Why do these health hazards get a free pass?
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
I absolutely loathe cigarettes. I’ve never smoked one in my life, and I believe they are one of the most dangerous habits to indulge in.
Cigarettes kill thousands of people every year, and have zero health benefits. They can affect one’s health negatively in so many ways, are one of the most addictive substances on the planet, and are just disgusting in general. Cigarettes smell terrible, create smoke and ash, and damage the environment as they are even a fire hazard.
It’s illegal to drink alcohol in public. In areas of the US where marijuana is legal, smoking it in public remainsillegal, and Canada will likely follow suit during legalization in 2018. It’s against the law to smoke inside any public building. So why is it okay to light up in outdoor public areas?
Many provinces have legislation banning smoking within a certain distance of doorways. This varies by area and is difficult to enforce. If someone is walking down the street and passes a doorway but immediately keeps walking, they’re technically breaking the law, but most likely will not be punished. In addition, this still allows second-hand smoke to annoy and irritate others, as it does in any public space.
Second-hand smoke is proven to affect others’ health. Even without the specific health hazard, it’s gross and annoying. Nobody wants that smell and smoke wafting into their face. Cigarettes create a nasty and lingering stench around where they’re smoked. If you are a smoker, that’s your choice, but your habit should not be affecting anyone else around you.
I don’t feel much sympathy for smokers and I encourage them to quit by any means necessary. I believe a blanket ban on smoking in public would contribute to this greatly. Nevertheless, I understand that some people will smoke no matter what. Just as private outdoor spaces have designated smoking areas, there’s no reason why public spaces can’t have the same. Areas where smoking is allowed should be the exception rather than the norm, if it must be allowed in some capacity.
The government encourages everyone to quit smoking and provides free resources to do so. Further banning the practice in certain areas would reduce the amount of cigarette use.
If we can’t smoke other substances in public, why are cigarettes the exception?