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Smoking Ban in Public Places

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Words: 1446

Date added: 19-02-05


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Have you ever been out in public and notice someone smoking? Does it ever make you wonder if that persons’ smoking will have an impact on your health? According to Jacob Grier, freelance writer and bartender, smoking bans show no improvement in heart attacks. Many people may disagree with this statement but a lot of them follow what the media says and not the actual facts. Harvard Heart Letter published an article promoting the dangerous of being exposed to secondhand smoke. Many are led to believe that log exposure to secondhand smoke can put you at risk for many diseases such as heart disease and cancer. This topic is very controversial because the facts are not always portrayed. As Grier looked at in his research he noted that smokers are more in danger than those exposed to secondhand smoke. Since the mass media promotes the dangers of smoking and how badly secondhand smoke affects people’s health, who is right? So, the biggest question is what is the best way to balance people’s right to health against an individual’s right to smoke? There should be a commom ground that would make both smokers’ and non-smoker’s happy.

“Banishing Secondhand Smoke” written by President and Fellows of Harvard College, the authors stated the dangers of being around secondhand smokers. The article argues that inhaling secondhand smoke is just as dangerous as the smokers’ smoking. According to the article, secondhand smoke can lead to diseases such as heart disease, lung cancer and asthma. The article also state that some technology used to filter out smoke or clean air is found to be inconclusive. The authors suggest if you live with a smoker to ask them to quit, smoke in a designated room, or outside.

“We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans” published in Slate by Jacob Grier argues that there is no real correlation that smoking causes heart attacks. Grier argues that some sample sizes in the studies were too small and proved nothing. The article also states that larger sample sizes still found no correlation between the two. The article notes that secondhand smoke is not as dangerous as the media has portrayed it to be. Grier also states that since the facts state that secondhand smoke is not as dangerous, that some laws should be eliminated, and smokers should have some rights back. The author emphasizes the psychological impacts that smoking bans have on smokers.

Both of these authors further explain their viewpoints on the controversial topic of smoking, secondhand smoke, and smoking bans. This topic may seem like it has an easy answer, but many people cannot agree on the right answer.

Grier’s article argues how smoking bans have no real correlation with the decrease of heart attacks. His article is showcased in the Slate magazine, which is a political and current events type of publication. The purpose of this article is to inform non-smokers that their exposure to secondhand smoke is not as dangerous as they have been told and to state the contrary evidence about smoking in the media. Grier is a freelance writer and a bartender. Grier discusses many studies that show no correlation of decrease in heart attacks from smoking bans. For example, Grier looks at the study in Helena, Montana, where six months after the smoking ban the rate of heart attacks decreased by 60 percent. Grier argues that the sample size was way too small to make a connection between the two. Grier notices a trend in the small sample size of these different studies. He argues that the decrease in heart attacks is coincidental. Grier’s ability to point out the flaws in the studies he’s discussed shows his reasoning on the matter. Harvard Heart Letter argues how dangerous exposure to secondhand smoke is and how they can help prevent it. This article is in contrast to Grier’s points about secondhand smoke. This article emphasizes the bad exposure to secondhand smoke. This article doesn’t have any scientific evidence to back up their claim.

Both Grier and Harvard Heart Letter agree that secondhand smoke can be dangerous. Grier states that secondhand smoke can potentially be dangerous, but the dangers are not as bad as portrayed in the media. Both articles agree that creating designated smoking areas for smoker would be a middle ground for party sides. Non-smokers would know to avoid these particular areas and would not be exposed to secondhand smoke. Smokers would have an area where they could freely smoke and not have to worry about backlash from smokers. Even though these authors have some similarities, there differences are much greater. Grier argues that long exposure to secondhand smoke is not as dangerous as it is portrayed to be. He states that people who are chronically exposed to secondhand smoke have rates of getting cancer is just 1.12-1.43 times that of actual smokers’ (Grier 4). This evidence is shocking to many, but many still refuse to acknowledge the truth.

Harvard Heart Letter argues that the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke increase your risk of heart attacks. Grier argues that the science has shown no correlation of decrease in heart attacks since smoking bans. While some studies do state this, Grier acknowledges that the sample sizes are too small and in some cases is just a coincidence. He also argues that those decreases may not even be related to secondhand smoke. On the other hand, Harvard Heart Letter believes that smoking bans will help make the environment healthy for everyone. Grier states that there is no clear evidence that states secondhand smoke causes many diseases. Harvard Heart Letter stresses the fact that chronic exposure to secondhand smoke causes many diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Grier argues that the evidence proves no correlation between decrease in certain illnesses following smoking bans. This leads him to believe that some bans on smoking should be lifted following the contrary evidence that was discovered. Harvard Heart Letter believes that smoking bans are important for the health of society.

Another major point that Grier stresses is the fact that smoking bans have a psychological impact on smokers. He states that smokers are never asked about their experiences or how they feel about the bans. Grier states that smokers’ habits are viewed as bad as illegal drugs. Many smokers feel they are being discriminated against.

The article I agree with most is Grier’s article. I believe that Grier is very knowledgeable and has lots of evidence to support his claims. I agree with the fact the secondhand smoke is not as harmful as it is portrayed to be. I disagree with the Harvard Heart Letter on its exaggeration of the exposure to secondhand smoke. Grier’s article appeals the most to me because he is introducing new evidence that I have never heard before. He looks beyond the research and states what the truth really is. I used to believe that secondhand smoke was just as dangerous as smoking, but after reading Grier’s article I realize that it is not as bad as it is portrayed to be.

I believe the best way to balance people’s right to health against and individuals right to smoke is to provide a designated area where smokers can smoke freely. I wonder if a designated smoking area would help solve some of the controversy between the two sides? I believe that the main issues with this topic is if non- smokers have the right to take away the rights of smokers and if smokers have the right to smoke freely anywhere they chose. I believe a middle ground should be put in place that will create a designated smoking area. Even though this seems like a simple solution I agree that this solution may not please everyone and may still remain a controversial issue. This would not expose nonsmokers to secondhand smoke and smokers would have a place they could smoke freely. This would help smokers feel a little more included in society.

In conclusion, Grier and Harvard Heart Letter discuss completely different points about smoking, secondhand smoke and smoking bans. Grier focuses on the truth that secondhand smoke is not as bad as it seems, and studies show no correlation of decrease in heart attacks since smoking bans. Therefore, he believes some laws should be eliminated and smokers should have some rights back. Harvard Heart Letter argues that secondhand smoke is terrifically dangerous and more smoking bans should be put into effect. Both authors deliver their points in different very different ways. Even after all the research the question still remains is secondhand smoke dangerous?

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