Lighting up should never be a crime
Smokers just want to feel free to smoke where they want to. They already feel small from the public pressure to stop smoking. Smokers are increasingly shunned and barred from lighting up in public places, and situations are likely to get worse for them.
Following workplaces, public parks, bars and restaurants, the L.A. City Council approved a ban Monday to outlaw smoking at city beaches.
There are two main reasons health and environmental advocates support the ban.
One of reasons for the creation of the ban are the cigarette butts left on the beach. It is true that cigarette butts are the most common litter on the beach and poison the sand and water. However, what about all other debris on the beach, such as cans and papers that accumulate?
If they ban smoking because of cigarette butts poisoning the beaches, then they should ban everything else as well.
Another reason advocates support the ban is because secondhand smoke endangers beachgoers.
I agree that a person has been affected by secondhand smoke when his clothes smell after going to a bar or club which allows smoking, because smoke piles up inside.
However, outside at the beaches, does one really get serious health problems by inhaling smoke from somebody else’s cigarette?
Smoke goes up in the air right away and won’t affect a person unless he or she is really close to a smoker. Even if one was close enough to a smoker, he could just move to avoid inhaling smoke.
Not only does the ban stigmatize smokers, but it could also cause some problems.
The beaches in L.A. are some of the most popular places for tourists to visit.
The ban could deter potential international travelers who would look forward to sitting on the beach and enjoying a coffee or a smoke. It could lead to lost business.
The beach is a place for people to socialize. If smokers want to socialize at the beach, they would have to quit smoking. Smokers have to smoke wherever they are. Some smoke because they have an addiction or because they want to. Many smokers enjoy smoking when they drink. However, they go into a bar, and they can’t have a cigarette with a beer because of a smoking ban. So, they try to take their beer outside, but they can’t drink on the street. The ban also makes one wonder how far the government will go to control people’s social habits. Some smokers believe that the government is forcing them not to smoke by narrowing areas where they’re allowed to smoke. Telling smokers where not to smoke is like telling them where not to go.
Let’s take an example of the government’s control of citizens’ lives. Singapore, known for its strict clean policy, has various acts regulating the daily life of its citizens. Smoking in public places is prohibited by a smoking act, and throwing trash away is strictly banned by the Environmental Public Health Act.
Singapore also has a law called the Miscellaneous Offenses Act, which prohibits various daily activities, such as spitting on roads and even tells people how to keep a pet.
Our government is based on the freedom of individual rights. Anti-smoking activists will pursue smokers until they eradicate smoking from the earth. If advocaters went too extreme, it would be too much control of the government. Do we want America to be a more regulated country like Singapore?
The smoking ban on the beaches could be just one ofseveral bans, but it also could be another regulation of citizens’ daily lives.