Please Take Your Butt Outside "A smoking section in a bar or a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a public swimming pool, the pee just like the smoke will spread, and there is no way of escaping it", said an anonymous author. Smoking affects many people's lives each and everyday. For example, I can not even count the times that I have been in a restaurant in a "non-smoking section" and still not been able to enjoy my meal because of the smokers on the other side of the restaurant. Smoking in public places has become a controversial topic over the past several years. Many places, such as California, Montana, and the United Kingdom have tried to ban smoking in public places for years in order to protect the air and the citizens. Although, many smokers strongly disagree, I believe that smoking in public places should be banned.

Of course banning smoking in public places would cost businesses as well as take away from people's rights as American citizens. Business owners who ban smoking in their restaurants could in the long run face decreasing money coming into the business. For example, those who smoke may decide to go to another restaurant that allows smoking rather than those restaurants that have banned smoking. Other costs to the business owner would be signs that would have to be put up to inform people of their non-smoking policies. In addition to costing businesses, many people would argue that banning smoking in public places is unconstitutional.

Thomas Humber, president of the National Smokers Alliance says, "By banning smoking, all California has is prohibition again". However that is a poor analogy, prohibition banned the consumption of liquor everywhere. The law banning smoking only outlaws public indoor smoking, meaning that no one will be arrested for smoking on the street or in their homes. Smoking in public places such as bars, clubs and even some restaurants encourage others to smoke. Tobacco use usually begins in early adolescence by either experimentation in public places, or solely by peer pressure. In fact, very few smokers are known to take up smoking on their own; they are almost always influenced by others.

For example, a non-smoking college student who goes to a bar with friends who smoke is more likely to smoke because of the social smoking atmosphere. Besides taking up the habit of smoking in public places; one smoker causes many other smokers to also smoke. For instance, when one person in a restaurant smokes it seems as if every other person in the restaurant who smokes also lights up. Smoking not only encourages others but it also hurts others who are stuck in these situations. Banning smoking in public places will not only help others from not smoking but it will also help the smoker.

Smoking is very dangerous to the smoker. At least 3,600 people below the age of 65 die each year from lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke caused by smoking. Tobacco use has been proven so dangerous to our health that even the American Surgeon General now has set and enforces warning labels on all tobacco products. In fact, studies show that smokers suffer 20% more common illnesses per year than a non-smoker. Each year more people dies from smoke-related diseases than from AIDS, fires, heroin, cocaine, airplane and motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides combined.

Cigarette smoking is the largest single preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Besides being bad for the smoker, there are many serious side effects from second hand smoke. Second hand smoke causes heart rates to raise, blood vessels to dilate less easily and blood components to be stickier, all causing risks of heart attacks. Second hand smoke is the third leading preventable cause of death, and most second hand smoke is obtained in public places.

Consequently, adults who are in environments that contain second hand smoke can be almost as adversely affected by the toxic substances of tobacco smoke as the smokers themselves. Second hand smoke causes irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, headache and dizziness, and can seriously aggravate asthma. Second hand smoke makes non-smokers feel lousy. For example, when I come home at night from a club or a bar I not only smell like a walking ashtray but I also have a very difficult time breathing because of all the smoke that I breathed into my lungs. Second hand smoke is very dangerous and I don't believe that non-smokers should have to put up with non wanted smoke. Although many smokers disagree, banning smoking places needs to be done.

Smoking not only encourages others to smoke but it also hurts non- smokers as well as smokers. Banning smoking in public places is not a bad idea, one thousand people stop smoking every day by dying. So please help us non-smokers and if you must smoke, take your butt outside.