Smokers are Whiners


English 101

29 Oct. 2002

Smokers always seem to think they get a raw deal. Where is it written that smoking is a God given right? That “right” is assumed by smokers and pushed onto non-smokers. And what about the right of non-smokers to breathe fresh air? Smokers may not be allowed to smoke in public buildings – but they can smoke in the privacy of their homes and automobiles and almost anywhere outside that they want. The situations portrayed in Stanley S. Scott’s essay, such as, “(a man being) zapped in the face by a man with an aerosol spray can” or a passenger being “fatally stabbed” for lighting up on a bus, seem like extreme examples of abuse towards smokers. Although I think it is wrong to physically hurt someone who is smoking, I generally disagree with Scott’s essay, “Smokers Get a Raw Deal” because second-hand smoke is a health hazard and because smoking is a nasty, toxic habit that should not be inflicted onto others.

One reason I disagree with Scott’s essay is because second-hand smoke can be lethal to those who breathe it on a regular basis. The harmful effects of smoking have been studied over and over again with the same results – Smoking kills! More recent studies have proven that smoking can also kill non-smokers from second-hand smoke. There are even studies showing that waitresses have higher rates of cancer and death from working in restaurants and bars where smoking had been permitted. Do smokers have the right to kill or harm those around them? It’s hard to believe that even smokers would argue with that.

Another reason I disagree with Scott’s essay is because smoking is a disgusting and toxic habit that should not be inflicted onto other people. I believe that smokers have the right to


choose to smoke, but I also believe that non-smokers have the right to eat in a restaurant or go to a bar and not smell like an ashtray when they exit. Smoking causes toxic fumes that can be very irritating to non-smokers and can cause fits of coughing. Smokers can certainly choose to breath that toxic air and constantly smell like an old cigar, but I reserve the same choice to be allowed to breathe clean air and smell fresh when leaving a public building. Smokers are only limited when their choice affects other people. That’s the way it should be for everything.

Discrimination is a term that is usually used with a negative connotation. Denying opportunities based on race, religion, or gender is definitely wrong, but I believe that in all civilized societies, discrimination can also be used in a positive way. For instance, parents use discrimination on a daily basis for the benefit of their children. They discriminate against movies, which may not be appropriate for their child, or against friends who may be a bad influence on them. Anti-smoking laws are in place to protect non-smokers from the harm of toxic smoke, and that’s not a bad thing. Smokers are lucky that cigarettes aren’t banned completely considering all the scientific data proving that smoking causes cancer, lung disease, and death and costs tax payers millions of dollars in medical expenses each year. I do think that because smoking is still a legalized practice, there should be allowances for ‘All-Smoking’ establishments where smokers who choose to go there can socialize with other smokers. That’s what it’s all about – choice.

Works Cited

Scott, Stanley S. “Smokers Get a Raw Deal.” Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. New York: Bedford, 2002. 137-139.