Laws Regarding Smoking in Public Places





Laws Regarding Smoking in Public Places


Smoking bans are rules that comprise of criminal laws as well as regulations within the public health subsection. These policies forbid smoking in public places. Nations define the concept of smoking differently with the most stringent rules terming the act as the inhalation of a substance containing tobacco while the lenient policies defining it as the possession of a lit tobacco substance (Anger, Michael and Thomas 12). In the United States, all states have public policies regarding this subject matter. Although they have adopted a general principle based on the national laws, there are certain dissimilarities in the integrated elements. Accordingly, this paper will highlight the history of these laws. Moreover, a comparison of the common arguments for and against the ban will be essential in comprehending the essence of such policies in the American society.


The earliest form of smoking bans in the world was in 1575 following the rules enacted by the Roman Catholic Church, which prohibited the use of any substance containing tobacco by its adherents in Mexico (Zellers and Samantha 59). These enhanced efforts by administrative organs in other countries including Germany and Australia. In the 20th century, many American regions established zones designated for smoking. Additionally, the administrators in the state of Minnesota endorsed the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act in 1975 as a way of prohibiting smoking in public places (Callinan, Clarke, and Kelleher 44). The main instigator of these laws and the subsequent debate was the health effects associated with smoking. Researchers indicate that the effects of smoking and those of secondhand smoke are largely similar. The contentious nature of these pubic policies has led to the involvement of various parties. Experts in the medical field and other relevant research platforms, as well as nationalized agencies promoting public health, are the main proponents with restaurant and bar proprietors opposing the rules (Kvasnicka 69).

Acquired Positions

Medical researches are the underlying principle in the campaigns held to emphasize on the essence of the smoking bans enacted in various American states. To begin with, evaluators of this public health issue highlight that ailments such as lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis, and heart complications can occur due to smoking or secondhand smoke. Recent statistics state that people who dwell in the same house with a smoker are 20-30 % more likely to suffer from lung cancer as compared to those who do not live close to people with this habit (Kvasnicka 71). In addition, the evaluations conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) highlight that the air quality in the settlements located within New York is higher than that in New Jersey where smoking in public places is within the law. Likewise, a recent survey in Norway depicted a significant reduction in the level of nicotine in smokers and non-smokers. This followed the prohibition of this habit in the workplace (Pampel 90).

Nonetheless, opponents of the existing smoke bans indicate that the enactment and implementation of these public policies is in line with the concept of junk science. Advocates of these rules highlight that about 50 % of smokers die from a smoking-related ailment. Conversely, the opposers of these policies state that the actual figures equate to 8.3 % (Pampel 92). Moreover, they assert that prohibition of smoking in certain zones is less effective as compared to enlightening smokers on other alternative habits that cause minimal harm to them and other people. They also use the principle of libertarianism, which disregard the concept of punishing an individual for his or her own benefit. In addition to violating the civil liberties of smokers, these opponents claim that these rules have had a negative effect on small businesses (Smoking in Public Places 84). Likewise, they argue that advocates of the smoking bans have been using these laws in order to file lawsuits against the tobacco industry on unjustified grounds.


In accordance with the existing laws on smoking in public places, the relevant agencies at the state and national levels may extend the application of these policies in the near future. This includes prohibiting any form of advertisement conducted by participants in the larger tobacco industry. The rationale that might instigate this extensive policy is the perceived influence of such advertisements on minors. Campaigners of the smoking bans emphasize that teenagers may adopt the behavior from people around them in their daily lives as well as media platforms, which are one of the most influential tools in the modern society.

In addition, the taxes incurred by the tobacco industry will increase as a way of reducing their productivity. The participants in this industry will then forward these additional expenses to the smokers, an aspect that will increase the price of cigarettes and other products containing tobacco. These possible future actions will not only be applicable in America, but also in other regions of the world, especially since most countries have enacted similar policies. Accordingly, the global campaigns and collaborations will make it difficult for the tobacco industry to conduct its operations profitably. In order to cater for the needs of smokers and nonsmokers, the state authorities should increase the number of smoking zones in various public places.


Annotated Bibliography

Laws Regarding Smoking in Public Places

Anger, Silke, Michael Kvasnicka, and Thomas Siedler. One Last Puff? – Public Smoking Bans and Smoking Behavior. Essen: Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, 2010. Print.

These authors highlight the views of opposers and proponents regarding the smoking regulations. This is relevant in this discussion since the paper seeks to argue for and against the policies in equal measures.

Callinan, JE, A Clarke, K Doherty, and C Kelleher. “Legislative Smoking Bans for Reducing Secondhand Smoke Exposure, Smoking Prevalence and Tobacco Consumption.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. (2010). Print.

The medical evaluations used in this book regarding the effects of secondhand smoke are useful in validating the existence of the smoking bans in the United States and other zones of the world.

Kvasnicka, Michael. Public Smoking Bans, Youth Access Laws, and Cigarette Sales at Vending Machines. Essen: RUB, Dep. of Economics, 2010. Print.

Kvasnicka highlights the elements of the smoking regulations with an emphasis on the influence that such habits have in young people. These ideologies relate to the points highlighted in this paper since the policies aim at protecting innocent civilians.

Pampel, Fred C. Tobacco Industry and Smoking. New York: Facts On File, 2004. Print.

In this book, Pampel uses various approaches to present a detailed evaluation of the entire tobacco industry, an aspect that facilitates the comprehension of the effects of the existing laws with respect to smoking in public places.

“Smoking in Public Places.” (2004). Print.

This documented interview contains the results of a recent survey on the suitability of the smoking bans and the necessary amendments. This is useful in justifying the existence of these laws.

Zellers, Leslie, and Samantha K. Graff. Workplace Smoking: Options for Employees and Legal Risks for Employers. Saint Paul, Minn: Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, 2008. Print.

These two writers analyze the effects of smoking regulations in the workplace. This also includes the effects of such rules on the employers and their workers. This makes it a relevant source in such a discussion that focuses on the impact of the existing laws in various settings.







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