Smoking in work places
Nature: Health and safety at work legislation requires that employers protect their staff from harmful substances in the workplace and take reasonable and practicable measures to secure the health, safety and welfare of their employees. The evidence clearly shows that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is harmful as it may cause a variety of fatal or less serious conditions in exposed non-smokers. 84% of people, including 69% of current smokers, believe that smoking should be restricted at work.
Counter Claim: Since almost all of the epidemiological evidence about the health effects of secondhand smoke relates to long-term exposure in the home, the fact that this is the one place generally exempted from current and proposed smoking bans suggests a residual concern for property rights. Yet business owners have property rights, too. If governments respect their right to establish rules about smoking on their own property, potential employees and customers could take such policies into account when deciding where to work or which businesses to patronize. Whether secondhand smoke is a health hazard or merely a nuisance, such a voluntary system is the most appropriate way to deal with the conflicting demands of smokers and nonsmokers, since it allows for diversity and competition, rather than simply imposing the will of the majority on everyone.
Problem Type: G: Very specific problems
Date of last update 11.03.1999 – 00:00 CET