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Smoking in the Workplace

Smoking in the Workplace

Here in Los Angeles we took a lot of static when smoking was banned in bars and restaurants. Now, even the jaded New Yorkers are doing it! From a health perspective there are serious questions about second hand smoke. Of course, if you don't want to go into a smoky bar, then don't go in. But some people don't really have that choice, namely those who work there. Or do they? Are people who work in bars and restaurants any different from police or miners, or anyone with a job that has a certain risk? If they know and accept the risk doesn't that make it acceptable? Or should it be like any other work place safety concern? Perhaps people who work in a bar or restaurant have the right to a smoke free and safe environment. Of course, all this depends on whether or not you accept the studies on second hand smoke to begin with.

Do you agree with New York's ban on smoking in bars and restaurants?


I know that the ban goes beyond just bars and restaurants, but please focus only on this aspect and write a three to five page answer. Dig on the web and in proquest to find out as much as you can about the new law, and of course, apply the principles of normative ethics in your answer (utility and deontology).

Please read:

New York state outlaws smoking in all enclosed workplaces
Nation's Restaurant News; New York; Apr 7, 2003; Paul Frumkin;

Moving with unexpected swiftness, New York state lawmakers passed a sweeping anti-smoking measure that makes New York the third state after California and Delaware to ban smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and hotels. Within hours of the New York bill's passage, Governor George E. Pataki signed the tough measure, which exempts only America-Indian-owned casinos, cigar bars already licensed in New York City, fraternal clubs, outdoor areas of restaurants with no roof or awning, private homes, and personal but not company cars. New York's ban will take effect July 24 in areas where smoking now is permitted and where local ordinances are weaker. Although the law will not supersede the stricter measures previously passed in Westchester and Nassau counties, it will replace elements of New York City's new law, which took effect March 30.

Solution Preview

After reading your assignment and locating and reading the complete article referenced in your posting, I am going to assume that you are completing this paper for an ethics course or the current topic in your class is ethics. Since your assignment involves analyzing the smoking ban in New York based on utilitarianism and deontology, I will start there and then I will give you some general suggestions.

1. Ethics of the smoking ban in New York and anti-smoking laws in general

According to Mill's utilitarian principles, or social utility, the goal of leaders is to maximize the happiness of the majority of the population. In promoting the happiness of the majority of the population, marginal members of the community may be negatively impacted (Ciulla, 2003). Following the theory of utilitarianism, decisions are judged as moral based on their outcome. So, using Mill's theory of utilitarianism, is the ban on smoking in all workplaces, including bars and restaurants, ethical? Is the majority of the populace made happy by this decision? In order to answer this question, I looked up some statistics for New York. According the America's Health Rankings, 17.3 % of the U.S. population are smokers. In New York, the percentage is 15.5 - even lower than the national average. We might consider smokers to be "marginal" members of society, having their rights impacted negatively by the ban on smoking. However, let's explore the health related issues that are plaguing the U.S. at this time.

The leading causes of death in the United States include heart disease, cancer, and stroke (Chowdbury et al, 2010; Insel & Roth, 2010). Each of these three leading causes of mortality can be exacerbated by individual choices. Gone are the days of infectious disease being the number one public health challenge. Instead, chronic diseases plague Americans. This plague, in a large part, is due to lifestyle choices (Insel & Roth, 2010). ...

Solution Summary

This solution offers a brief discussion of the ethics of smoking in the workplace. Specifically, it discusses the ban on smoking in New York and anti-smoking laws.