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The act of smoking harms nearly every organ in the human body, also causing numerous amounts of diseases and reduces the overall life expectancy of an average smoker. It has been proven that 60 million people worldwide, die from tobacco-related diseases.1 Smoking is directly linked to lung cancer witch is currently the leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. With all the research and statistics proving that smoking is deadly, the obvious question arises to the popularity of it. Smoking is in need of greater laws and penalties to reduce the risk of cancer and other lethal diseases. By creating more strict laws and enforcing substantial consequences to underage smoking and second hand smoking the world would better as a whole. Decreases in cancer statistics, health care costs and lives of innocent people would benefit from this change in society.
A recent study conducted at an elementary school in Columbia asked children what they thought of smoking. The children’s remarks applied to the general consensus that smoking should be banned. Many children all over the world are exposed to the health risks of second hand smoke, weather it be in the safety of there own home or in other public places. There are over 4000 chemical compounds in second hand smoke; 200 of which are known to be poisonous, and upwards of 60 have been identified as carcinogens.2 Children who are exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis are put at a high risk of health issues including lung cancer, nasal sinus cancer, asthma and middle ear infections in children and various other respiratory illnesses.3 A recent bill has been proposed to make it illegal to smoke in ones own vehicle while accompanied by a child under the age of ten. Those who are found guilty of this crime could be charged and possibly fined up to one hundred dollars. The age of the child should not matter, weather they are a newborn or eighteen years of age, they are still being exposed to the same chemicals and therefore there should be no age restriction on the bill. Although this law would not entirely eliminate children’s exposure to second hand smoke it raises many debates and shows the severity of the issue. The consequence of being charged and fined may open the eyes of many parents exposing their innocent children the life long risks of second hand smoke.
Steven Harper is currently fighting for tougher laws dealing with the issue of underage smokers. The law still stands that it is not actually illegal for underage people to smoke, it is illegal for underage people to purchase the cigarettes. The issue that arises is that the moment someone buys cigarettes for an underage smoker they are entitled to smoke all they want without legal punishments. Also the possibility of cigarettes being sold to minors is unfortunately high, some convenience store workers seem to be taking this issue lightly, by simply avoiding checking the age of the customer. Harper feels the solution to the problem would be a “Tobacco License Control Board” which will sell licenses to convenience stores, and take them away if they are caught selling to minors.4 Having this license in place, convenience store owners would start treating the issue more cautiously, therefore reducing the number of cigarettes sold to minors. Harper also feels increasing the tobacco taxes to a minimum price of ten dollars per pack by 2007 will also help decrease the number of people who purchase cigarettes. After this has been emplaced he plans to continue raising tobacco taxes seven percent every year, at that rate the price per pack would reach twenty dollars by 2017. (4) The problem with this is that the outrageous taxes being put on cigarettes only affect a small number of consumers. These tax hikes are believed to be linked to the increase in the crime rate. Those who are addicted feel the necessary need to do whatever it takes to obtain the cigarettes, including robbery. Therefore by annually increasing the price the crime rate will only increase as well, causing the annual action to be rather useless.
Second hand smoke is a leading issue in today’s society. Many actions are being taken to permanently ban cigarette use in restaurants, workplaces, and other public buildings. As of February 7th, 2007, the Maryland SoccerPlex and the South Germantown Rotational Park are striving to become the country’s first smoke-free outdoor venues. The question arises to many that if public buildings are becoming smoke-free then why shouldn’t outdoor public events also follow the trend. Trish Heffelfinger, the executive director of these places states that “everyone should be able to watch their kids and enjoy watching there kids without being exposed to second-hand smoke.”6 Smoking in the SoccerPlex and South Germantown Rotational Park seems to be only polluting the healthy environment and the lungs of many bystanders. Even though the smokers are outside, and by law this is acceptable, they are still exposing innocent people to their second hand smoke. This alone is ridding the human rights of many bystanders. Having this law in place ensures that people are in a safe environment where ever they may go. By further eliminating designated smoking areas such as the outdoors, the message to quit becomes prominently installed in the minds of many who smoke. Making it simply inconvenient and nearly impossible to smoke may help reduce the number of smokers in many countries around the world.
Overall it is clear to see that something must be done to eliminate the number of smokers around the world. Enforcing greater laws and punishments would help this issue immensely, and maybe even prevent people from starting in the first place. If these strict laws were put in place immediate decreases in health care and cancer statistics would also follow. Creating a smoke free society would allow people to live there lives to the fullest, and also benefit the world as a whole.