Smoking is a widespread habit that causes many diseases. The issue of whether to ban smoking indoors by the governments of various countries is popular as they try to take a step towards curbing the harmful effects of smoking. People support smoking bans because they understand the harmful effects. Some governments have put in place partial smoking bans, and others have passed total smoking bans. This literature review will focus on whether the United States government should pass a nationwide indoor smoking ban. The difference is between partial and total smoking bans, and smoking at the workplace.
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This paper highlights opinions on indoor smoking bans by the US government and the results show that smoking bans are generally approved by the public. However, quite a few people are either unsure or simply averse to the idea of a smoking ban. This study was conducted on 145 participants and some are smokers and others are nonsmokers. It is generally expected that smokers would have negative opinions about a smoking ban and would not support the decision to ban smoking either indoors or outdoors. Nonsmokers are usually more vocal about the need to ban smoking and the reasons given are usually the adverse health effects of smoking as either active or passive smoking could cause many problems, including lung cancer, respiratory problems like asthma and other fatal diseases of the heart and lungs. Most participants also seem more eager for a complete smoking ban than a partial smoking ban and an indoor smoking ban is generally supported.
Wye, Bowman, Wiggers, Baker, Knight, Carr, et al (2010) says in Australia smoking is the leading cause of disease. The rate of smoking is very high among patients diagnosed with psychiatric disorders, and many of them succumb to smoking-related illnesses than their counterparts without the disorders. A total smoking ban is better than a partial smoking ban because it protects nonsmokers from the effects of secondary smoke. Smokers find that they have to cut down the number of cigarettes they smoke in a day as long as they are in total ban smoking areas. The total smoking ban may encourage them to give up the habit. Whereas, a partial smoking ban may paint the picture that smoking is fine as long as one does so in a designated area. Yet, the harmful effects continue to undermine their health. For instance, in a mental health facility that practices total smoking ban treatments for nicotine dependence, they are high, unlike in those that have partial bans.
Despite the obvious health risks associated with smoking, there are proponents of this risky habit and this group of people has advanced various reasons for their stand. Porth (2010) points out that one of the arguments that are being touted as a benefit of smoking by the proponents of this risky habit touches on the suppressing effects of cigarettes. According to Porth (2010), smoking is effective in suppressing the effects of various mental disorders. Many people argue that it can be effective in treating mental illnesses. In addition to that, the suppressive effects of smoking have also been applied in the treatment of various addictions such as alcohol additions whereby the addicts are allowed to use cigarettes to suppress some of the “cravings” that they might have during the rehabilitation process. This suppression effect is temporary and many addicts who depend on smoking to help them fight their addictions usually end up relapsing.
For total smoking bans to be successful all the stakeholders in a health institution or a country need to be included in the strategy. The inclusion of people in implementing the total smoking ban will lead to acceptance and compliance. If the stakeholders are not included some will be hostile to the smoking ban, and it might not be successful. However, there is a limitation in findings of prior researches on staffs’ view on the issue of total smoking bans in mental health institutions.
The attitude towards smoking in the workplace is mainly negative (Walsh Paul, Paras, Stacey, Tzelepis, et al, 2011). Studies show that many people prefer if employees did not smoke at their workplaces. Many workplaces have implemented a total smoking ban. Many employees are okay with the ban because they do not like their smoking colleagues exposing them to secondary smoke. However, employees waste time during working hours because they take a break to go and smoke. The breaks affect their productivity and they do not give their best to their employers. Therefore, there is a negative attitude towards workers smoking in their workplaces. One will not see many people smoking at workplaces openly because of the negative attitude, but will see them smoking outside in parks, bus or rail stops, and at home.
