NJ passed a bill banning smoking at all public parks and beaches on Thursday with a 64-7 vote (Washington Times. On Wednesday, Georgia voted to ban smoking on all college campuses (News Channel 9). Even a Michigan apartment complex has recently made the news at UPI for banning smoking. Many states already have bills banning smoking in public places and even in restaurants.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri-Huttle easily explains why NJ passed the ban. “Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the state and the nation.”
Past generations may have had the excuse of ignorance, but our generation is well aware that smoking is a health risk. The first General Surgeon’s report on the negative health effects of smoking came out in 1964, and smoking rates have dropped by half since then. Numerous studies in the intervening years show the health risks of smoking, from addiction to lung cancer.
But a significant number of Americans still smoke, and smoking has killed more than all of our wars combined. In 2012, the percentage of adults aged 25–44 years who smoked was 21.6%, according to the CDC If you don’t know someone personally affected by smoking, maybe you know of a celebrity, like Leonard Nimoy, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer 30 years after he quit smoking.
Quitting smoking can have many health benefits, some of them immediate and not all of them physical. Quitting smoking may lead to mental health benefits similar to antidepressant treatment. Smoking rates in individuals with mental health disorders is higher than the general population and may be a factor in shorter life expectancy.
The most effective way to quit smoking is to stop smoking cold turkey, according to QuitSmoking. There are many products out there to help you quit smoking, but none of them are superior to quitting cold turkey. In research involving 39,000 students, E-cigarettes have even been shown to hurt your chances of quitting smoking. Hooka pens come in different flavors have have more nicotene than regular cigarettes, so its no wonder that they are promoting smoking among youth.
Bans on public smoking may not fit into your political views, especially since some studies show that second hand smoke might not harm most bystanders. NJ and Oregon’s smoking bans also cite litter and public nuisance as reasons to ban smoking.
If you are a smoker, the most important issue here is not politics, but your health. Take it from Leonard Nimoy:
“Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you’re diagnosed with lung damage it’s too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now.”
Visit the CDC for more information on how to quit smoking, including free coaching.