Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In the News: Public Smoking Bans Reduce Smoking at Home

A new study has found that people who live in counties that ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars are more likely to shield their families from secondhand exposure at home, especially if they have young children (Source: MSN).

When the New York State smoking ban took effect in 2003, I remember it caused an uproar at the donut shop where I worked. The shop was a smoker's haven, with a regular group of smokers cycling in and out for two to three hours at a time, perched over their ashtrays at the end of the counter.

I was so used to the smoke that I couldn't smell it. But, we had our share of angry customers who brought back donuts because the smell lingered on the food.

At home, I was surrounded by the smoke from my mom's cigarettes, and unknown to me, I sometimes smelt of it too. After we were married, Ben confided that while we were dating, he could smell smoke in my hair. I was mortified.

I know that the smoking ban still has its opponents, but I'm grateful that I no longer have to be surrounded by something that can harm my health or cause me embarrassment.

It's a common argument that smokers have the right to smoke where they please. But, I disagree. Knowing that smoking can harm the people around you, why would you persist in smoking in public? It's disrespectful to others and says that you don't care about their health or their comfort.

That some smokers have taken the bans a step further and outlawed smoking in their own homes is heartening. It's considerate of people living in the same household, especially non-smokers. Plus, it prevents the furniture and entire house from smelling of smoke. To me, it's a win-win.

What are your thoughts on smoking bans in public places? Are you for or against? Has the ban in New York State had an impact on your smoking at home?

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