Banning smoking in public places
Health authorities in Jamaica are moving towards a full ban on smoking in public places What the people say about:
By Iana Seales
Stabroek News
January 19, 2004

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Yvonne Cummings, housewife: 'I would appreciate such a move by the Health Ministry. Smoking in public places is an unhealthy practice yet we see it happening before our very eyes. The smoke affects non-smokers and very few smokers take that into account. Legislation on tobacco control in this country is what I would term wishful thinking. People have very little if any respect at all for laws these days and it will take a while before we move from that phase.'

L. Braithwaite, operator: 'Smoking in my opinion is bad for one's health. I smoked cigarettes a few years ago and they didn't do me any good, most of the time I suffered from short-breath. I am for a full ban on smoking in public places. I have no problem with someone who wishes to smoke in private that is their choice. Cigarette smokers should have consideration for others when they feel like lighting up and find some private place and smoke. Laws restricting public smoking are a welcome move but they will not change anything unless provisions are put in place to monitor the behaviour of smokers.'

Nandini Baksh, self-employed: 'I am against smoking entirely. Why people smoke on a regular basis still baffles me. I think smokers play with their health and it is only a matter of time before they realise that. I support any move to ban smoking in public places. Ever so often we are affected by smoke polluting the air that we have to inhale. It is time someone fought this thing and put a stop to it. I believe we are hoping for too much in assuming that laws will stop this practice.'

Jomo Singh, sales: 'I see no problem with smoking in public places. Where do people get off telling others where to do something they find relaxing. I smoke because I find it relaxing, it eases my mind. Stress is something I deal with all day and a cigarette takes much of it away from me. If someone complains about my smoke affecting them I move and find another spot. I feel that laws should be put in place to prevent children from purchasing cigarettes. I would never encourage a child to smoke and I would not sell them a cigarette either because they are easily influenced.'

Abiola Alphonso, sales clerk: 'I am not impressed by smokers solely because they have very little respect for the effect their actions have on people who do not smoke. I think a full ban on public smoking is a great idea and those of us who are affected by the smoke can breathe easy, literally. Stricter laws can be put in place to aid in the fight against public smoking but I am not too sure whether people will respect such laws.'

Ryan Khan, salesman: 'Like every other cigarette smoker I see no reason why smoking should be banned in public places. Smoking is a habit for me and no one can kill it. A ban would be unfair to people like me. I smoke for relaxation and I also find it enjoyable. I would not say that I am nuisance because I do not smoke and affect people. People just take offence that is not even justified most of the times.'

Jonel Reynolds, teacher: 'I would not support a move to ban smoking in public places. People smoke for various reasons the public just need to be more tolerant. There are people who are affected by cigarette smoke but that should not be reason enough to chide smokers. If any law is to be implemented it should reflect tolerance. Put systems in place that make provisions for smokers and non-smokers alike. Smokers should not feel bad for practicing something they feel comfortable doing. Those of us who feel that smoking is bad are allowed our opinions but we should avoid being prejudiced.'

George Thomas, student: 'Smoking hampers a healthy lifestyle and poses a threat to people who do not smoke. In the clear view of humanity it is wrong. I am for any ban that stops people from smoking in public places. Personally, the smoke affects me and I am not the only person who feels that way. I am not saying that people shouldn't smoke they can do so in the confines of their home or any private place. The sad thing is people have very little respect for laws in this country so whether or not any laws are implemented a problem would still arise.'

Oslyn Wilson, fisheries worker: 'I am tired of having to inhale smoke every time I travel in a minibus and it only begins there. People smoke whenever they feel the urge and care less about how people around them feel. Smoking in public should have been banned a long time ago. The fact that people have been complaining about it for years is testimony that something needs to be done. Yes they should move to implement a law to put a full ban on public smoking, I will support that. I really do not have a problem with people smoking privately.'

N. Ally, businessman: 'Putting a full ban on smoking in public places is no easy task, there are too much smokers in our society today. The number of smokers around is quite startling should we put a figure. I see no reason why people should not smoke in public if that is their pastime. What I am against is people smoking in public buildings, I think that is disrespectful. Smoking is a real comfort for people with problems and sometimes nothing eases stress better. I use to smoke and even then people took offence. There will always be a group that takes offence and will oppose smokers. Laws are passed but nothing ever really changes.'