New York’s Ban on Smoking in Bars and Restaurants

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For this assignment, I will discuss why I agree with New York’s ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. On 26 March, 2003, the New York State legislators approved a state-wide smoking ban in all bars and restaurants. Governor Pataki signed it immediately; a similar bill was defeated one year earlier. The ban took effect July 24, 2003. Many of us believe in our rights or freedoms as citizen, what many forget is sometimes our right or freedoms will impact the rights or freedoms of others. I have countless friends who smoke; I do not. When Texas started to embrace the no smoking policy pioneered by New York, I was pleased.

We all have the right or freedom to smoke, but not when it puts others at risk. In a 2007 Gallup poll the poll found that 54% of Americans favored a complete ban inside of restaurants, 34% favored a ban in all hotel rooms, and 29% favored a ban inside of bars. Second hand smoking can be more dangerous than smoking the cigarettes themselves. According to the American Cancer Society Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, is a mixture of 2 forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco: the smoke that comes from the end of the burning cigarette, and smoke that is exhaled by a smoker.

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Some statistics released by the American Cancer Society state:

  • An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers
  • About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
  • 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually
  • Increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma
  • More than 750,000 middle ear infections in children

The belief that smoking is a right is to say the least, wrong; it is a freedom that is given to all adults, and like all freedoms, it can be taken away when abused. If we look at the cost associated with smoking, the benefits of making it illegal far exceed the benefits for keeping it legal. When someone chooses to fire up a Paul Mall, what they are really doing is potentially shortening their lives or the lives of those around them. What many smokers fail to understand, if 30 out of 100 people are smoking within the Bar or Restaurant at any given time, the workers are inhaling smoke for their entire work shift.

I don’t know how many cigarettes that equates to, but I’m sure it is many times than the number of cigarettes each of them smoke independently, increasing their (the non-smoker) risk of lung decease or related health illnesses. It is hard for me to think that smokers do not understand the difference between a right and a freedom; I think they just don’t care about the non-smoker. The reason I choose not to smoke is because I grew up with a father who smoked, as a teen (like most if not all) I tried smoking, my dad never had to tell us kids not to touch his cigarettes, he smoked unfiltered cigarettes.

I think it was the smell more than anything that bothered me; rather I was with my dad, or my grandparents, they were smoking. My grandparents came from Poland when they were in their late 20s and nearly everyone in Europe smoke, not sure why. But even my dad understands why secondhand smoke is bad, he does not smoke in the house (anymore), nor will he smoke inside his vehicle if someone else in riding with him. Growing up in the Military, I think more Soldiers dip chewing tobacco than smoke cigarettes. I believe the only victim in this is the person doing the dipping.

Those who choose to smoke do so knowing what the outcome is, when they ignore the facts surrounding the health issues, then the government needs to step in and protect those choose not to or who have to work in the environment created by the smoker. No one can say they are being discriminated against because they choose to smoke, no one is born a smoker, it is a choice and a bad one at that. The New York legislature was able to take the first step in ensuring a better work environment for the employees, in reading about the increased risk of health decease based of second hand smoke, they needed to protect their constituents.

The number of carcinogens given off of tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds; more than 60 of these are known or suspected of causing cancer. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), secondhand smoke meets the standard to be classified as a potential cancer-causing agent.


http://www. cancer. org/Cancer/CancerCauses/TobaccoCancer/secondhand-smoke http://www. gallup. com The American Cancer Society

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New York’s Ban on Smoking in Bars and Restaurants. (2018, May 21). Retrieved from

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