Smoking bans coming to a city near you

Smoking is unhealthy whether we like to hear it or not. It's a bad habit picked up for reasons ranging anywhere from peer pressure, to family ties, or even seeing your favorite celebrity do it and copying him/her because it looks cool. One thing's for sure, it doesn't feel cool.  Especially when your new best friend becomes the oxygen tank permanently attached to your nose to help you breathe.

Smoking, a habit that was once thought of as harmless and normal, quickly became an epidemic that swept across the world with the invention of cigarettes. However, it wasn't until the 1960s that it was discovered that smoking was bad for one's health. According to the Boston University Medical Center, the first Surgeon General's warning against smoking was issued in 1964, in which the government regulated the sales and advertisements of cigarettes, but of course, that wasn't enough to stop anyone.

Since the discovery of the link between bad health and cigarettes was acknowledged, smoking has been frowned upon globally, and communities are doing whatever they can to officially ban smoking. Effective as of January 1, 1995, California Labor Code Section 6404.5 stated that smoking was banned in enclosed areas such as restaurant and office buildings, and in 1998 bars were later added to the list.

Specified by an article from CNN, New York City is the latest, amongst others, that have taken the smoking ban to an entirely new level by banning smoking in the cities' 1,700 parks, public beaches and plazas, which include Times Square. Santa Monica also heavily partakes in smoking bans by prohibiting smoking on The Third Street Promenade, not to mention on SMC's campus.

According to the American Lung Association, second-hand smoke causes nearly 50,000 deaths yearly. But when it comes to rights, is it right to take away someone's privilege to smoke in a public area? Depending on the circumstances, this could be a tough battle for all, smokers or non-smokers.

When it comes to smoking, people tend to have a very liberal sense of mind. SMC student Breanna Rees voiced her opinion on smoking bans stating, "I think it's a good thing, but I'm also not a smoker, as long as you're in your own vicinity I don't think it's a terrible thing, but it is unhealthy and maybe it would help cut back."

Personally, as someone who enjoys the drag of a cigarette from time to time, I'd have to say that smoking in public areas is definitely not something I would condone, or something I'd like to inhale, especially while I'm eating.

But smoking bans could potentially be a good thing because of the tremendous amounts of smoking deaths that occur every year. This is something that could easily be prevented by just quitting, but as we all know, it's not that easy.

Of course there are many methods known to help kick the nasty habit, including attending a rehabilitation facility, but often times there are relapses, which could potentially lead to severe health problems.

SMC student Caitlin Zambito joins Breanna Rees in the agreement of having smoking banned stating that, "It's freedom of choice, and if people choose to smoke that's fine, but it's not fair for those who don't [smoke] and it affects people with asthma and children shouldn't be breathing it in."

SMC student Lanny Markasky begs to differ saying, "I think that they're not necessary everywhere, and as long as they're in their own area not affecting other people, it's not a huge deal."

Though I completely agree that it is a person's complete freedom and choice to smoke, the fact of the matter is that it affects everyone. I think that if the world is so bent upon becoming healthy, green and environmentally friendly, giving up smoking is the next big challenge, and I think smoking bans will help by drastically dropping the amount of smoking-related deaths each year.