A Smoking Ban Too Far

The smoking ban has already appeared in New York City. But it will not come into force till May 23. However, the rule is effective on benches and lampposts around town.

The smoking ban was passed by the City Council because it considers that nonsmoking people have not to inhale even a small amount of secondhand smoke, whether in a restaurant or a Central Park meadow. Now there is the smoking ban that operates in the inside of buildings. Banning it outdoors is much weaker and this fact may lead to undermine of the main goals of the antismoking campaign.

New York City smoking ban

New York City smoking ban

Michael B. Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health, have testified before court proceedings, city council meetings and Congressional hearings maintaining smoking bans in workplaces, restaurants, bars and casinos. He said about the scientific evidence which shows that chronic exposure to passive smoking significantly increases the risk of tobacco-related diseases. He argued that tobacco smoke quickly disperses in the open air.

It was proved that being near someone smoking, even outdoors, can result in significant exposure to secondhand smoke. But the scientists have no evidence that the duration of outdoor exposure is long enough to cause substantial health damage.

The new research showed that even brief exposure to tobacco smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer.

The secondhand smoke has the temporary negative effects on the circulatory system which have been demonstrated to occur with short-term exposure. The heart disease occurs in case if a person has been smoking during long period of time because this disease requires repeated exposure and recurring damage to the coronary arteries. DNA damage occurs with any carcinogenic exposure and cancer risk, which generally requires repeated exposure.

Nevertheless, New York City’s smoking ban may lead to the creation of smoke-filled areas near park entrances and nobody will be able to avoid the smoke of cigarettes. This will significantly increase the risk of tobacco-related diseases.

Michael B. Siegel considers that if smoking opponents are trying to convince people that even brief exposure to passive smoking is a potentially deadly hazard, they risk losing scientific credibility. The antismoking campaign has always fought with science, but New York’s ban on outdoor smoking showed that smoking opponents carry out their work and the movement is effective not because opponents hate tobacco smoke.
This could endanger more important positions in the antismoking fight, especially the 21 states that still have not smoking bans in their bars and restaurants.

Michael B. Siegel underlines that antismoking organizations should focus on extending of workplace protections, already enjoyed by millions of New Yorkers, to the 100 million Americans still denied the right to work without having to breathe in secondhand smoke.

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