Smoke-free Chicago

Smoking cigarettes is a habit that is degenerating to the health of humans and the environment. Not only are cigarettes a clear carcinogen, but they also have a deadly consequence on the environment. Cigarette buts can take 12 years to decompose, and they leach harmful chemicals to the environment. They also affect air quality, “While the current EPA standard for average outdoor levels of particulate air pollution is 35 micrograms per cubic metre of air, a Stanford University study measured levels as high as 300 micrograms per cubic metre from just one cigarette” (Eluxe Magazine). Reducing opportunities for smokers helps the environment and the health of the public who faced second-hand smoke.

Chicago has taken action against public smoking. While indoor smoking has been banned for years now, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to smoke outdoors as well. In 2014, the Chicago Park District had also implemented a smoking ban near parks and harbours. Violators face up to a $500 fine. Music festivals like Lollapalooza and Riot Fest also face the ban.

Not only does this prohibition protect children and other bystanders from second-hand smoke, but it also contributes to efforts in reducing toxic substances into the air, ultimately leading to better air quality in Chicago. Unfortunately, I can’t tell whether or not this ban is effective, considering the number of students on our campus who smoke cigarettes and electronic cigarettes amidst no-smoking signs. Redeye Chicago also mentions people who aren’t planning on complying, “Cigar smoker Michael Altshuler plans to continue tobacco use in parks and risk getting slapped with a penalty for violating the parks smoking ban”.




2 thoughts on “Smoke-free Chicago

  1. I think smoke is harmful to the environment and human health. However, We should be aware of this situation. First, I think the smoke-free policy is a way to help it out. Since there are some people already smoking cigarettes for a time and the new technique to help the smoker to get resist of the bad habit. For real, smoking is bad for everything, even for our generation. So, I think it is best to leave it.


  2. This presents a good sustainability issue because it intersects with health and the environment; it makes me think of arguments for consuming less clothing, eating less meat—or vegetarianism—etc. as a way of providing for better human health and a more sustainable environment. I also considered when reading this the prices of things as a function of their negative externalities. In this way we can think of smoking like oil or other forms of fossil fuel energy, which have depressed prices as compared to their negative externalities. Cigarettes, however, do not face the same lag in taxation as fuels have faced; not seeing an increase since 1993, whereas in Chicago taxes on tobacco have raised annually.
    Perhaps to take the thought of financial and environmental repercussions, there are a lot of ways along this line we can think about public health. How can taxation lead to changes in public health, and how can costs begin to more accurately effect the negative outcomes of some non-sustainable habits?


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