Some businesses now say that no one can smoke cigarettes in any of their offices. Some governments have even banned smoking in all public places. This is a good idea but it takes away some of our freedom.
What are your opinions on this?
Restricting smoking in offices and public places is controversial, since although non-smokers may think this is a good idea, smokers naturally may not. It may also be seen as an interference with people’s freedom. Different cultures may have varying attitudes as to whether businesses or governments have the right to ban smoking in certain places.
Banning smoking in the workplace may not be a good idea because smokers may work better if they can smoke. However, passive smoking can cause objections from colleagues. Although such bans may reduce freedom, it is widely accepted that businesses have the right to regulate staff activities. Governments too may also ban smoking in public places, which may be beneficial by reducing the costs to society of smoking such as litter and health care.
However, smoking in public may also bring some benefits to society, for example in tax revenue and of course the pleasure of smokers. Also, pressure groups such as tobacco companies may discourage restrictions on smoking.
As for freedom, in all societies the government has the right to regulate citizens’ activities. It is therefore possible that as more citizens come to believe that the disadvantages of allowing smoking outweigh the advantages, then they would increasingly support such bans.
As a non-smoker I believe that restricting smoking in workplaces and in public is a good idea. I can also understand the opinion of smokers that banning smoking in such places limits their freedom. However, if the effects of smoking were limited to smokers I would oppose bans, but as smoking affects the health of others, I support them.