29 Oct. 2002
Smokers always seem to think they get a raw deal. Where is it
written that smoking is a God given right? That "right" is assumed by
smokers and pushed onto non-smokers. And what about the right of non-
smokers to breathe fresh air? Smokers may not be allowed to smoke in
public buildings - but they can smoke in the privacy of their homes and
automobiles and almost anywhere outside that they want. The situations
portrayed in Stanley S. Scott's essay, such as, "(a man being) zapped in
the face by a man with an aerosol spray can" or a passenger being "fatally
stabbed" for lighting up on a bus, seem like extreme examples of abuse
towards smokers. Although I think it is wrong to physically hurt someone
who is smoking, I generally disagree with Scott's essay, "Smokers Get a Raw
Deal" because second-hand smoke is a health hazard and because smoking is a
nasty, toxic habit that should not be inflicted onto others.
One reason I disagree with Scott's essay is because second-hand smoke
can be lethal to those who breathe it on a regular basis. The harmful
effects of smoking have been studied over and over again with the same
results - Smoking kills! More recent studies have proven that smoking can
also kill non-smokers from second-hand smoke. There are even studies
showing that waitresses have higher rates of cancer and death from working
in restaurants and bars where smoking had been permitted. Do smokers have
the right to kill or harm those around them? It's hard to believe that
even smokers would argue with that.
Another reason I disagree with Scott's essay is because smoking is a
disgusting and toxic habit that should not be inflicted onto other people.
I believe that smokers have the right to
choose to smoke, but I also believe that non-smokers have the right to eat
in a restaurant or go to a bar and not smell like an ashtray when they
exit. Smoking causes toxic fumes that can be very irritating to non-
smokers and can cause fits of coughing. Smokers can certainly choose to
breath that toxic air and constantly smell like an old cigar, but I reserve
the same choice to be allowed to breathe clean air and smell fresh when
leaving a public building. Smokers are only limited when their choice
affects other people. That's the way it should be for everything.
Discrimination is a term that is usually used with a negative
connotation. Denying opportunities based on race, religion, or gender is
definitely wrong, but I believe that in all civilized societies,
discrimination can also be used in a positive way. For instance, parents
use discrimination on a daily basis for the benefit of their children.
They discriminate against movies, which may not be appropriate for their
child, or against friends who may be a bad influence on them. Anti-smoking
laws are in place to protect non-smokers from the harm of toxic smoke, and
that's not a bad thing. Smokers are lucky that cigarettes aren't banned
completely considering all the scientific data proving that smoking causes
cancer, lung disease, and death and costs tax payers millions of dollars in
medical expenses each year. I do think that because smoking is still a
legalized practice, there should be allowances for 'All-Smoking'
establishments where smokers who choose to go there can socialize with
other smokers. That's what it's all about - choice.
Scott, Stanley S. "Smokers Get a Raw Deal." Current Issues and Enduring
Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. New York: Bedford,