The common practice of smoking in buildings exposes non-smoking occupants to undesirable by-products under conditions where toxic contaminant removal is slow and unreliable. Over the past two decades, medical science has proven that non-smokers breathing second hand smoke are vulnerable to the same disease and illness that smokers suffer from.
The past two decades have been highlighted by repeated reports detailing that second hand environmental tobacco smoke is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and death. The reports further explain that deaths from second hand smoke are preventable and often urge the public to treat second hand smoke as an environmental toxin. The only reasonable course of action is to protect workers and the public from this health hazard.
The degree of risk from second hand smoke is not a new fad based on popular opinion. The dangers of second hand smoke have been verified for over a decade as workplaces have steadily become the first line of defence against second hand smoke. Employer awareness has placed increased pressure on banning smoking in the workplace. Passive smoke in the workplace increases the risk of developing cancer and it is incumbent upon employers to minimise exposure to second hand smoke. ...
hat smoking in the workplace or any other public building should be banned is not simply a matter of the public's right to expect good health and not be impaired by the toxic actions of others. Yet, with all the health ramifications that second hand smoke carries, there are other concerns. These concerns address the right that individuals have to not only a safe environment, but also a pleasant one. Second hand smoke, along with being toxic, is odorous and permeates our air and clothing with a foul odour. People have a right to breathe clean air whether at work, at school, or in a restaurant. The unpleasantness of second hand smoke far outweighs any rights the smoker may have to partake in a legal product.
The intrusion of second hand smoke is especially relevant to children. In the UK, 17,000 children are admitted to the hospital each year from the result of second hand smoke (Smoker Fact Sheet, 2006). It is the duty of society to protect these children when possible. Young children are at an increased risk from the dangers of second hand smoke. With a child's developing body, they run the risk of irritations and infections from second hand smoke. A child may develop pneumonia, coughs, asthma, and ear infections (Second Hand Smoke, n.d.). Children exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to miss school because of illness. This not only interferes with the child's education, but also burdens our health system.
It has been estimated that over 1000 deaths a year are attributable to second hand smoke. This is a conservative estimate (The Human Cost, n.d.). This places a high demand on our already stretched health care system. Allowing smokers to poison the people around them is unacceptable and its results reach far beyond the direct contamination. It affects all