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What are some arguments to support a smoking ban?

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Smoking ban proponents generally point to reduced instances of ailments caused by secondhand smoke, including premature births, severe asthma, increased stroke risks and other health problems. These problems are particularly acute in an enclosed area, such as a restaurant or other public building. Cigarette butts and other associated litter represent a risk to the local wildlife in more open, outdoor environments. Any effort to attach a societal stigma on smoking is argued to be best for everyone.

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Children are particularly sensitive to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke because their respiratory and immune systems are still developing. One study completed in 2014 suggests that laws banning smoking in public places reduce severe asthma in children by 10 percent while also reducing the risk of premature birth by 5 percent. Studies also show that prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke can harden a child's arteries, making him more susceptible to a stroke later in life. Impressionable kids also may be less likely to start smoking themselves if they are not allowed to see any adults doing it.

Bans on public smoking make it less convenient for smokers to smoke, potentially inspiring them to quit or at least cut back. A smoker smoking less is correlated with positive health outcomes, potentially resulting in 400,000 saved lives annually. Ronald Bayer, professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, argues that protecting smokers from themselves is the true reason behind public smoking bans, with the other reasons cited simply to avoid possible charges of trying to establish a nanny state.

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