Public Tobacco Use: Preservation or a Violation of Human Rights?

The debate of constitutionality in regards to smoking in public may be an area both sides wish to avoid. Smoking in public exposes millions to dangerous chemicals, even children and infants.

There is an ongoing debate as to the constitutionality of tobacco use in public places. Smokers and advocates of Big Tobacco argue that smoking in public is a right of the individual. Anti-smoking groups and non-smokers argue that it is their right to choose whether or not to be exposed to cigarette smoke, and a growing number is choosing not to be exposed.

A Growing Concern

The issue of smoking in public is recently becoming more of a hot topic as the dangers of tobacco use makes its way into the public eye. The information has been present for many years, but tobacco lobbyists have been able to prevent the information from becoming mainstream. However, in recent years, many anti-tobacco groups have been making headway in the battle against cigarette companies. Information is becoming mainstream, easily accessible, and in some cases, hardly avoidable.

The Rise of E-Cigarettes & Smoking Cessation

In part, this may be due to the rise in popularity of electronic cigarettes and other smoking cessation methods. As e-cigarettes become a booming industry and a major constituent in smoking cessation, tobacco lobbyists are spending millions to fight their legality and increase regulation. The truth is, Big Tobacco has nothing to gain by the use of e-cigarettes, and everything to lose. E-cigarettes contain none of the 7,000 deadly chemicals found in cigarette smoke. They further offer the perfect transition for smokers to switch successfully, and quit smoking for good.

This has led to Big Tobacco creating the argument as to the validity of public smoking bans. In some cases, this argument has delayed the prohibition of smoking in certain areas. In others, it has begun a constitutional debate as to whether law makers have the authority to ban smoking in certain public areas.

Facts vs Opinion

This argument has points coming from both sides. Smokers argue that it is their right as free Americans to smoke when, and where they please. The term “tax-paying citizen” is used most commonly. However, the fact that cigarette smoke has been proven to be a conglomerate of poisons that are deadly to human beings is a point that is hard to discredit. The fact is, second-hand smoke carries as many risk factors upon exposure as direct smoking. Third-hand smoke contains the same 7,000 chemicals as smoking directly, as well.

Facts vs Facts

In light of these facts, exposure to harmful chemicals is unavoidable if smoking is allowed in public places. Non-smokers are increasingly becoming more aware of the dangers of exposure to themselves, and their families. Constitutionality should be avoided during these debates. After all, if an individual has the right to expose others, including children and babies, to deadly poisons – perhaps we are having the wrong discussion altogether.