The prompt given is "to present a sustained and reasoned point of view on a selected issue in Australian media since September 1 2012."
I have chosen to speak about a possible ban of smoking in all public in areas in Australian states, attempting to persuade the audience that the ban is beneficial to the population and should be implemented.
Feedback would be much appreciated!
"Everyone, even the apparent one-sided marketing teams of tobacco companies, can acknowledge that smoking is bad for people’s health. Pictorial evidence of its dastardly effects, strewn across each deck of 20s, public health posters extolled with “SMOKING KILLS” in vivid text remind us each day. On a serene, sunny afternoon in a Melbourne cafÃ©, I often find the aromatic scene suddenly interrupted by the pungent scent of tobacco wafting from a gentleman lighting up beside my table, and the sudden shift of the other Melbournian customers as they attempt to avoid breathing it in.
As one of the most common and unhealthy of human habits, smoking, generally in public, had been regarded as a personal choice that bystanders had little control over. Now, for the first time, the act of public smoking is becoming regulated, even restricted in some instances. Many believe that it should be prohibited as it influences every person devoid of their own approval, whereas tobacco users believe that their right to personal, private use of tobacco is being stolen from them. Nonetheless, it’s time for smoking in public to butt out.
Since 2004, Victoria and a number of other states have been campaigning to restrict the act of smoking — starting with proposals to make clubs, pubs and bars smoke free. In the new age of 24-hour gyms, shake weights and electronic cigarettes, Australia has been gradually moving towards a healthier population. The story is that in recognition of the harmful effects of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, the Australian government are taking intervention to curb the problem of public smoking, taking legal action in regards to implementing a law that prohibits smoking in all public places, including outdoor dining and drinking areas. Perth has already implemented a ban, with Melbourne hot on their heels. Melbourne Councillor Richard Forster states that no-smoking boundaries have been extended “around play areas ... childcare centres and hospitals,” and that “it’s about time that we made it simpler for smokers and everyone else.” I, like 70% of people surveyed in 2010 Cancer Council Victoria Survey, agree that this smoking ban would be beneficial and approve of smoking bans in outdoor areas, although, of course, there are those who oppose it.
Among the minority, smokers and tobacco users and some members of the population are fighting to preserve their rights. Many believe that smokers have the right to enjoy themselves. They believe that the ban is unnecessary as it restricts liberties too much, that it has gone “too far” in the plight for a healthier city. Whilst all humans do have a right to enjoy themselves, they should not be allowed to so when endangering the health and safety of other human beings. Serial killers enjoy killing people, but it is against the law to do it. Smokers endanger the lives of more than themselves when they smoke in public places.
It is also believed that the ban would be difficult to enforce, as smoking is a common and popular occurrence. However, after being trialled in some countries, compliance rates have shown to be quite high, with a smoking ban in Scotland evoking a compliance rate in excess of 99% after just three months. Scotland made it work, so what’s stopping Australia? Many laws are difficult to enforce, though to protect the public, it is necessary.
It is also believed that the introduction of the ban would have a drastic effect on some businesses. Smoking is considered to be a part of nightlife culture, and that if smokers are not allowed to smoke in pubs, they will not spend as much time in them and revenue will be lost. However, although smokers may cause initial losses, pubs and restaurants will gain money from those who are more likely to eat or drink somewhere if they know they will not have to breathe in second hand smoke. After a state smoking ban in Wisconsin, Savanna Oehrle, manager of a local village pub, stated that despite losing some customers, “a lot of non-smokers would stay longer because it wasn’t so smoky.” It’s possible.
So what else does this ban have to offer? With nearly 4000 Victorians dying of smoke-related illnesses each year, I think Australia can afford to make a change. Although some smokers may argue the ban is pointless, it is likely to provide many benefits. The ban would reduce public exposure to second hand-smoke, saving non-smokers from being exposed to its hazards. Those exposed to second-hand smoke can experience similar effects to those who smoke directly. According to the World Health Organisation, second-hand smoke contributes to over 600,000 deaths per year, from causing conditions such as serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. With the smoking ban proposing principles such as preventing smoking within 10 metres of places like playgrounds, is it not justifiable to prevent citizens, even children, from exposure to these potential effects?
Arguably, the ban would make it more difficult for smokers to find suitable places, though this would be advantageous. It would make it difficult for smokers to keep up with their habit. Not being able to smoke in a pub, a smoker would have to go outside, to possibly face the wrath of unpredictable Melbourne weather, away from their non-smoking friends every time they wanted a cigarette. This would be likely to influence someone to at least consider giving up, or even to smoke less frequently. When a smoking ban in public was introduced in England in 2004, after 9 months there was a fall of 5.5% of the number of smokers in the country, compared to the 1.1% fall before the ban. This is only a good thing, as giving up would reduce the risk of death and smoking’s effects on health.
Furthermore, if smoking becomes “legally wrong” in the eyes of society, it may also deter the younger population from adopting the habits. I’m sure that many Australian parents would not be delighted at the thought of their child lighting up, so the portraying smoking in this negative life may encourage youths to appeal to their morals, and curb any possible habits beginning.
It is evident that introducing this ban that prohibits smoking in public would benefit Australia greatly. The health benefits are the main concept behind it, though reducing the appeal of smoking can also extend to further generations and help Australia gradually in the plight for a healthier population. It is recognised that smoking is a personal choice that smokers are rightfully allowed to what they do, but at what cost? Smokers are still available to freely smoke in their own homes, in privacy, still able to enjoy themselves. There is no total absence, no total dissatisfaction. Despite smoker’s opposition, the ban would be just what Australia, and Victoria needs. Organisations such as the Cancer Council argue that it is possibly not enough, that we aren’t in line with the rest of the nation. So, perhaps it’s time we finally work to extinguishing this flame in Melbourne, in the whole of Australia, and butt out cigarettes in public once and for all."