Smoking bans, specifically in public places, has been a topic of debate for several years now. This debate has been originated primarily from medical or health-related origins. Many have felt strongly against the ban of smoking in public places. Although, almost an equal amount of people support the smoking ban. This paper will acknowledge the pros to proceeding with the smoking ban to rebuttal the argument presented in the article titled, “The case against smoking bans” by Thomas A. Lambert and analyze the reliability, credibility, and validity of the data used to support his argument. According to Lambert (2012), “Government-imposed smoking bans are unwise”. “Risk based argument are insufficient because the slight risks associated with ETS cannot justify the substantial privacy intrusion occasioned by sweeping smoking bans” (p 34).
The author’s support against the smoking ban is based on the fact that the statements regarding the need for the ban due to the increase of health care costs for the smoker and those effected by the second-hand smoke. Lambert supports his argument based on the findings of a comprehensive study in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. The study states, “…smoking probably has the effect of reducing overall healthcare costs because smokers die earlier than nonsmokers. The study’s authors concluded that in a population in which no one smoked, health care costs would be 7 percent higher among men and 4 percent higher among women than the costs in the current mixed population of smokers and nonsmokers” (Government-imposed smoking bans are unwise, 2012, p 36). Although, this data is credible based on its source, this information cannot wholly be deemed valid based on no stated facts to compare healthcare costs of the nonsmokers. “Logical fallacies are errors in reasoning” (Cheesebro, T., O’Connor, L., & Rios, F., 2010). There are four types of common logical fallacies, which are: faulty causation, hasty generalization, either/or thinking, slippery slope and faulty comparison. The justification based on the other data is an example of a hasty generalization and faulty comparison.
A hasty generalization occurs when “…a few examples are selected to represent the whole of the conclusion” (Cheesebro, T., O’Connor, L., & Rios, F., 2010). By committing to these generalizations, your conclusions may be incorrect because you are only acknowledging the data that will solely support your argument. The author’s argument is also a faulty comparison because he treats the unique situations the same. He strongly believes that there is no significant difference in the costs of health care in comparison to those who do not smoke. But the author fails to mention the health effects of second hand smoke and why it should be banned in public places In contrast, smoking bans in public places should be implemented because there are many studies that reveal that there is a real problem regarding exposure to second hand smoke. According to the CDC (2012), “Since 1964, 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from exposure to secondhand smoke”. That statement alone, which is evidence based, is a valid argument why smoking in public places should be banned. Non-smokers should not have to be victims caused by careless smokers who are more interested in feeding their addiction and pleasures. It is intrusion of someone’s privacy if they do not want to be exposed to secondhand smoke.
Public places refers to as restaurants, parks, multiunit housing and casinos etc. For children, secondhand smoke exposure can contribute to respiratory and ear infections and higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome. For adults, it can cause lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. With that being said, if we choose not to smoke due to the health effects and increased risk of death, why should we forced to go down with the smokers? We have a choice and it should be respected. If these health conditions can be caused by secondhand smoke alone, consider what effects smoking has on a smoker’s body. As mentioned earlier, those who do smoke die earlier. So how can the statement regarding no difference in health care costs between a smoker and non-smoker be valid? In conclusion, due to the evidence-based bad health effects of secondhand smoke, smoking in public places should be banned. There is no justification for someone who chooses to live a healthy lifestyle in order to live longer, to have a smoker determine how long they should live or what quality of life they should have.
Cheesebro, T., O’Connor, L., & Rios, F. (2010). Communicating in the workplace. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Lambert, T. A. (2007). The case against smoking bans. Regulation, 29(4), 34-40.
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