Bans on Smoking in American Cities: New Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

BANS ON SMOKING IN AMERICAN CITIES: NEW YORK CITY & LOS ANGELES

Public Health

Moving with unexpected swiftness, New York state lawmakers passed a sweeping anti-smoking measure that makes New York the third state after California and Delaware to ban smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and hotels. Within hours of the New York bill's passage, Governor George E. Pataki signed the tough measure, which exempts only America-Indian-owned casinos, cigar bars already licensed in New York City, fraternal clubs, outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or awning, private homes, and personal but not company cars. New York's ban will take effect July 24 in areas where smoking now is permitted and where local ordinances are weaker. Although the law will not supersede the stricter measures previously passed in Westchester and Nassau counties, it will replace elements of New York City's new law, which took effect March 30.

Bans on Smoking in American Cities: New York City & Los Angeles

Over the course of my life, I have lived in both Los Angeles and New York City; therefore, I think I can offer a distinct opinion regarding the smoking bans in bars and restaurants. I am from Los Angeles and lived in Los Angeles for many years before the smoking bans took effect. I moved to New York City for a time, before the smoking bans and during them. My answer to the debate over the smoking bans in both cities is a bit ambiguous and conditional. Overall, I do agree with the smoking bans in bars and restaurants, but on the other hand, I do not agree, because smoking is a traditional element to the bar/restaurant atmosphere. Moreover, some bars such as sports bars and hookah bars are specific
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places people go to smoke and drink. Why should their experience, which they fully pay for, be subjugated to further regulation?

By now in the 21st century and the age of the Internet, people who choose to smoke cigarettes know what they are getting themselves into and if they do not, it is certainly very easy for them to gather the information. Education is a method that many states, including California use as a way to increase the chances of a piece of legislation such as a smoking ban take hold:

As with other public health laws, the primary mode for implementing the Smoke-Free Workplace Law in 1995 was education, with formal enforcement actions (citations and fines) kept to a minimum. A public education campaign focusing on the dangers of secondhand smoke (the justification for the law) that started 6 months before the law took effect eased implementation and minimized the need for formal enforcement. (Magzamen et al., The New Battleground, 2001)

Human beings have chosen to participate in activities that in moderation and in excess threaten their health for the duration of our existence. Perhaps it is one of the many singular behaviors that distinguish us as humans. If people want to go to a bar and smoke, they should be allowed to do so. Everyone who enters and works there deserves to be fully informed of the conditions and potential hazards of their workplace. There is evidence that demonstrates, though, that a smoke free work environment produces and sustains positive aspects of health for workers and patrons:

Stricter workplace smoke-free laws could protect patrons' and employees' health while also being a cost effective measure…

Sources Used in Documents:

References:

Hahn, RN, E.J., Rayens, PhD, M.K., York, RN, PhD, N., Zhang, RN, M., Dignan, PhD, Delaimy, MD, PhD, W.K. (2006) Effects of a Smoke-Free Law on Hair Nicotine and Respiratory Symptoms of Restaurant and Bar Workers. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 48(9), 906 -- 913.

Magzamen, S., & Glantz, PhD, S.A. (2001) The New Battleground: California's Experience with Smoke-Free Bars. American Journal of Public Health, 91(2), 245 -- 252.

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