Smoking is not a "right."
Debate Rounds (3)
To be certain, people have a basic "right" to choose unhealthily, and cigarettes are not prohibited.
However, there is no law protecting their "right" to use such products; by passing legislation prohibiting smokers from using in specified public areas, no guarantees of freedom are being suppressed. You may still use your drug, but you are disallowed from doing so in certain locations.
I can get naked, but I cannot do so at the mall.
I can scream, but I cannot do so at the library.
I can drink, but I cannot do so while driving.
You can smoke, but you cannot do so while in certain public areas.
I would further contend that all people should have a "right" to clean air to the extent possible. Pollution is a separate matter. For purposes of this debate, I would like to see legislation indicating that non-smokers should never be subjected to or inconvenienced by the substance use of a nearby smoker.
Without taking into regard your comments about homosexuality, as the two arguments are, by all accounts, unrelated- I would like to address the one aspect upon which you and I disagree.
I feel that areas wherein smoking is permitted needs to be limited. Your own experience may have led you to act respectfully when you smoked; however, I feel that many smokers are not respectful and generally behave as if they feel entitled to smoke wherever and whenever they would like. Smoking unarguably affects everyone within a certain radius. Generally, such legislation is not enforced anyway; it would simply be put forth to set a precedent indicating that the government supports the idea that people should not be unwillingly subjected to cigarette smoke.
Moving on, in my experience I spent a lot of time with smokers in several different states and found that they in a general sense made sure that they were not in the presence of other people they thought they would annoy or otherwise bother. And as a nonconsequentialist I cannot recommend the prohibition of smoking in "public areas". People must act in the maxim that could be treated as a universal law and since the smoke from cigarettes is what harms people in prohibiting smoking we must prohibit all activities that cause the release of harmful gas in "public areas". Since continues exposure to exhaust fumes has the same effect as continuous exposure to smoke we should be discussing if the use of motor vehicles should be allowed. (It's an extreme example yes but as a philosopher that's how we test theories.)
Now as a new topic. The generalization of "public areas" is far too vague. In some cases private businesses are forced to ban smoking when they would not wish to. That sign outside a private restaurant or retailer that says they can refuse service is an act of assertion over public interference as well as showing that they are not public but are instead private. They have the right to make their own rules but seem to be forced to follow regulations for public areas.
1. preserve clean air for all persons (non-smokers and otherwise)
2. protect the sick, elderly, children, and all persons pursuing a healthy lifestyle
3. prevent effects of second-hand smoke (e.g., lung cancer) to non-smokers
4. encourage smokers to smoke less often
5. prevent litter (cigarette butts) and pollution from public areas (people can litter their own homes and yards)
Most smokers don't just throw down their cig. buds if there's an ash tray within a seeable distance it will be placed there. Besides littering is already a fine and doesn't need to be specified to cigarettes. Now, as for pollution a hummer will pump out as much pollution as a cigarette will in ten minutes just by driving by. So treating this as a universal law we must ban any vehicle with as great pollution as a hummer. Moving in to the next portion of your argument (preventing effects to non-smokers) I have already stated that exhaust fumes are just as harmful as exposure to exhaust fumes and a few other activities that involve releasing gas like burning trash. So not only should burning trash be banned but we should ban driving cars with less than 20mpg. My last point will be that if a person wants to smoke, as smoking is an addiction and can by urge make you break the law, they will smoke. Just as anti-drug laws have almost no effect on drug use; smokers will smoke as they please with more awareness on officers a around them. In my experience they will make sure they wouldn't be bothering people but will still smoke of they feel the urge and avoid bothering those people by moving a few feet away.
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