoking. Back in the days, well last year, during my lunchtimes at secondary school we used to sit on the grass to eat our lunch, my group of friends was made up of smokers and non-smokers, it did irritate me when people started smoking in front of me, especially when I was eating. This problem was never sorted and was a bit of an issue between all of us, to be honest I don't see many of those people anymore, maybe it is for the best, if your friends won't go and smoke somewhere not in front of you maybe they aren't worth having.
In conclusion to my argument I am going to say that I do support the smoking ban, smoking should be banned in all public places (if only that included the street!!), there are many health benefits to this, we can now go into so many buildings which were once full of smoke and breathe easily which is good for all of us. Because I am a non-smoker I do believe that non-smokers should have the ultimate right, we have decided not to smoke so why should we be exposed to smoke? We were not born designed to smoke, so it's natural not to smoke, therefore should we not have the ultimate right to live smoke free? I think we should. However I know that if I did smoke I would probably have a different opinion, I would probably be saying that I have a right to smoke, and I can certainly understand where anyone who argues that is coming from. At the end of the day the smoking ban is here, you can't smoke inside public buildings and it doesn't look like there is any hurry to revoke this law anytime soon. There are problems with the law, and it is still new therefore we haven't yet got properly settled into it, but I do feel that in the long run, it is the right thing for our country.
Im all for the smoking ban, it does, however, rile me to the point where i just become whatever the opposite of articualte is when i have to try and explain WHY im for it lol well done you :)
law3 17.02.2008 00:23
Very well written. I'm of a similar opinion to arnoldhenryrufus, though I'm a non-smoker who's just not bothered if people want to smoke around me.
fabgirly 28.09.2007 19:59
A very emmotive subject and a very well presented argument. Unfortunately I decided to smoke for exactly the reasons you point out in your review and do miss being able to smoke at the pub. It is probably for the greater good but we'll see! Come winter, will forcing people prone to respiratory illnesses out on the street be a good idea! Great review, well worth an E!