Smoking should be banned in public places

Walking to class is becoming a life-or-death adventure as the dangers of secondhand smoke are becoming more of a priority to Oregonians, with college campuses and parks going smoke-free.

Portland is working on becoming more of a smoke-free city. According to the American Lung Association in 2007, Portland updated an existing tobacco policy. The policy prevents smokers from smoking within 25 feet of any playground or picnic table. It also made all of Pioneer Courthouse Square, and now Director Park, smoke-free. Ideas such as more smoking restrictions in city parks are still being discussed.

The Multnomah County Health Department Tobacco Prevention Program states that 86 percent of Oregonians believe that people need to be protected from secondhand smoke, while 89 percent of Oregonians believe that secondhand smoke is harmful. Secondhand smoke kills approximately 800 Oregonians each year.

With over 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke and over 50 causes of cancer, it is no wonder that secondhand smoke can lead to heart disease, lung cancer, breast cancer, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma and other problems.

The American Lung Association states that even 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can impair coronary circulation—and that is in someone who does not smoke. Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke are 20¬ to 30 percent more likely to get lung cancer, and secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease by as much as 60 percent in nonsmokers.

Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for children. The American Lung Association reports that, across the nation, children exposed to secondhand smoke miss seven million more days of school each year. In Oregon, SIDS is the second leading cause of infant deaths, and exposure to secondhand smoke increases that risk.

Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at a higher risk for asthma, respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, colds, and lower respiratory tract infections. Approximately 7,500 infants and 15,000 children in the United States are hospitalized annually because of lower respiratory tract infections that are due to secondhand smoke exposure.

The City of Troutdale is working on preliminary plans to make their parks smoke-free, according to the office of the Community Health Educator at the Multnomah County Health Department, which completely supports eliminating secondhand smoke exposure in parks.

Across the state, more and more college campuses are becoming smoke-free. Most recently added to the list is Portland Community College, as of Sept. 9, 2009. Oregon Coast Community College became smoke-free in the 2009 fall term. Mount Hood Community College will soon join this list and become a non-smoking campus in January 2010.

The Oregon Tobacco-Free College Initiative and Portland State University have discussed the possibility that Portland State could become a smoke-free campus. One problem stands in the way, however, and that problem happens to run directly through campus—the Park blocks.

The Park blocks are publicly owned, so Portland State cannot make the campus smoke-free as long as smoking in parks is still legal. But with citizens pushing for smoke-free parks, hopefully Portland State will be able to protect their students, faculty and staff soon. Making the Park blocks smoke-free would not only protect those who attend school or work at Portland State, it would also protect more Portland citizens from contracting various diseases caused by secondhand smoke.

The National Cancer Institute has a list of the chemicals that are found in secondhand smoke. Some of these chemicals are arsenic, benzene (found in gasoline), cadmium (the metal used in batteries), ethylene oxide (a chemical used to sterilize medical equipment) and polonium-210 (a chemical that gives off radiation) and vinyl chloride (a toxic substance used when manufacturing plastics). Who wants any of those things in their body, let alone their lungs?

While it’s a person’s right to choose to smoke, it is also a person’s right to choose not to smoke. It is unfair to for a person to inhale secondhand smoke when they have chosen not to do it firsthand. Some people suffer from severe asthma or respiratory problems, so while inhaling secondhand smoke has been proven to be dangerous in a healthy non-smoker, it is especially risky for those with serious health problems.

So how do we solve this problem? Should we support one person’s freedom while ignoring another’s? No. What it comes down to is health. The concerns and major health issues linked to secondhand smoking are prominent issues, and the health of the citizens should be the city’s main concern. Thus, the best solution is to designate certain areas for smoking that are well-ventilated so as not to affect the health of those who choose not to smoke.

So, while you may still be able to smoke in Portland public parks, stay away from playgrounds. The next time you reach into your pocket to light up a cigarette, think first. Think about what you are doing to the environment, other people, children and animals. Think about what you are doing to yourself the next time you reach for that cigarette. Is it worth it? You decide.


By Meghan Daniels, October 6, 2009 Dailyvanguard

10 Responses to Smoking should be banned in public places

  1. dont smoke its horribly bad for you and you can die

  2. “Think about what you are doing to yourself the next time you reach for that cigarette. Is it worth it? You decide.” good quote

  3. Smoking Cigarettes in public is not safe. Think of what you are doing to your enviroment and the surronding people. Next time you smoke weed, or a cigartte think of where you are and keep other people safe.

  4. Smoking kills more people murdered, sickness, ect. combined.

  5. This article is ridiculous. I have several problems with it. First off all those chemicals you listed are only harmful when you mix them with the other chemicals to make up a product. for example the chemical that is in gasoline is only dangerous because its MIXED WITH THE OTHER CHEMICALS IN GASOLINE. And my second problem is with the government if i wanted you to take away my choices i would go live in a communist country and not deal with all this DRAMA in politics

  6. Smoking is not safe and espessically for little ones at places that are near smokers that are smoking. And having secondhand smoke is a risk for having problems and symptoms like smokers.

  7. HEY THERE BUDDY MY NAME IS MCLOVIIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  8. ROmanTilpetra

    Replying too:
    This article is ridiculous. I have several problems with it. First off all those chemicals you listed are only harmful when you mix them with the other chemicals to make up a product. for example the chemical that is in gasoline is only dangerous because its MIXED WITH THE OTHER CHEMICALS IN GASOLINE. And my second problem is with the government if i wanted you to take away my choices i would go live in a communist country and not deal with all this DRAMA in politics

    Response:
    This is the most retarded comment I have ever read. The whole thing is stupid! First off, you stated that you had several problems with the article. Then you only state 2 problems that are completely wrong! Obviously all of those chemicals are mixed together? So they are definitely terrible for you. The government is not taking away your choices.. you can smoke in the privacy of your own home and away from any public building. You can smoke on 95% of the earth so stop your bitching. The people that choose not to place a death stick in their mouth, are obviously concerned about their health and don’t want to take in your smoke. You should respect the health of others. So you can go suck it! Go smoke in your own house and get lung cancer. See if I care. Just don’t be disrespectful and smoke around me and my kids.

  9. smokin is good for me and everyone around me.
    :)

  10. An 18-year-old Smoker

    This article makes a good point to why smoking in public is bad. That’s right; secondhand smoke isn’t good for others and little kids.

    But look at it in this perspective: how often do non-smokers ‘actually avoid’ the smoke? When you non-smokers walk by a smoker, do you really notice until you’re past them 15 feet away or when you see it in your hand? do you look at them with hate because they’re hurting others and themselves?

    How long does the smoke last when it’s drifting together in the air? Doesn’t air condense and make gases separate as matter takes air particles and separates them? It’s actually safer for non-smokers to avoid walking where smokers are smoking. So why don’t you? The Earth is huge; 75 percent of it is water and less than probably 10 percent is populated worldwide.

    But I’m not only dogging on non-smokers; I’m a smoker and been smoking foralmost a year. I started when college began, but I’ll admit I move myself to a isolated area away from so many non-smokers so they don’t have to suffer. Smokers smoke to be calm and relaxed. I rather have a smoker smoking in public peacefully instead of one without one and starting violence. It happens a lot especially if you’re a non-smoker that doesn’t calmly ask for the smoker to move away IF THEY’RE NOT IN THE DESIGNATED AREA. Smokers who smoke in designated areas are doing the right thing because they are following the law or at least the respect of other non-smokers.

    Smoking is bad, yes; but that’s the person’s choice to continue or quit. You can change people by changing a higher power. Because you can’t be a leader without loyal followers.

    Who can truly be loyal to the government now?

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