On the other hand, we have partial smoking bans. Some governments have passed partial smoking bans to cut down on the cost of smoking both in social and health terms. The introduction of the bans is not old and many countries such as the United States have taken a step to look into the effects of secondary smoke on people. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention was given the responsibility of studying the effects of secondhand smoke. The findings showed that the number of people suffering from heart attacks decreased. However, there is still no concrete evidence to support that short time exposure to secondary smoke leads to an increase in suffering from cardiovascular diseases. Secondhand smoke has been shown to cause problems to individuals around the smoker and partial bans do not protect the people in the same environment as the smoker. For instance, some hotels and bars have smoking areas, but people near those areas are still exposed to the harmful effects of secondary smoke. Some studies have been done to examine if partial smoking bans are effective than total smoking bans, and the pros and cons of each (Hofmann & Nell, 2012). However, there is no conclusive study about which type of ban is better, but the bottom line is that smoking bans improve the welfare of society.
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The issue of whether or not the United States should pass a nationwide indoor smoking ban has managed to elicit a lot of debate. On the one hand, some support this move. Their stand is based on the obvious health risks that smoking in general and indoor smoking in particular, poses to both the smokers and the non-smokers. On the other hand, some seem to think that an indoor smoking ban is a violation of their rights. Therefore, such a move will directly interfere with their rights and freedoms (Hyland et al, 2009).
A study conducted on this issue aims to reveal the general population’s views on the issue of indoor smoking, including the number of people who support the ban on indoor smoking, and those who are opposed to it. To analyze the general public view on this issue, there is appropriate sample research involving adult citizens that live in the United States. They are selected and asked several questions about their stand on indoor smoking. The questions asked are, do you support a nationwide indoor smoking ban, and do you support a nationwide total smoking ban? This sample of participants is demographically balanced and include the participant’s age, gender, ethnic background, and state of residence. All segments of the population are represented, including the smokers themselves. The population of interest for this study includes those who range in the age from 18 to 100 and live in the United States. A nationwide survey has been conducted to include a sample of 145 randomly selected participants. Participants are not compensated for this study.
The uses of a questionnaire as a research tool were found appropriate for this study. The participants were asked questions that directly touch this issue. To simplify the tallying process, the questionnaires employed the use of closed format questions, where the participants were offered multiple choices to pick their answers from. The question sought to establish the participants stand on the ban on indoor smoking, and participants include smokers and non-smokers. The participants have been directly asked whether or not they support the ban on indoor smoking. Thereafter, a tallying method was used to reveal the final results. A corresponding discussion on the issue follows here. According to Mulcahy et al. (2005), most studies conducted on the issue of indoor smoking reveal that most people support such a move.
Therefore, this study also reveals that most people, including the smokers themselves, actually understand and appreciate the health risks that indoor smoking poses on smokers and the people around them. Mulcahy et al. (2005) point out that this revelation can be attributed to the addictive property of nicotine (the main chemical agent contained in tobacco). Despite the obvious risks associated with nicotine intake, most people who have already developed this habit continue smoking.
The use of questionnaires is chosen as an appropriate method for conducting the study due to some of the inherent advantages associated with this method. First and foremost, questionnaires enable the researchers to determine the direction that the study should take and guide the participants accordingly. Secondly, the use of closed format questions in the questionnaires is important for simplifying the tallying process and consequently facilitating faster delivery of the results. The format for closed questions will consist of “yes/no or not sure” answers. However, the use of close format questions also has a disadvantage; the participants are limited to only the choices available in the multiple choices provided.
The questionnaire method used here to evoke responses to the question of whether an indoor smoking ban by the government should be supported. The questionnaires were distributed to more than 150 participants although finally data and responses were collected from 145 participants. The questionnaires had basic questions on whether the participant is a smoker or nonsmoker and whether he or she supports the indoor smoking ban by the government.
The questionnaires were distributed as a survey on Survey Monkey. Data on ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘not sure’ responses were obtained from 145 respondents and the data were tabulated and statistical results obtained from the data.
