Table 5

Examples of arguments used in legislative debate

Supporters

Opponents


Ideological (rights and freedoms)

"We don't question that people have the right to smoke. The key issue is whether the smoker has the right to deny to the non-smoker access to a healthful, pleasant, safe environment."

"The fact remains that most Americans, smokers and non-smokers alike are weary of tighter government regulation on any issue."

"And, it is not so much a right of a person to smoke, as a right of the public to be protected from that smoke."

"Colleagues, this is not a bill about health. This is a bill about control.... This is another example of this body, the big brothers and the big sisters in [the state capital], telling those little towns and those little counties what it is we are going to let them do or not let them do."

Scientific evidence

"There are studies well documented, and documented in some of the most prestigious medical journals we have, indicating that lung cancer is definitely increased in the spouses of smokers... Studies in children over and over have documented chronic lung disease... Pediatric literature is filled with report after report in regard to documentation in regard to this."

"But I don't believe these statistics. I mean I don't think they are statistics. I think they're just numbers. I think statistics are proven with scientific evidence that passes a variety of tests... But I think for some people to say 3,000,000 of this or 100,000 of that and I think they believe it, but I don't think it's scientific."

"This is called Up-to-Date. This is a computer program that I ran last night on medical research. It's got articles from 270 English speaking journals around the world for the last 12 years. This represents a synopsis of all the data that we know about secondhand smoke and it's compiled and it's up to date as of yesterday... There's [sic] nearly 100 references. Over and over and over again it talks about areas where we have secondhand smoke as a problem."

"The agency document is long, imposing and carries the weight of the federal government. However, it is a study with distorted guidelines, lowered statistical standards, unjustified claims of certainty and incomplete and biased selection of data from the literature. The document is not good science."

Economics

"A smoking employee costs the employer at least 1,000 dollars per year in total excess direct and indirect health care costs, compared with a similar nonsmoking employee."

"The legislation will be difficult to enforce and will place an unfair burden on employers, proprietors, etc., required to enforce it. The law may lead to confrontations with employees, patrons, and others which will be disruptive and perhaps costly."

"Independent, objective, and peer-reviewed studies from across the country have demonstrated that there is NO negative impact on restaurant sales or employment from smoke-free restaurant laws. Studies indicate that the impact of smoke-free laws and ordinances do not adversely affect, and may increase business."


Apollonio and Bero BMC Public Health 2009 9:189   doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-189

Open Data