to ban smoking in all public places
Debate Rounds (3)
round 1 acceptance only
Smokers have a right to enjoy themselves.
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood"1. So, smokers have the same rights as non-smokers and should not be targeted because of how they choose to live their lives. Article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay" 1.If some people get their rest and leisure by smoking with friends in a pub, it seems that governments should make it possible, by at least having smoking areas in pubs, restaurants, etc. A ban on smoking in all public places would mean smokers could never enjoy themselves like they want to, at least not legally. There are many groups which feel that the rights of the smoker are being ignored,
This ban would be difficult to enforce.
Given the popularity of smoking, a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places would be difficult to enforce, requiring constant vigilance by many police officers or security cameras. It has been reported that smoking bans are not being enforced in Yakima, Washington 1, Atlantic City2, Berlin 3and other places. In New York City, the major has said that the New York Police Department (NYPD) are too busy to enforce the ban on smoking in their parks and on their beaches, and that the job will be left to citizens4.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly of the United Nations, http://www.un.org...
Second-hand smoke kills
It is very difficult to properly scientifically measure the risk for non-smokers of being exposed to second-hand smoke. To do a proper experiment, scientists would need to find a large group of people who had never been exposed to cigarette smoke before, split them into two groups, and then systematically expose one group to second-hand smoke for a period of time while the other group stayed smoke-free. They would then have to wait and see if more of the group exposed to second-hand smoke developed lung cancer than the other group over their lives. This would be a very expensive and time-consuming experiment. Besides this, it would be very difficult to find people who had never breathed in cigarette smoke and keep half of them that way for their whole lives for comparison. Because of these difficulties in the ideal experiment, scientists often just use questionnaires, asking people to try and remember how many cigarettes the person they live with smokes in a day, for how many hours a day they are exposed to smoking, etc. These kinds of studies are far from precise, since human memory is not very accurate, and so no truly scientific conclusions can be drawn1. Therefore, it is not a fact that non-smokers exposed to the smoke of others are at a serious health risk, so the proposition cannot say that having to sometimes be around other people who smoke goes against non-smokers' human rights.
Thank you for a great debate opponent.
Yes, smokers have a right too enjoy themselves, but no at the expense of others. Firstly, secondhand smoke is a killer, according to United States Surgeon general, 2.5 million non-smokers died from smoking related diseases in the United States alone, a staggering number. Now, i am not for the complete and utter ban of the practice of smoking altogether, but i am for the ban of smoking in public, as it puts non-smokers in harms way. We don't need any more studies or tests. The general consensus in the medical community is that smoking kills, and second hand smoke is almost as deadly. Now, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the WHO (World Health Organization) have both declared second hand smoke as a known carcinogen already, and in most developed nations, the consensus is already there. Smoking is bad, secondhand smoke is also bad.
Now on to my next point. Yes, a ban would be difficult to enforce, but I believe it is better to put these systems in place, and try to enforce them, rather than just giving up on the issue. Let's say, hypothetically, that we were to remove a ban on murder, because it still happens despite being illegal, therefore enforcement is pointless, besides killers have the right to enjoy themselves as well. Naturally this would be met by public outcry, and rage. But secondhand smoke is also a killer, and to longer we allow for such dangerous substances in the public, the longer we are condoning the murder of all of those killed by the smoke of smokers. So back to the point, how do we enforce a ban? By making illegal the action. Place fines and jail sentences to found the police, and get the people involved in an anti-smoking campaign. Difficulty while an obstacle, is not all powerful and can be overcomed.
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