Smoking in Public Places Near Children

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            Since the birth of my son, I have become much more aware of people smoking in public places. Even if people smoke outside, the harmful smoke can still blow near children. Smoking outside does not negate the effects of secondhand smoke. If you can smell the smoke, you are being exposed to its harmful to toxins. In Pennsylvania, smoking is banned in enclosed public places such as restaurants and office buildings. But nothing in the law mentions outside public places (http://smoking.uslegal.com/smoking-regulations-in-pennsylvania/).Image

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            Theme parks and other outdoor attractions are particularly vulnerable to this gap in legislation. What is worse is that these places are frequented by families with young children. I recognize a person’s right to chose to smoke, but innocent children have no choice in the matter. They breathe the air given to them and if it is polluted, they breathe in every toxin.

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http://www.ghananation.com/news/world/10130-does-smoking-make-you-a-bad-parent-survey-finds-smokers-feed-their-children-less-buy-them-smaller-birthday-presents-and-raid-their-money-box-to-fund-their-habit.html

            Many amusement parks have designated smoking areas somewhat secluded from the rest of the park. Disney theme parks provide smoking areas where people can go and smoke without affecting other people enjoying the park (https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/activities/magic-kingdom/map/search-results/?designated%20smoking%20areas/#/sort=relevance/). Knoebels, an amusement park in Elysburg, Pa, also provides designated smoking areas. Smoking is not permitted in the rest of the park. The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Lancaster County, Pa, has not such policy. Smoking is permitted everywhere on the festival grounds and children are constantly exposed to harmful tobacco smoke (http://www.parenfaire.com/). Nowhere is safe.

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The sign reads: No Smoking Please. For the comfort and safety of all our guests, smoking is not permitted at Disneyland Park except in designated areas. Please refrain from smoking while waiting for the Disneyland Tram. Thank you for your cooperation.

http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID500660.asp

            I propose the creation of legislation making it a requirement of public places such as theme parks and amusement parks to be smoke free. If the an admission fee is charged, the park will provide designated smoking areas far away from other people enjoying the park.

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9 Responses to “Smoking in Public Places Near Children”

  1. ymc0214 Says:

    I agree that children have no voice in saying that they do not want to inhale smoke! Also, it is true that even if you smoke far from children, they can still breathe in the toxic inhalational particles. Therefore having designated smoking areas far from the park makes sense in the best interest of the children.
    On the other hand, we can think about what the smokers in the park may have to say – The legislation may impose risks to fairness. Some may say “why should smokers be disadvantaged in having to walk so far away from the park to enjoy their tobacco?” “why should they be discriminated?” Even though I agree that theme parks should be a safe environment for children and adults free from harmful smoke, I thought I might raise a rather ethical/moral issue.

  2. golnazheidari Says:

    I think ymc0214 raised an interesting ethical/moral issue. However, it is important to note that which ethical perspective is used for decision making:
    1) Utilitarianism: According to this approach decisions should be judged by their consequences, in particular by their effect on the sum total of individual wellbeing. From this perspective smoke free legislation is totally acceptable.
    2) Liberalism: This approach is focused on rights and opportunities. From this perspective (libertarians) smoke free legislation is relatively unacceptable.

  3. amishra2013 Says:

    Another perspective on the issue is if it is active smoking or passive smoking that we can be more concerned about. While there is limited scope to enforce laws that prevent active smoking, it being a personal choice/habit, there are more ways to control passive smoking that will benefit more than just the person who smokes actively.

  4. bishwaa Says:

    I agree with the blog that the secondhand smoke policies should be more stringent to protect children and adults visiting public places. However, enforcement of the policies is more difficult and most importantly it is costly. This is the matter of opportunity costs of money. Is there alternatives usage of scarce resources that will potentially give higher rate of return than the money spent in monitoring parks for secondhand smoke?

  5. globalgal123 Says:

    While I have thoroughly enjoyed the smoking ban in various cities that I have lived in, I have also been quite frustrated by the consequences. Smoking is banned inside restaurants, but not in the outside dining area. Now it seems every single person in outside seating is smoking, and no restaurant patrons can eat there without being exposed to a very high level of second hand smoke.

  6. oluakinlaja Says:

    The adverse effect of second hand smoke which poses serious health consequences such as ear infections, and bronchitis in children as well as emphysema and lung cancer in adults cannot be overemphasized.

