Until recently I was having a discussion with some of my friends and I expressed my views about one of the discussed topics, the recently imposed ban on smoking at public places. I had some different views from the group which thought ban was a progressive step taken by the government. That is what Sumeet has quoted here in his blog. I thought it would be justified to the audience when I should explain why exactly I am against the ban.
To start with let’s get to the core of the subject, what exactly is the purpose of the ban? What can be defined as the Public place? First of all let us understand the meaning of ban, a ban is a very strict decree which entails a prohibition of certain activity by making it illegal. If you intentionally or unintentionally commit the mentioned activity you become a criminal and can be prosecuted for the same. So when government has put up a ban on smoking in public places. The basic intention I believe behind this ban is; the final enlightenment of the government that smoking is injurious to health and is a probable cause of cancer and other respiratory conditions. So the ban should be instituted to protect all the people who might die of the diseases caused by smoking. Now for the government as an institution all the subjects should be equal, so the attempt to protect all citizens should be equal. A person who is a citizen of India should not be allowed to consume cigarettes invariably something like Marijuana, Cocaine or Heroine. A lot of you would say that these are drugs and they are harmful; but the crude fact is all these drugs and cigarettes are addictive and harmful for health. Cigarette might be a slower addiction and the harmful affects show in a bit longer run; now I mean it is similar to say consumption of potassium cyanide on will is disallowed; but for suicide a relatively slower poison available for consumption. If the intent of protecting people is so genuine and honest; then shouldn’t government go ahead and ban the sale of all kinds of cigarette across India; that would serve a purpose effectively. I mean this would immediately and most effectively reduce the ill-effects of cigarettes across the country. But the government wouldn’t do so, because they do not want the high taxes coming from the tobacco going down.
Second argument which would come would be the idea of free will; that a person is allowed to smoke but not in public spaces where it might harm others. Now the basic idea is that if a person is allowed to smoke in private; then let us first define what public is and what is private and how would this equation affect people. Now for the sake of discussion let us take a definition of public as something which is not completely owned or leased or habitat for the person. So a person is allowed to smoke in the locations which are not above which more or less leaves the homes. Now here comes my major concern if the government is so concerned then why this bias against the family members of the same person. For a government since all its subjects are equal why risk the heath of the family members of the smoker. Interestingly the guy who always used to go out of the house to puff a cigarette (he smoked because he couldn’t quit) so that it doesn’t harms his family. He used to walk to a solitary corner on the road near the Pan Shop and used to smoke. Such an amicable solution; now the same guy when indulges himself with his tobacco becomes a criminal as he violates the ban. So to be a non-criminal he is supposed to suffocate his children and family. Now if the government wanted the people to be healthy and in good spirit wouldn’t it would have been more simpler just to say no one is allowed to cell cigarettes in India.
But here is the catch government when constituted this law is neither interested in the health of the public in general. Nor it has to be in any concerns of its positive effects. What would actually happen which we all know including our honorable health minister-
1- The poor labor class for whom the source of entertainment is derived from smoking a 5 paise bidi would continue to smoke in public. They anyways cannot afford to pay fine; so might be on some rough days constables would chase them for pure fun may be struck a couple of whacks and leave the smokers with their sticks
2- The so called common man, the middle class who is not strikingly rich but still have a wallet and some money to pay to the cops would be troubled by the police.
3- The illegal smoking places would pop up here and there which would pay hafta to the police to let people smoke in their premises.
4- The minister being a highly knowledgeable man would be able to fool the public like every time but this time all educated public to enhance is public image and vote bank.
So I am totally against the ban of smoking in public places. So Minister sir my humble request to you is before you come with these awesome ideas of yours why don’t you direct the tax income for cigarettes to the health and come out one day and say that in India no one would die because there wasn’t proper beds, medicine, equipment available in the “SARKARI HOSPITAL”. When you have done this ban cigarettes, ban alcohol, ban cheese or oil if you want to for heath reason and I will campaign for you. But before you breach the free will of the people; earn the right to do it apart from elections.