Described as a filthy habit by many, smoking has long been considered a threat by most if not all non-smokers. Health-wise, the discrimination is quite reasonable, if only because the health risks to non-smokers are even greater than on those who are. Despite the fact that smoking might have benefits as a form of self-medication for depression, the “high” it produces is temporary. Needless to say, the risks associated with smoking far outweighs its very few benefits, if that word can be used at all in the context of smoking. Most people would rather not be exposed to the cigarettes and the smoke emitted from it. This is especially true in public places, if the number of territories and countries where smoking is banned in public places is any indication. However, aside from public convenience and the supposed “discrimination” against smokers, there are health benefits for non-smokers because of the smoking ban.

Recent studies show that better respiratory health has been achieved or at least is perceived to be now more attainable among non-smokers. The reason behind this positive health perception is the passage of legislation to ban smoking in public. A recent study found that non-smokers who were not exposed to second-hand smoke were showing better signs of respiratory and circulatory health than they were prior to the ban being put into place. Interestingly, most countries that have public smoking bans in place did not foresee this happening and had originally placed legislation against the habit to help cut down the number of people engaged in it. No one is complaining about this unexpected development, of course, being that it is a welcome thing for the non-smoking population.

The data contradicts the expectations of the people who institute such bans. Most people who issue legislations to ban the public consumption of tobacco and cigarettes believe it would cut down on the number of people who did so. Recent research seems to indicate that this is not the case, with the rate of people people quitting the habit remaining steady before and after the bans. This suggests that banning them from smoking in public is not helping them quit and may simply be forcing them to do so in other, less accessible areas. However, since these areas are out of the public arena, non-smokers are reaping the benefits of cleaner, smoke-free air in areas where a ban is in effect.

The study also took into consideration the number of people being hospitalized for smoke-related ailments. Two areas were investigated, with one having a clear and long-standing public smoking ban, and another that had no such legislation passed. The study specifically chose two hospitals, one in each area, that admitted patients for those smoke-related ailments. The study found that less people went to the hospital for heart and respiratory conditions related to smoking were much lower in the area where the ban was in place, whereas it remained steady in the area without a ban.

The research team noted that even just a little exposure was capable of doing much damage to the cardiovascular system with evidence being provided by the study itself. The smoke causes blood vessels to constrict and reduces the amount of oxygen that goes into the brain. The study showed that, even if the non-smoker has no other risk factors, mere exposure to second-hand smoke can increase the risk of cardiovascular damage greatly.

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