The hazards it poses are simply unacceptable. Not only do smokers harm themselves (suicide of the slow kind), they also harm anyone unfortunate enough to be in the wake of their trail of vaporous death.
As if the growing number of smoking bans in restaurants, airplanes and other public places isn’t sending a strong enough message, researchers now have the first biological data confirming the health hazards of secondhand smoke. Scientists led by Dr. Ronald Crystal at Weill Cornell Medical College documented changes in genetic activity among nonsmokers triggered by exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. Public-health bans on smoking have been fueled by strong population-based data that links exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and a higher incidence of lung diseases such as emphysema and even lung cancer, but do not establish a biological cause for the correlation. Now, for the first time, researchers can point to one possible cause: the passive recipient’s genes are actually being affected.
If drunk driving is illegal because it poses a risk to driver and public, why isn’t smoking? When your smoke alters my genetic makeup, I have every right to make you stop it. You’re free to kill yourself with your cigarettes if you must, but you aren’t free to kill others.