In response to a question someone asked me anonymously, I think that whether or not cigarette smoking is allowed in a public place should be the decision of the local populous or property owner. For example, restaurant and bar owners should decide for themselves if they will allow smokers and where they will sit, etc. Sports venues and parks should be as decided by the local population.
Cigarette smoking causes pollution when you smoke, drop the cigarette, and discard the packaging. However, I have always enjoyed tobacco from time to time. Say, 2 or 3 times a year with my best friends, so I am much more lenient than some others on this issue. I am also typically in favor of allowing the local population to decide what’s best for them. It should be the people who own that business or visit that space that make the decision whether to allow smoking in their public area.
In the United States, the insurance industry is a powerful political force and it has lobbied to make public laws that ultimately lower the insurance industry’s business costs. Some criticize that the bottom line is that industry’s primary concern, not the well being of the public, and that some laws infringe on the rights of the individual (this is important to Americans). At the same time, entire communities of people may ban together to illegalize smoking in their public spaces. These tend to be urban and suburban communities of more affluent and/or educated people. In the US, smoking is much less popular than in past years and smokers are typically always considerate of non-smokers when indoors. If the law doesn’t already require it, the smokers usually go outside.
As China develops, more people will become aware of the dangers of cigarette smoking. However, we can’t underestimate the power of the cultural value of smoking. Smoking is popular in a number of important Chinese ceremonies. Eventually there may come a shift in the priorities of the Chinese people, but only to improve the quality of their lives. For example, the parents of a wedding party may decide that the health of their children and family is more important than observing the age-old tradition of smoking (indoors) at that time. Smoking (indoors) becomes frowned upon for this reason and so everyone quits or starts smoking outside only. This is a simple example but you get the point. Eventually this kind of thinking changes the people’s behavior and their ideas of normal, right and wrong. The shift or change (disapproving of smoking in public) is due to a desire to improve the quality of family life, and so the change becomes popularly accepted.