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Today CNN ran an article about Greece imposing a smoking ban in their country. This caught my eye because while I was in Europe this summer I was told that the European union has decided to enforce a smoking ban for the 27 countries that are included in this group. The smoking ban includes smoking in indoor spaces like restaurants and bars. I was surprised that all the countries agreed to enforce this rule because several of these countries have very high rates of people smoking. In fact, the article discusses how people in Greece associate smoking with having a good time. The article talks about a previous smoking ban in Greece that was a failure because their were no consequences to ignoring the ban. This time Greece is enforcing the ban by creating fines for the restaurant as well as the person that is smoking. The health minister noted that in order to make this ban successful people need to understand the health benefits of reducing or quitting smoking. She thinks this is the key to changing current behavioral patterns for smokers.
Here are some of the health reasons why it is better to not smoke. From a health perspective I think it is wonderful that the European nations are taking a stand for the health of their countries. For example, medical studies have proven the health risk of cigarette smoking for many diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) smoking has been associated with 90 percent of lung cancer deaths for men and 80 percent of lung cancer cases for women. Cigarette smoking increases the risks of coronary artery disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral vascular disease, emphysema and bronchitis. It impacts fertility and birth outcomes like preterm delivery, stillbirth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome. It increases the risk of several types of cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia, lung cancer, stomach cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and cancers of the larynx, pharynx, cervix, esophagus, cancer, pancreas, mouth, and the uterus. Smoking clearly impacts health in a negative way.