Thursday, November 26, 2020

Protecting life is governments job

Smoking is a threat to more than the smoker.

It is my belief that everyone has a right to be an individual, but this right is not absolute. We cannot exercise our individuality while causing harm to surrounding people. Case in point would be secondhand smoke.

It has been proven that secondhand smoke is a dangerous side effect to smoking that increases the risk of cancer and other lung diseases for those who are regularly exposed to it. The second point of Brian Selewski’s letter attacking the government’s interference is also a misconception (“Governments bother smokers,” SN 10/31).

I firmly believe the government has every right to attempt to save people’s lives. Smoking, in my opinion, is a methodical attempt at suicide, and suicide is illegal. It has been proven that cigarettes are the cause of millions of deaths in this country, deaths that can be prevented. In addition to the death of the individual smoking and the possible deaths and chronic illnesses that can be attributed to secondhand smoke, the hospital bills of smokers cost taxpayers millions.

Every year tax money is given to smokers who lie in hospitals sick as a result of smoking. I’m not saying don’t treat these individuals, but I think that this is all money that could be used for someone else if the smokers could manage to quit. The government has done right to step in and tax the smokers, if not to deter them from smoking, then at least to help pay for their costly debt to society.

So Selewski, I ask you this: Being an individual is an important right in a society, but at what cost? The cost of your life, the cost of millions of taxpayers’ dollars, or the sacrifice of the health and life of nonsmokers? I guess it comes down to more than just your individuality, it comes down to an entire nation. For this reason I believe the government not only should interfere, but it is its duty to interfere.

Andrew Gwinnell
social relations and
communication junior


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