Smoking and Public places

Recently the announcement by the Ministry of Health regarding the ban of smoking in public places next year was welcomed by non-smokers and as expected the smokers were unhappy, but what was surprising was the owners of this restaurants were also unhappy, though smokers usually make up about only 25% of patrons at this places.

I will not talk here about all the ill effects of smoking but rather look at the benefits to everyone concerned.

Benefits to non-smokers – This goes without saying as non-smokers are the ones who suffer from both second and third hand smoking. This has been shown to have an effect on one’s health. Imagine the children, pregnant women and elderly who are exposed to this smoke. Also persons with asthma, cancer and cancer survivors that are exposed to this smoke. A lot of times people are ignorant about what second and third hand smoking can do to one’s health. This non-smokers will definitely benefit from this ban.

Benefits to the restaurant owners – The owners and workers at this places seem to be oblivious of the effects of smoking on their health. I suppose they only think of the bottom line and health is not one of their main priorities and they will only regret much later in life. So this ban will at least safe guard the workers’ health and of those owners who actively run their business. Also I believe they will attract a whole lot of new patrons who will now bring the whole family to enjoy the food at this places.

Benefits to smokers –One of the hardest habit to break is smoking because of both the physical and psychological dependence. A number of my patients want to quit but the habit is hard to break. However when this smokers are on long flights or in long meetings where they cannot smoke they seem to manage. So making it difficult for smokers to light up and especially if they are keen to stop smoking this ban might actually help.

We are not against smokers. Every person has his right to do what he wants. We all need to take personal responsibility for our own health. However we all need to understand that cigarette smoke is injurious to not only the smoker’s health but everyone around him, whether family, friends or strangers and it is not fair for them to be exposed to second and third hand smoke. I really commend the Ministry of Health on having a stand on this issue.

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