Public smoking at work place has created an overwhelming pressure on both employers and employees in organizations (Pears, 2009). In addition, the increase in expenditures in health care across the world has led to unprecedented interest in control of public smoking in a bid to protect the public. This is a good strategy geared towards improving employees’ health as well as reducing costs on health issues. In addition, employees’ safety is critical to smooth operation an organization. Moreover, employees form a significant part of an organization and therefore, their health and well-being is not only critical but also important for both employers and employees in organizations.
A ban on bar smoking in Florida has several benefits not only to the public but also to economic growth of a nation. To start with, it enhances the protect employees’ health and safety. Health and safety are critical issues in employment and public life. It is prudent to note that smoking in bars exposes non-smokers to second hand smoking which a great health risk to the people. In this regard, imposing a ban on public smoking in bars will promote the safety of both smokers and nonsmokers. Cigarette smoking causes cancer and therefore to allow public smoking in bars and restaurant stipulate that the right of nonsmokers is not protected. Therefore, a ban will go long way in mending the bond between smokers and nonsmokers.
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Imposition of ban on smoking in bars in Florida has not gone well with everyone in the state. This is because the ban has elicited uproars from various groups. This is a pointer towards disharmony in the state of Florida; yet, policies directed to the people should be for the people and by the people. Among the civilians in the society, imposition of any ban should reflect that wants of the majority. Moreover, as much as majority must always have their way, the minority also has their say. This is a policy paper seeking to elaborate on the ongoing debates about the advantages and disadvantages of banning smoking in public bars in Florida. The policy analysis paper reviews the consequences of smoking in public bars in Florida and proposes the ideal measure to be taken to ensure that the ban does not affect the very people it should protect.
The Role of the Occupational Health and Safety in State Policies
Occupational Health and Safety, (OHS) is a policy in the United States of America that seeks to protect the public health of the people across various disciplinary areas. The function of the OHS is to foster a sense of unity among the various groups of people who interact at public places. It aims at protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the people. On the topic of this policy paper, the OHS ideals will be viewed with respect to the health policies. The OHS is merited for its emphasis on moral, legislative, and fiscal measures. Morally, it would be ideal for the federal government to protect the employees at places of work place for a healthy society. The legal front of the OHS advocates for the taking preventive, disciplinary, and mandatory initiatives to safeguard the health of the workforce in places of employment. By implementing policies of OHS, the federal government would be able to cut down the number of employee injuries and health problems. This would be significant in reducing cost of medical care, reduce the number of sick leaves, and benefits given to the physically challenged people.
Looking at the ban on bar smoking in Florida, it is critical to appraise the policy issues within the context of the ideals of the federal policy suggested in the OSH. As seen in the discussion above, the OHS is a policy framework that includes preventive and disciplinary measures to implement. This is however done on moral and financial grounds. The state measures to institute policies that control smoking in public places like bars should therefore take into consideration all these underlying issues. In the analysis of this policy, arguments presentable before the administration should advocate for a broader perspective of implementing the ban in Florida by looking at the policy in within the framework of OHS.
Policy Issue Needs that should be Addressed
Negatives of the Ban
According to Fakler (2003), businesses in Florida were already choking by the terror threats and another menace to business was simply viewed as intolerable. The uproar by businesspersons in Florida followed the passing of the ban of smoking in bars in the state of Florida after the Florida House passed the bill in April 2003. On standby was the Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s supported bill that intended to permit for standalone restaurants to designate smoking zones for their clients. After the bill was passed, there was an immediate response to the consequences of the bill banning smoking in public bars in Florida. Business owners questioned the extremities of the bill as it could lead to fall-out of the economy. So far, the economic concern of the business owners goes against the provisions of the OHS, which requires that the financial implications of OHS bans be reviewed. The economic debate was the main issue conecrening the ban as indoor smoking on the bill was less important following the reducing number of smoking patrons.
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The moral ideals of the ban can also be challenged as the same bill imposes a ban on patio smoking. The worst bit of the patio ban is that reduces creature comfort for tourists who visit the sate and pay hefty amounts in hotel and accommodation. According to Mertz as quoted by Fakler (2003), “Requiring European and Latin American guests paying $3,000 a night to give up a creature comfort such as smoking ‘is a little touchy’ he said.” This issue is of major concern because the tourists visiting Florida would be too scared to get into Florida because of the ban on patio smoking.
Another big concern of the ban is its potential to bring culture clash. It would be hard to make tourists from across the globe to quit smoking because it is illegal in Florida. It would be difficult to convince such a person that it is a legal obligation not to smoke. Available research data points to the fact that the ban on bar smoking in Florida led to many young people taking up smoking, because of the ban. Therefore, the ban propagates more harm than good to the society. In addition, the attention smoking received due to the ban made people more curious about it. Similarly, a ban on bar smoking in Florida led to several rampant cases of domestic and workplace disagreement. Research points out that lack of smoking cause domestic and workplace disagreements (Burke & Signal, 2010). It is noted that when a smoker cannot smoke, he or she is likely to be irritated. The ban on bar smoking in Florida is an infringement of personal rights. Therefore, it causes opposition that causes disharmony in bars and the entire city.