The results indicated that 82 out of 145 participants suggested that the U.S. government should implement an indoor smoking ban, whereas 48 participants did not support and disagreed with the idea of a smoking ban implemented by the government. 15 of the participants were not sure of the smoking ban and indicated ‘not sure” when asked whether the government should implement an indoor smoking ban for the public. In contrast, 87 participants suggested that they supported a nationwide smoking ban compared with 82 who suggested that the US government should implement a smoking ban. 49 of the participants were nonsupporters of the total smoking ban compared with 48 who simply did not support the idea that the US government should implement an indoor smoking ban. 8 were undecided or not sure whether they supported the smoking ban compared with 15 who were not sure whether they supported the idea that the US government should implement an indoor smoking ban.
The results also indicated that among 145 participants, 130 were nonsmokers and 15 were smokers. There was one open-ended question on how many cigarettes or how frequently the participants smoked. Apart from this one question, all other questions asked were closed questions. The results can be given as follows:
- Respondents who agreed that the US government must implement an indoor smoking ban – 82
- Respondents who did not agree that the US government has the right to implement an indoor smoking ban – 48
- Respondents not sure whether the US government should ban indoor smoking – 15
- Respondents who supported a nationwide complete smoking ban – 87
- Respondents who did not support a nationwide total indoor smoking ban – 49
- Respondents who were not sure whether they support a nationwide total smoking ban -8
- The number of smokers among respondents – 15
- The number of nonsmokers among respondents – 130
The results suggest that most respondents to this questionnaire are nonsmokers although both smokers and nonsmokers showed disagreement that indoor smoking should be banned. Considering this data and using values of people who support the smoking ban, the following analysis can be presented as follows:
Unpaired t-test results
P-value and statistical significance:
The two-tailed P value equals 0.9419
By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be not statistically significant.
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The mean of Group One minus Group Two equals -5.0095% confidence interval of this difference: From -140.01 to 130.01
Intermediate values used in calculations:
- t = 0.0729
- PDF = 288
- The standard error of difference = 68.593
|Group One||Group Two|
The results show that the difference between the two types of responses for whether the US government should ban indoor smoking and whether it should have a nationwide ban on smoking is not statistically significant from the responses received. This would suggest that there is no significant difference of opinion between people who thought that the US government should ban indoor smoking or support the idea that indoor smoking should be banned. The t-test value given here is 0.0729 and the P-value comparing the two responses shows that any difference in response for the two questions asked is not significant.
Discussion and interpretation of the results
The results of the study showed that most participants for the study were nonsmokers and 130 were nonsmokers when compared with 15 smokers. 82 among 145 participants suggested that the US government should implement an indoor smoking ban and 48 were opposed to the US government implementing a ban. For the other question, 87 participants suggested that they supported a nationwide total smoking ban and 49 said that they did not support such a ban. In this case, 8 remained undecided. Results from both the questions when subject to a test showed no significant difference, which means there was not much difference in whether people wanted the US government to implement a ban or supported the nationwide ban. Generally, a majority of the respondents (more than 80) supported or agreed on an indoor smoking ban as the study shows. The findings of the results can be represented in a diagrammatic form as shown below:
The results of the study indicated that the majority of the respondents who participated in the study thought that the government of the USA should impose a ban on indoor smoking. Over three-quarters of the respondents who participated in this study thought that indoor smoking should be banned. Surprisingly, the same respondents also agreed that there should be a total ban on national wide.
This indicates that the American people are much aware of the dangers associated with smoking. The findings of the study indicate that the American people not only wish that the government should ban indoor smoking, but it should do it national wide. In other words, based on the views of the respondents of this study, it is evident that the American people would wish to have a smoking free nation.
There are several probable reasons as to why the majority of the respondents felt that indoor smoking should be banned. First of all, the respondents may be family people whereby they live with their spouses, children, and other family members who are most likely nonsmokers. It is very obvious that if the respondents lived alone they could not oppose indoor smoking (Miller, Vandome & McBrewster, 2010). Therefore the fact that most of the respondents live with other family members made them agree to the idea of the government to ban indoor smoking.
However, it is worth noting that the indoor ban will not be implemented in homesteads only but also in other closed public and social places. Generally, the findings indicate that the majority of the American people are not comfortable with the habits of smoking. This is the reason why most of the respondents felt that the USA government should ban indoor smoking. There is a likelihood that most of the respondents have been affected by tobacco smoke or have witnessed other people suffer as a result of primary and secondary smoking (Stevens, 2010).
