September 26, 2020

BY NATALEIGH MCCALLUM

Smoking is a gross habit but is the newest smoking ban going a little too far?

As of Jan. 1, 2015 yet another smoking ban will come into effect. The new ban will be provincewide and prohibit smoking on restaurant and bar patios and within a 20-metre radius of any playground or sports field – that’s right, you will not be smoking and enjoying a beer on any patios this summer.

Oh, and if you’re running low on smokes and visiting a friend at a university campus, don’t think you will be buying them from the little store on campus after Jan. 1 because that will also be prohibited.

My opinion? No matter what the government tries to do people are going to get their nicotine fix – they might just have to take a 20-metre walk away from a playground or leave their friends on a patio.

Yes, I understand smoking causes cancer and cancer is most definitely not something you want. But almost everything in our daily lives can cause cancer. If I microwave a takeout container there is a risk that the plastic could melt and potentially leak chemicals into my food and be cancerous. My genetic makeup could contain a mutation, leaving me at risk for cancer, asbestos or the sun. Everything I come in contact with could potentially lead to cancer.

That is life. Cigarette smoke is carcinogenic – which in retrospect can cause cancer – but that does not mean every person who smokes will get lung cancer. Actually, only one in 10 smokers will be affected.

We live in a world where the air we breathe is filled with toxins, so why would a smoker think twice about the chemicals he is inhaling when lighting up? Yes, many kids do take up smoking thinking it makes them cool, or it will make them appear older. But who is to blame for this? Parents. If parents smoke there is a greater chance that their children will smoke. Children born to a smoker are not only more likely to smoke, but more likely to become a heavy smoker.

I completely understand the bans. They seem logical when looking at it from the point of view of communities as a whole – children, elders, the health risks of people inhaling second-hand smoke, etc. – but the bans are not going to stop smoking or second-hand smoke. They are just relocating where a smoker is going to light up.

Smoking is not going to stop completely – it has been around for centuries. But when will the government go too far and prohibit smoking entirely?

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