The Positives of the Ban
The number one killer of all preventable diseases in the world is the use of tobacco, which accounts for 20% of all deaths in America. Tobacco users see this habit as a stress reliever though tobacco use could stimulate the production of epinephrine hormone that cause stress for a user. Nicotine as mentioned earlier is an addictive substance that acts as a nervous stimulant of the nerve system. Nicotine reaches the brain in seconds causing the heart to beat rapidly. The dependence on nicotine may cause psychological and physiological effects to a tobacco addict in withdrawal. The nicotine user may also experience insomnia and nausea on the suppressed use of nicotine.
In the United States, the deaths attributed to the effect of tobacco use is equivalent to crashing of three fully loaded jumbo jets daily with no survivors for 365 days. That is unbelievable but because it is not heightened, it is not seen as a major health concern and the users do not see it as a timed bomb-awaiting the explosion. According to the World Health Organization, (2002) smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancer among men and 70% in women. The report also notes that the percentage of the causes of chronic respiratory disease range between 56-80% and 22% cause of cardiovascular diseases in the developed countries. The worldwide statistics indicate that approximately 4.9 million deaths are result from tobacco use including the use of pipes and smoking cigars which are always seen as mild methods of tobacco consumption.
Effects of tobacco use during pregnancy and the effects to the unborn child
Professionals & Researchers (n.d) have come up with a revelation of how bad tobacco use is during pregnancy. Tobacco use has adverse effects for both the mother and the child during pregnancy and after birth. Professionals & Researchers reveal that 10% of American women smoke during pregnancy a figure that is higher compared to the rate for developing nations. Pregnant mothers would drastically reduce the percentage of stillbirths by 11% and reduce the infant mortality rate by 5% if they quit using tobacco. For a newborn, tobacco use is responsible for low birth weight because of poor growth rate before delivery. In addition, tobacco use leads to pregnancy complications as it doubles a woman’s likelihood of having a placental problem. As a result, heavy bleeding may take place during birth endangering the life of both the mother and the child. Premature Rupture of the Membranes (PROM) can also be increased for a smoking mother. When the sac that holds the baby in the uterus breaks before the expected duration of pregnancy, it will lead to premature delivery of the unborn child.
Newborns must be kept in a smoke free environment as the newborn may be exposed to lower respiratory diseases for example, pneumonia and bronchitis besides contracting ear infections. Exposure to smoking may make a baby develop Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and asthma. Professions & Researchers notes that tobacco use by mothers who smoked during pregnancy would give birth to children who will appear jittery and difficult to soothe than the case of a non-smoker’s child.
Dangers of passive smoking
Passive smoking also known as second-hand smoking or Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is the inhalation of smoke by a non-smoker from a smoker. Non-smokers are not aware that there are dangers of passive smoking though not as adverse as the case is for smoker. There seem to be no surety of the level of second-hand smoking that can be experienced in a given environment or whether or not there is a smoke-free environment. Passive smoking has both short term and long-term effects to a non-smoker.
Economic concerns of tobacco use
According to the International Development Research Center et al. (2003) economics of tobacco, reveal that the losses associated with tobacco market is estimated to be $200 billion worldwide. These costs result from substantial amounts of money spent on treatment of diseases related to tobacco use like cancer, heart diseases, chronic pulmonary disease ($5.6 million), and cardiovascular diseases among other. In addition, there is economic cost pegged on the productivity time lost by the patients of tobacco related diseases while undergoing medical treatment. The government has to spend money is research and policy development in a bid to curb the health and environmental hazards because of tobacco use.
The complexity of curbing tobacco use especially in the developing nations has been hindered by the reluctance by the relevant administrations due to the hefty revenues they withdraw from the tobacco industries in form of taxation. Besides, due to addiction of tobacco use, it is easier for increase tax without significantly reducing the rate of cigarette consumption. Contrarily, imposition of heavy taxes can lead to loss of revenues for the government as traders may now resort to smuggling. When stiffer penalties are imposed for the tobacco goods manufacturers, there is likely to be job losses and this is a serious problem in developing countries and the developed nations especially in this current economic crisis. In response to this economic impetus, it is suggested that development of non-fiscal policies alongside fiscal policies should be adopted in curbing tobacco use, (International Development Research Center et al., 2003).
Like most US states, Florida has recently increased efforts to ban smoking in public places, beginning with 1985's Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, (FCIAA). In 2002, 71 percent of Florida citizens voted for a constitutional amendment to prohibit smoking in most indoor workplaces. This is a show that the majority of the civilians in Florida support the ban on smoking in bars in Florida. This can be understood given then many concerns of public smoking that outnumber the reasons for removing the ban. Nonetheless, in accordance with the OHS framework, smoking bans should include legal, moral, and economic parameters. In this respect, as much as the majority voted for the ban, the administration must look at the concerns of the few who are directly affected. Suggestions should therefore be open to anybody willing to contribute to this policy. The policy should be reviewed to encompass all the recommendations of OHS as discussed above. This is because an inclusive policy which caters for all aspects of life is very important to all parties in the society.
The passage of the ban in 2003 means that it is illegal to smoke indoors in nearly all workplace areas and spaces open to the public in Florida. According to the FCIAA, signs designating no-smoking areas must be posted in appropriate areas in order to put people on notice. Anyone who smokes in a designated non-smoking area commits a non-criminal violation. In this regard, Florida residents have the right to report violations of the requirement as stipulated by FCIAA to the Department of Health, (DOH) and other appropriate state agencies. This has led to public discipline, which promote peace and harmony in Florida. This recommendation is intended at cutting down on the culprits who end up paying hefty fines for violating the ban..
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