The idea is to protect non-smokers from second hand smoke.
Smokers view this as a violation of their Constitutional rights.
The question is whose rights take precedence.
The mayor of Dallas supports the ban.
Restaurants feel the ban will hurt business.
Councilwoman says the ban does not go far enough.
Restaurants try to get enforcement of the ban blocked.
Smokers group tries to get ban's wording changed by using a petition.
Health Effects of Second Hand Smoke
Negative upper respiratory effects have been proven.
Asthma can be aggravated in children.
Links to heart disease and cancer have not been proven.
Exposure to second hand smoke can result in hospitalization for extremely sensitive individuals.
It's impossible to justify allowing people to smoke in public if it will cause harm or discomfort to even one person.
Based on this information, the ban is just.
This paper takes the position that the smoking ban is just, and that the rights of non-smokers to not inhale smoke is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke in public.
All of the references I provided you with are from online sources. The bibliography of the paper includes the web addresses for those sources. Therefore, I have provided you with the sources, since I have provided you with the links to those sources.
The Dallas Smoking Ban: A Good Idea
On January 22, 2003, the city of Dallas, Texas put an indoor smoking ban into effect. This ban prohibits smoking in most restaurants, bars, and clubs. The ban also includes public places such as schools, libraries, hospitals, and public transit systems. The idea behind the ban was to protect non-smokers from the detrimental effects of second hand smoke. However, as can be imagined, smokers have not taken this ban quietly. In fact, the Dallas smoking ban has generated a great deal of controversy. At issue with smokers is what they see as an unconstitutional infringement on their rights. Non-smokers, on the other hand, see the ban as beneficial for their health and the health of their children and families. The question in this debate then becomes one of which right is more important and takes precedence -- the right of smokers to smoke, or the right of non-smokers to not inhale cigarette smoke. This paper takes the position that the smoking ban is just, and that the rights of non-smokers to not inhale smoke is more important than the rights of smokers to smoke in public.
The Dallas city council approved the controversial smoking ban on a ten to three vote. The smoking ban, while affecting most public areas, still allows smoking in tobacco shops and pool halls, as long as these establishments also have a designated non-smoking area (Boie). Most Dallas area restaurants are opposed to the smoking ban, claiming that such a ban would be detrimental to their businesses. However, the mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller, has made it clear that she dreams of a smoke-free world, and that she hopes Dallas is a model city on that path. The mayor feels that the restrictions being imposed by the ban are not enough, and that second hand smoke will still be permitted to infiltrate the lungs of unsuspecting citizens (McFadden). The ordinance exempts outdoor patio areas and freestanding bars (that are not connected to a restaurant and derive seventy-five percent or more of their revenue from alcohol sales). The mayor, and other councilpersons who agree with her, had hoped that even these areas would have been included in the smoking ban.
In addition to the Dallas area restaurants, there are others who do not share the mayor's vision of a smoke free world. One group, the Dallas Democracy Project, has been petitioning voters to amend the ban (Savona). In order to move forward with action resulting from their petition, the group needs to get at least forty-seven thousand signatures. The group feels that it will have no trouble obtaining this many signatures for their cause. If the Dallas Democracy Project does get the requisite number of signatures, the city council could either consider amending the ban at that time, or else the issue would go to a public referendum. The group is not trying to overturn the smoking ban completely. What it wants is for the ban to be amended to allow ventilated smoking areas in the public places currently affected by the ban.
So, just how realistic is all of this talk of the dangers of second hand smoke? Is the Dallas smoking ban just, in light of the scientific evidence, or could it be that the smokers are right and that the evidence against second hand smoke is not enough to justify taking away their personal liberties by this ban? First of all, scientists have documented the presence of carcinogens and other toxic substances on the hair and clothing of non-smokers who have been exposed to areas in which other people have been smoking. Further, extensive studies have been done into the effects of second-hand smoke on non-smokers. These studies have been conducted over the course of many years, and have yielded some impressive, and definitive, evidence regarding the effects of second-hand smoke. Some of the most definitive findings include:
1) Irritation of the eyes, nose, and respiratory tract are some of the most firmly established effects of cigarette smoke on non-smokers.
2) Children who are exposed to second hand smoke are particularly vulnerable to upper respiratory infections, fluid build-up in the ears, exaggeration of asthma, and other respiratory symptoms.
3) Adults who are exposed to second hand smoke are at increased risk for respiratory problems, especially an increase in the symptoms of pre-existing asthma or emphysema.
4) While there is a connection between the exposure of non-smokers to second hand smoke and lung cancer, the connection is a weak one.
5) Also weak is the connection between heart disease and regular exposure to second hand smoke.
6) Reported links between regular exposure to second hand smoke and chronic disease, such as cancer, have not been scientifically established ("Executive Summary").
Therefore, it is scientifically certain that exposure to second hand smoke can and does cause respiratory distress and other respiratory ailments in non-smokers. Particularly at risk are children. These results are not surprising. Anyone who has been in a room in which people were smoking, even if the smoking was occurring far across the room, has no doubt experienced the respiratory, nasal, or throat discomfort that accompanies the inhalation of second hand smoke. For those people who have a pre-existing respiratory condition or who are particularly sensitive to such things, being around second hand smoke can be absolutely tortuous. In fact, for such people, exposure to second hand smoke can even be dangerous, as it could trigger an asthma attack or a severe allergic reaction. It is difficult to believe anyone would want to subject another person to that kind of danger.
Not only is it hard to believe, but it is also hard to justify. How many children with asthma come into restaurants with their parents and are exposed to second hand smoke, only to have an asthma attack or to go home and be sick for weeks? How many such children have actually had to go to the hospital with an asthma attack from second hand smoke? The American Lung Association estimates between seven thousand five hundred and fifteen thousand children are hospitalized each year with negative reactions to second hand smoke ("Second Hand Smoke and Your Family"). Those who advocate for smoker's rights have certainly not taken this into consideration. What is more important -- preserving the so-called right of the smoker to smoke in public (which, incidentally, is found nowhere in the Constitution), or protecting the health of an innocent child? The answer, to a moral society, is clear.
In fact, if one looks at the U.S. Constitution closely, one will find that it is pretty specific on the rights and liberties it gives us. We are given the freedom of speech, the press, religion, an assembly. We are also given the right to keep and bear arms. There are several protections we are given when dealing with the judicial system. Certain responsibilities and duties are given to our government. The rights to life, liberty, and property are not specifically in the Constitution, but are the philosophical bases upon which it is written. Where, then, is the right to smoke in public? There are laws in certain places prohibiting drinking alcohol on the streets, and no one seems to go into an uproar about these ordinances. Banning smoking in public places seems to fall well within these same parameters. No one is saying that people can not smoke. The intention is merely to ban smoking in public places, just like drinking alcohol on the street is banned, but not drinking alcohol at all.
Those who advocate for smoker's rights to smoke in public claim…