If You Squint Maybe It Will Be Fair

When I first heard about the potential ban I was totally for it. I honestly hate smoking. When I was ten years old I lost the one person who I was closest too, the only father figure I had: my uncle, to stage four esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is commonly found in heavy smokers, which actually proved confusing in my uncle’s case. You see he never smoked a day in his life. My uncle was one of 41,000 people to die yearly of secondhand smoking (Center for Disease Prevention). This being said it was really easy to argue the ban was a good thing, that was until further consideration.

Most people would agree that numbers don’t lie. That being said it all comes down to how you look at the numbers themselves. I fully understand that 41,000 people die yearly from exposure to cigarette smoke. Recent research by Science Daily shows that 4.6 million people die yearly do to air pollution. Healthline shows, car exhaust and factory pollution are far more dangerous than cigarette smoke. So why stop at cigarettes? We should also ban private properties and privately owned automobiles from polluting public air. But no-- then we'd be telling a private business how to run its affairs. Yet most of you agree that citizens-- as long as they are a minority-- have no rights in the face of the majority.

Photo credits by Free from Wix

I think the biggest misconception about government housing is that it is free. Yes, government housing is for low income families, but it is not free by any stretch of the imagination. Eligibility for public or subsidized housing comes down to your yearly income (Your income must be less than 80% of the median income for the area). For example, in Ohio the median income is $51,075, which means the most amount of money you could make is $40,860. The amount of money it cost to live in government housing is far from perfect. On average a family living in these facilities is paying around a third of their total paycheck for rent. Which means that if you make $40,860 you’re spending $13,620 of your paycheck. Keeping this in perspective the average American living in an upper scale apartment spends a mere 25% of their total paycheck for rent yearly. After all of that is it really fair to tell someone who is spending too much for a place to live, what they can and cannot do?

My biggest concern is what this ban could mean for our future. If we as Americans have the right to choose, shouldn’t we be able to choose if we want to smoke? Well, if the government can take away your right to choose on a small scale, what will stop them from taking away all your choices?

Along with health, safety also plays a role in deciding if this ban should pass. It is a common belief that smoking is a substantial cause to house fires. The ban begins with the claim that it, “…will also address residential fires, in hopes of significantly ending residential fires,” I think that this is not really a valid idea. According to the US Fire Administration cigarettes make up a mere 2% of all residential fires. While cooking makes up a whopping 5% of residential fires. Looking at these numbers cooking is far more dangerous than smoking a cigarette, so should we ban cooking in government housing? In my opinion it seems as though no way humanly possible to end residential fires, and it is completely arrogant to think that this ban can change that.

Privacy is best defined as the state of being free from unwanted or undue intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs; freedom to be let alone. As a growing society privacy is becoming harder and harder to come by. In all actuality we really don’t live private lives anymore. If you think about it our text messages aren’t even guaranteed to be private, with new terrorist threats the government has every right to look through them and there is nothing you can do about it. As far as the smoking ban you no longer will have privacy in your own home. Which is the one place every single person should have to themselves.

I believe this ban is a pivotal moment for the United States. This ban is so much more than a fight for cigarettes but rather a fight for the basic rights granted to all Americans. This is our time to fight for what we know is right: all people deserve their constitutional rights. So even if you are totally against smoking, just like me, this is still your fight. As much as so many of want to end cigarette smoking I believe that most people would agree this is not the way to do this. So I beg you to raise your voice and continue our fight for human rights.

Illustration credits by Rylie Foster


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