Smoking ban in public places has been a hot issue these last months not only in Malta but also in various countries who are discussing the effects a ban would have. There have been several debates on smoking ban. Even though the harmful effects of smoking, both active and passive, are well known and undeniable smoking is far from being in decline; it is spreading among young people in particular quickly. Most controversial debate is going on public smoking ban. The reason is simple, smoking ban affects directly all people rapidly and we can see its effects in a short-term period. There have been a lot of arguments brought up both in favour and against a public smoking ban.

Some of the arguments in favour are the following. Smoking ban is one of the controversial ways for reducing smoking and recognizing non-smokers' right to health protection. The health risks of smoking are clear. Passive smoking does carry risks. Many leading medical and scientific organizations recognize second hand smoke as a cause of a range of life-threatening conditions. The health situation could be drastically improved if one of the risk factors - tobacco - was eliminated.

People have a right to protect themselves from smoke inhalation. People shouldn't have to inhale the ill-effects of other people's smoking. The creation of smoke-free public places also improves air quality. Those opposing a smoking ban say that freedom of choice would be affected by such legislation.

Some people against a ban say that smoking bans damage business. A smoking ban could lead to a significant fall in earnings from bars, restaurants and casinos. Another argument is that the smoker has a basic human right to smoke in public places, and the ban is a limitation for smokers' rights. Businesses, smokers, publicans, tobacco industries, stars, and some of the non-smokers oppose public smoking ban. Smokers light a cigarette because they need to smoke, not because they want it, because nicotine is physically addictive. Therefore, some smokers think that the public smoking ban is oppressiveness.

They see the ban as a treatment to smokers as second-class citizens. Smokers agree that the smoking ban benefits the world, but cannot support the ban, because effects of nicotine obstruct them. Public smoking ban needs to be measured and understood better. Smokers should not be made to look like outcasts, but smokers should respect non-smokers when sharing places. I agree that completely smoke-free places are the ideal, and some businesses have taken the decision to go completely smoke-free. However, everyone agrees that, it is a matter of rights - the right of smokers to smoke versus non-smokers to protect from passive smoking and to breathe clean air..