TED Conversations

Schubert Malbas


This conversation is closed.

This house believes that smoking should be banned in public places.


We do not wish to prohibit smoking per se. We do recognize however that smoking is optional but breathing is not. Smoking bans exist in order to prevent the effects of second-hand smoke on the breathing public.

Smoking is positively associated to increase the incidence of many types of cancers, cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and atherosclerosis, lung diseases like emphysema and many other illnesses. Smoking is indeed harmful to both smokers and those inhaling second-hand smoke.

It has also been demonstrated that smoking in indoor public places creates a significant increase of the level of indoor air pollution compared to indoor places with a smoking ban.

Thus laws that prohibit smoking in all public places will promote a healthier environment and will have a positive impact on public health.


A smoking ban that encompasses all public places is construed as a violation of personal liberty and the flagrant restriction of one's exercise to this right.

The State, above all else, should protect the rights of both smokers and non-smokers alike. It is important for our governments to regulate rights rather than to curtail it.

The definition of a public place should also be delineated. Some private business owners of hotels and restaurants may wish to allow smoking among their patrons. Will a total smoking ban restrict the property rights of these business owners and cost an unnecessary loss of income without just compensation?


Join this conversation!

Do you know of the economic and human consequences of related public health practices in your area? Are there are other important issues like tobacco-funded research and other things that we ought to take into account in framing the discussion?

What do you make of these and other arguments put forward? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 30 2011: My city banned smoking in public places (mainly restaurants and bars) a few years ago. On the whole I believe that it's worked out quite well.
    • thumb
      Oct 31 2011: yeah i agree that the rationale for creating such a law for reasons of public health is a no-brainer.
      it only becomes difficult when we consider how it affects the liberties of smokers, and becomes controversial when some groups will try to lobby against such a measure.
    • Nov 4 2011: As I understand it, this debate is about smoking in public places outdoors, such as parks or city streets, as most states have already banned smoking indoors in public places in almost every establishment. The problem with such a ban is that it would likely do more harm than good. Many people live in homes with no private outdoor space, so such a ban would force them indoors and increase the risks to their friends and family.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.