Public smoking has been highly emotive issue in the recent past, with intense debate of whether it should be made completely illegal or not. Public concern about smoking in public has been necessitated by the increased reports from researchers that secondhand smoking equally kills in almost equal measure, and to some, even more dangerous than mainstream smoking (Schick and Glantz 398). Various studies indicate that secondhand smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease among other diseases by between 25 to 30 percent (Schick and Glantz 398; WHO 121). The same is also associated with the financial strain occasioned by healthcare costs and breakdown in social and family cohesion.

Secondhand smoking has health, economic and social impact on the population who are inevitably innocent. On the health perspective, inhaling carcinogen and other smoke related elements from both mainstream and side-stream smokers can be detrimental to the victims. With sufficient evidence that smoke causes numerous complications ranging from cardiovascular and respiratory, the most affected group are children and pregnant mothers (WHO 124). On the economic front, smoking related diseases cause massive strain on the cost of health service provision, a case in point being that of cancer treatment. With increase dangers, families exposed to smokes find it difficult to cope with the negative impact once a member is taken ill with diseases such as lung cancer (WHO 124). Smoking in the public has three negative effects, namely: health, economic, and social to the affected parties, who may be ignorant of the source and even the magnitude of the impact.


First preposition

Center for Disease Control and Prevention report (cited in WHO 143) indicates that smoking is preventable, yet it still leads the way in terms of the number of deaths it causes. It is also indicated that smokers have less life expectancy by about 14 years, because they are prone to cancer, heart and lung diseases that are known to lead to millions of deaths annually (Bohumir and Bobak 117). Also known as passive smoking, an exposed person involuntarily inhales carcinogen among other toxic elements of smoke from smokers. This is one of the leading causes of lung cancer as reported by NHS Scotland (para 4)

In essence, these individuals who come into contact with smoke from public smokers are innocent and may not know the dangers of this inhalation. This is explicitly reflected by a recent study that revealed that most Americans are ignorant of the dangers presented by secondary smoking, with a whooping 84% having no idea of the impact of passive smoking as far as their health is concerned (Gallup 39). Most of the people polled by the Gallup Polls doubt the research finings that passive smoking can be as dangerous as mainstream smoking (40). This revelation has posed one of the greatest challenges to campaigns to have a total ban on public smoking.

Second preposition

Secondhand smoke has been found to cause economic strain on the people affected and country or states in general. Many pro-public smoking have argued that total ban on public smoking is detrimental to the economic, considering the amount of excise duty collected from tobacco and other related products. However, we find that the amount of resources spent in treating smoking related complications put heavy load on tax payers and individuals, indirectly and directly.

It is reported that in the United States, 15% of the population are active smokers (Gallup 36). However, the number of people who have been detected to have nicotine in their bodies is 84% of the population (WHO 112). Note that this figure encompasses all ages. This means that a significantly large number of people are affected by secondhand smoke. It has been reported that the cost of treating the affected group surpasses the amount tobacco products generate in terms of revenue (NHS Scotland para 5). These findings have significant impact on the social standing of the people, which is reliant on the economic status. For example, a family spending huge amount of its income on treating smoking related diseases and increased insurance cost is likely to strain in social life at some point. The reason is money that can be spent on other necessities is channeled to healthcare services.

Children exposed to smoking by the people close to them are likely to smoke too. That is according to various studies that have found that social acceptance of a particular behavior in the society is perpetuated by what adults do, consequently warranting generational passage to children (Bohumir and Bobak 118; Schick and Glantz 401). For example, children born in a family of smokers are likely to accept and adopt it as a normal and acceptable habit, indulging into smoking at tender age before adulthood. The overall impact is that these children from families whose parent(s) smoke are more exposed to opportunistic diseases such as bronchitis, asthma and cancer among many other complications.

Third preposition

Smoking in the public can have a serious negative impact on the relationship between employees and employers. Studies have revealed that smoking workers absent themselves more that non-smokers. The situation is even worsened if they are allowed to smoke in office environment, putting their non-smoking colleagues into the risk associated with passive smoking. World Health Organization (149) estimated that the cost of smoking on organization hit approximately US$160 billion in 2005, in medical care, lost working hours on smoking breaks and absenteeism from work. therefore, many organizations, including schools have employed mechanism to restrict public smoking so as to protect non-smokers (passive smokers) from the increasingly worrying negative impacts. Schools too are not spared, as students increasingly engage in smoking, thereby increasing the risk to themselves and fellow passive smokers in the schools environment. However, there are serious concerns that the many of the active smokers feel that they are being discriminate against by secluding certain areas where they can smoke (NHS Scotland para 6). This notion is believed to have played a role in some organizations finding it difficult to implement ban on public smoking policies within their areas of jurisdiction (NHS Scotland para 6).

While one can hardly dispute the momentum non-smoking campaign has taken, policy-makers must be prepared to counter the intense arguments that dissuade its implementation. These arguments are mostly ideological, where individuals may claim that health effect of secondhand smoking is exaggerated by the scientists, propose an alternative to total ban on public smoking, citing the immediate negative impact on reduced consumption of cigarettes, and the lack of feasibility in implementation and enforcement. For example, some have argued that total ban on smoking in public places increased smoking habits at home, thereby increasing the risk of children and spouses who become passive smokers because people will have to smoke anyway.

However, the risk associated with involuntary secondhand smoking is immense, especially on the dimension of health issues. These risks associated are so trivial to an extent that if not well observed, may deep the society into unbearable social and economic quagmire. Logically, the long term negative impacts of secondhand smoking outweigh the positives, and the ideological arguments presented by those against the total ban are not supported by the deeper impact and experience the victims have undergone.


Debate on policies to eliminate public smoking has generated a lot of heat in the recent past. While these arguments are healthy, one thing remains clear: the impact of passive smoking is increasingly becoming a dangerous phenomenon for the modern society. The cost associated with healthcare from secondhand smoking related diseases such as lung cancer and bronchitis, the social disintegration due to economic difficulties, and the loss to organizations which have to deal with otherwise controllable operational costs is overwhelming. It is therefore vital to save the innocent from the opportunistic impact of secondhand smoking inflicted on them by the mainstream smokers. If not kept under watch secondhand smoking may lead to a society of the sick and unproductive in the long run, a recipe for disaster.