    Despite the CDC’s stance on the effects of second hand smoke and recommendations (as quoted below with it’s web link), less than adequate strategies or interventions exist to eradicate the effects of second hand smoke.

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/

    “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).1 Some of the health conditions caused by secondhand smoke in adults include heart disease and lung cancer.1”

    “Parents can help protect their children from secondhand smoke by taking the following actions:9

    · Do not allow anyone to smoke near your child.

    · Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your home or car. Opening a window does not protect your children from smoke.

    · Use a smoke-free day care center.

    · Do not take your child to restaurants or other indoor public places that allow smoking.

    · Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke.”

    

    Definitely some progress has been made regarding the issue of second hand smoke such as banning smoking in enclosed public spaces as stated in the original blog, however a lot more can be done to address this. Therefore, we as public health professionals have to continue to play an integral role in providing awareness and also advocating for better policies that can protect vulnerable populations while still protecting human rights. I agree with the blog that more comprehensive legislature will go a long way in mitigating the negative issues associated with second hand smoke.

    The adverse effect of second hand smoke which poses serious health consequences such as ear infections, and bronchitis in children as well as emphysema and lung cancer in adults cannot be overemphasized.

    Despite the CDC’s stance on the effects of second hand smoke and recommendations (as quoted below with it’s web link), less than adequate strategies or interventions exist to eradicate the effects of second hand smoke.

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/

    “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).1 Some of the health conditions caused by secondhand smoke in adults include heart disease and lung cancer.1”

    “Parents can help protect their children from secondhand smoke by taking the following actions:9

    · Do not allow anyone to smoke near your child.

    · Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your home or car. Opening a window does not protect your children from smoke.

    · Use a smoke-free day care center.

    · Do not take your child to restaurants or other indoor public places that allow smoking.

    · Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke.”

    

    Definitely some progress has been made regarding the issue of second hand smoke such as banning smoking in enclosed public spaces as stated in the original blog, however a lot more can be done to address this. Therefore, we as public health professionals have to continue to play an integral role in providing awareness and also advocating for better policies that can protect vulnerable populations while still protecting human rights. I agree with the blog that more comprehensive legislature will go a long way in mitigating the negative issues associated with second hand smoke.

  7. oluakinlaja Says:

    Thank you for this insightful post.

    The adverse effect of second hand smoke which poses serious health consequences such as: ear infections, bronchitis in children, as well as emphysema, lung cancer in adults, etc., cannot be overemphasized.

    Despite the CDC’s stance on the effects of second hand smoke and recommendations (as quoted below with it’s web link), less than adequate strategies or interventions exist to eradicate the effects of second hand smoke.

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/

    “There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).1 Some of the health conditions caused by secondhand smoke in adults include heart disease and lung cancer.1”

    “Parents can help protect their children from secondhand smoke by taking the following actions:9
    •Do not allow anyone to smoke near your child.
    •Do not smoke or allow others to smoke in your home or car. Opening a window does not protect your children from smoke.
    •Use a smoke-free day care center.
    •Do not take your child to restaurants or other indoor public places that allow smoking.
    •Teach children to stay away from secondhand smoke.”

    Definitely some progress has been made regarding the issue of second hand smoke such as banning smoking in enclosed public spaces as stated in the original blog, however a lot more can be done to address this. Therefore, we as public health professionals have to continue to play an integral role in providing awareness and also advocating for better policies that can protect vulnerable populations while still protecting human rights. I agree with the blog that more comprehensive legislature will go a long way in mitigating the negative issues associated with second hand smoke.

  8. Garrett Miller Says:

    Hi Nadine,

    My name is Garrett Miller and I work for 1World Online, a public opinion research startup based in San Jose, CA.

    We are planning a poll to run on our website/mobile app, asking if people support a ban on smoking in all public places, and would like to feature an excerpt from your blog post: https://sbfphc.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/smoking-in-public-places-near-children/.

    We will provide full attribution to you as the author and will gladly post a hotlink to your blog from our own website and app, to direct our (15,000+) members and viewers to your site.

    Please let me know if you are interested, or if you have any more questions regarding our service. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site, http://www.1worldonline.com

    Sincerely,

    Garrett Miller,
    Content Editor
    1World Online, Inc.

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