Contrary to what smokers usually believe that “it is only their bodies they are hurting,” smoking does also affect the environment. As a matter of fact, it jeopardizes the same by posing lots of negative environmental impact.
Background of the Proposal
Smoking bans were first implemented in 1950 when Pope Urban VII ordered excommunication to anyone who was caught smoking or chewing tobacco near a church. However, this order was repealed by Pope Benedict XIII who was a tobacco user himself.
The history of smoking prohibition continued as other rulers in different parts of the world ordered the same.
Today, the ban continues with majority of the countries prohibiting smoking in public places and providing sanctions to violators. In the Philippines also, smoking ban is being practiced in different public places; however, despite the ad ban, the tobacco industry continues to seduce customers, notwithstanding the harmful effects it causes not only to the smokers, to the environment as well.
How smoking affects the environment?
A rough estimation of thirty percent of Filipinos in the country are smokers.While most people are aware of the damage that smoking does to their body, few are aware of the effects that smoking has on the environment.
Air Pollution – It is quite evident that smoking causes air pollution and to some extent also pollutes the ground. Approximately 4000 chemicals are present in cigarettes, which are breathed out and released in the atmosphere. This indicates that an enormous quantity of pollution is being released in the atmosphere every day. (Source: eHow.com)
Water Pollution – Pollution caused due to smoking is not confined only to the air or body but to some extent it is also responsible in polluting the land and the water. Every day millions of cigarette butts are left on the ground. Maximum of the cigarette butts finally end up in lakes and rivers. By mistake fishes and other water animals eat these butts resulting in death of these water bodies. The remaining butts left on the ground will approximately take 25-26 years to decompose. The various additives and chemicals are leached into the soil, polluting the soil as well as plants. During dry seasons cigarette butts can even cause major fire, which is even harmful for the environment. (Source: notosmoking.com)
Litter and Soil Degredation – In 2007, the number one waste found in community beach sweeps in the United States was cigarette butts. Those butts leach toxins into the soil, and are mistaken as food by birds. (Source: eHow.com)
Pesticides and Tobacco – Tobacco is one of the largest cash crops in the United States and ranks sixth among all agriculture for the amount of pesticides applied per acre. These pesticides end up in soil and water, and all 13 major pesticides used on tobacco have been shown to have some adverse affects on humans and animals. (Source: environment.org)
Smoking and Fire – Cigarettes and careless smoking are the number one cause of forest and home fires. Forest and home fires release a lot of pollution into the atmosphere each year, including plant toxins and dioxins from burning plastic products. (Source: eHow.com)
“The rationale for smoke-free laws is based on the fact that smoking is optional and breathing is not,” as the overuse cliché goes. Therefore, smoking bans exist to protect not only the people who are deliberately exposed to the hazardous fumes smoking emits, but also the environment. Laws implementing bans on indoor smoking have been introduced by many countries in various forms over the years, with lots of research emphasizing the degradation of the environment brought about by smoking.
In addition, such laws may provide an avenue for a more sustainable development of our country. Risks caused by human interventions shall be impaired, thus benefiting the environment as a whole. Pollution shall addressed, among others.
Additional rationales for smoking restrictions include reduced risk of fire in areas with explosive hazards; cleanliness in places where food, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, or precision instruments and machinery are produced; decreased legal liability; potentially reduced energy use via decreased ventilation needs; reduced quantities of litter; healthier environments; and giving smokers incentive to quit.
Furthermore, this project proposal aims to achieve the following specific objectives:
· To impair the intensity of pollution most especially in urban ecosystems by improving the quality of air, water, land and other natural resources;
· To terminate the production of chemicals in the tobacco industry and therefore provide an avenue for the same’s diversification by producing such chemicals in a more beneficial and efficient cause; and
· To give incentives for smokers to quit smoking, thus compelling them to improve on their health conditions, something which are deliberately affected by smoking.
Implementing Rules and Regulations
By total, I mean a rather complete and absolute prohibition of smoking in the country. Therefore, tobacco industries shall be terminated throughout the Philippines.
Where is smoking banned? The scope of the ban is within the territorial premises of the country. Smoking in all indoor public places is banned. Many places - such as cinemas and public transport - have rarely permitted smoking in recent years, and now places like pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and private members’ clubs will not be able to permit customers to smoke inside.
You also can’t smoke in offices or any workplace; you can’t smoke in a company vehicle that is used by several people; even if they are not in it at the time.
Smoking is still be banned at certain outdoor locations that are ‘substantially enclosed’, such as football grounds and covered walkways. It is also banned on all parts of a railway station, even open-air platforms.
Where can I smoke? If you want to smoke, get the hell out of this place and please do not jeopardize this innocent country.
What happens if I’m caught fag-in-hand?If you’re caught smoking, you could be charged of reclusion perpetua or lifetime imprisonment.
What about the tobacco industry? Should this affect the economy, would there still be smoking ban? I strongly believe that the economy shall not be impaired provided there will be a diversification on the part of the tobacco industry. By diversification, I mean they could invest into new ventures without totally restructuring the organization, just product development or perhaps differentiation techniques.
Having this potential plan being practiced in the country, I strongly believe that there will be no greater nation than the Philippines.
With a vast cultural and biological diversity we have, plus the fact that every Filipino contributes to its improvement and sustainability, I just can’t imagine the benefits it shall render to us. Imagine this country with no pollution at all; the air we breathe are as fresh as centuries way back; the water we drink are very clear and spanking new; the land where we step in is cultivated with lots of nutrients in it.
The best and the easiest way to control this environmental destruction is to stop buying this harmful product. It is tough to quit smoking but directly (your health) and indirectly (environment) it will be beneficial for you only.
Mind you, I just can’t imagine Philippines as a smoke-free country.