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The Right To Choose

            More than fifty years ago, Richard Doll and Bradford Hill first published the results of several studies on smoking tobacco. The results linked tobacco smoking with lung cancer. Their cautious conclusion, that smoking is an important factor in the rapid growth of cancer cells has been confirmed by thousands of other studies which have also established connections between smoking and heart disease, bronchitis, and many other diseases and medical conditions. The widespread availability of this extremely harmful drug has brought difficult questions about the duties of not only manufacturers, but also the government to protect consumers from harmful legal products (Hilton n. pag.). Other studies performed also noted a higher risk for consumers of second-hand smoke than smokers themselves. Due to this shocking evidence, the law making bodies of this government have been faced with a difficult decision: should cigarette smoking be legal in public establishments? Because of the health risks of smoking and the success of regulation, the government should place a permanent ban on smoking tobacco in public places.
             The health risks with cigarette smoking are not limited to smokers: exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) significantly increases a nonsmoker's risk of developing lung cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a risk assessment report in December 1992 in which ETS was classified as a Group A carcinogen (Harrison 23). This category is reserved for only the most dangerous cancer-causing agents. The EPA report estimates that ETS is responsible for lung cancers in several thousand nonsmokers each year, and ETS exposure is also linked to severe respiratory problems in infants and young children. The risk of developing lung and other smoking-associated cancers, as well as non-cancerous diseases, is related to total lifetime exposure to cigarette smoke.

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