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Bans on Smoking

In recent years numerous countries have launched a ban on cigarette smoking in public areas and/or all places of employment. In numerous nations around the world that do not yet have a ban, the issue is hotly contested. Smokers fight for the right to continue smoking where they want while many non-smokers struggle for their right to clean air.

Commercial interests have often taken the side of the smokers. Businesses small and large were concerned that banning smoking would cause them to lose customers, especially bars and restaurants, the most affected establishments being bars and nightclubs. Smokers typically like to smoke along with an alcoholic drink and the concern has been that they would be more likely to drink at home if they cannot do this in their neighborhood bar.

The fact that the ban has taken hold in so many nations despite the strong lobbying by commercial interests is a signal that non-smokers have gained much political power in their quest to not be subjected to second hand smoke. In most Western countries, there has been a steady decline in smoking over the past few decades as the health risks have become better known and more widely disseminated. Non-smokers are more strongly voicing their feelings against the pollution of the air they breathe by tobacco smoke and their ever-growing majority grants them more power to enforce those feelings.

Contrary to expectations, most companies around the globe have not suffered from the smoking bans. While there may possibly be fewer smokers in coffee shops and bars, there are many more non-smokers taking their spots.

The ban, of course, is actually just another shift from a situation 50 years ago where practically all buildings were constantly filled with smoke. It used to hard to see a movie screen from the back row of the theater due to the clouds of tobacco smoke that hung inside the air. Smoking sections and non-smoking areas have slowly been introduced in most places and on public transit, with an ever-increasing number becoming entirely non-smoking.

Most nations that have instituted a cigarette smoking ban have banned smoking in any indoor location where individuals work, or where the public congregate. The definition of 'indoor' may perhaps vary but could possibly include any building with at least 3 walls, or anything with a roof, regardless of the quantity of walls. Temporary structures such as tents may possibly  be included.

In some cases, if a smoker is running a home-based-business that involves clients visiting or staff working there, the smoker's own house might have to be made smoke-free.

In the beginning, some thought that smokers might just go ahead and smoke in these sites despite a ban. It is true that a lot of folks do things which are illegal, particularly wherever an addiction is concerned. But, smoking is a somewhat different issue since it affects non-smokers too. In most public places there are non-smokers who might challenge anybody who dares to smoke, and due to the fact they are now the majority, they can do this very effectively.

Here in Florida, a ban went into effect to bar smoking in restaurants and workplaces in 2003. Though the ban allowed for smoking in many bars and outside of restaurants, in Orange County, there has been discussion to make the ban more comprehensive and county-wide.