By: Naomi Etienne
Mexico has placed a strong ban on smoking cigarettes in all public places, making their anti-tobacco laws some of the strictest around the globe. As of Jan. 15, parks, beaches, hotels, stadiums, and public transportation zones are now smoke-free. Those who defy this ban will face charges up to $550. Mt. Hebron students’ opinions differ on this new ban compared to the lack of public smoking laws in the United States.
Senior Karl Strayhorn opened up about how someone close to him is affected by secondhand smoke. “My mom has difficulty breathing in some situations and a smoky environment can make that hard for her,” he shared. Adding on, “some people have underlying conditions and smoking can cause harm to them.”
In a similar situation, Mt. Hebron junior Janice Lee shared, “My cousin’s boyfriend has asthma, so sometimes at public concerts or festivals when people are smoking around him it makes it hard to breathe.”
This leads people to question if public smoking is a threat to the health of others and if more countries should implement laws like Mexico.
“In the United States you can openly do it because there’s freedom, but I think that Mexico’s laws are better and make a safer community,” stated sophomore Autumn Williams.
From a different standpoint, Lee shared, “because of kids or people with asthma, smoking should be allowed in secluded areas far away from others, but should not be banned.”
In terms of whether they feel they have been properly educated on the effects of public smoking, students shared very similar, saddening, responses.
“I don’t think I have [been educated] because I don’t know any of the effects, I just know it smells bad and I can’t breathe,” Williams said.
In agreement, Strayhorn stated he feels that he has been “let down” due to his miseducation.
Mexico has initiated a spark in the conversation of public health, not just from a safety standpoint, but from an educational one.