Limitations of the study
The study involved only the quantitative method whereby the respondents were limited to yes, no, and not sure answers. There were no qualitative research methods such as interviews to collect quantitative information from the respondents. More so, the number of smokers among the respondents who participate in the study was very small compared to that of nonsmokers and this might have contributed to biased results. Ordinarily, the majority of the nonsmokers are likely to support the ban (Miller, Vandome & McBrewster, 2010). The study also did not involve the views of people less than eighteen years old population who are the major victims (Owing, 2005).
A study on the effect of tobacco smoking in the USA shows that the majority of the people affected by secondary smoking are mothers and children who do not smoke. The fact that those who participate in the study are people over eighteen years, make the results limited because a group that constitutes the victims of smoking were not involved. The gender composition of those who participate in the study is not regulated in the study. The majority of the smokers in the USA are men and the study did not capture the gender ratio of the participants (Stevens, 2010). There is a likelihood of the results being biased if most of the respondents were men.
Conclusion and recommendations
The findings of the study have indicated the American people fell that the USA government should ban indoor smoking. Additionally, it is realistic to conclude that the majority of the American adult population is aware of the dangers associated with both primary and secondary smoking. The fact that the majority of the respondents who participated in the study supported the ban on both indoor smoking and a total nationwide ban on smoking clearly shows how the American people are willing to make their country free of smokers. Based on the assumption that the findings of the study reflect the general opinion of the American people, then it is evident that the majority of the American people feel that the USA government should pass the indoor smoking ban national wide.
Based on the findings of this study, finding of the study, the USA government should pass a national wide law to ban indoor smoking in the USA. This will ensure that the nonsmoking USA population does not suffer from secondary smoking. Additionally, the law will help in reducing smoking-related diseases in the USA. More so, the number of smokers in the USA will reduce in the long run because there will be limited smoking zones (Stevens, 2010). There is a need to conduct more studies on smoking bans in the USA and other parts of the world. Researchers should carry out more studies on the less than eighteen years old population because they are the major victims. More studies should also be carried to find out how the American population can be discouraged from smoking without imposing bans. It is also essential to conduct more studies on smoking to determine what makes the US people smoke and yet they know the effects of smoking.
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Hyland, A., Hassan, L., Higbee, C., Boudreau, C., Fong, G., Borland, R., &… Hastings, G. (2009). The impact of smoke free legislation in Scotland: results from the Scottish ITC: Scotland/UK longitudinal surveys. European Journal Of Public Health, 19(2), 198-205. Web.
Miller, F. P., Vandome, A. F., & McBrewster, G. (2010). Smoking Bans in the United States. New York, NY: VDM Publishing.
Mulcahy, M., Evans, D., Hammond, S., Repace, J., & Byrne, M. (2005). Secondhand smoke exposure and risk following the Irish smoking ban: an assessment of salivary cotinine concentrations in hotel workers and air nicotine levels in bars. Tobacco Control, 14(6), 384-388.
Owing, J. H.( 2005). Focus on Smoking And Health Research. St, Carbondale, IL : Nova Publishers.
Porth, C. M. (2010). Essentials of Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkens.
Stevens, D. (2010). A Guide to Smoking Bans Including Passive Smoking, Legal Age, No Tobacco Day, and Bans in the United States. New York, NY: BiblioBazaa.
Walsh, R., Paul, C., Paras, L., Stacey, F., & Tzelepis, F. (2011). Workplace-related smoking in New South Wales: extent of bans, public attitudes and relationships with relapse. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 22(2), 85-90.
Wye, P., Bowman, J., Wiggers, J., Baker, A., Knight, J., Carr, V., & Clancy, R. (2010). Total smoking bans in psychiatric inpatient services: a survey of perceived benefits, barriers and support among staff. BMC Public Health, 10, 372-382. Web.