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Smoking in Public

In partial fulfilment of the requirements in TREDTWO


Submitted by:
ARANGUREN, Maria Bernadette
BATO, Ryna Patricia
TIMOGTIMOG, A R
Submitted to:
Fr. Delfo Calceran, OP

I. Summary of Interview
Hazards of smoking in public places include the exposure of non-smokers to second hand
smoke. According to some research, second hand smoke can be as deadly as the smoke directly
inhaled from a cigarette. It can cause diseases such, as lung cancer, pneumonia, bronchitis, and
heart diseases, to the people who are exposed to it. In order to protect the health of the public, the
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in coordination of the local government units of
Metro Manila imposed an ordinance that is geared towards smoke free schools, hospitals,
elevators and stairwells of all buildings, buses and bus depots, restaurants and government
facilities last May 30, 2011. Here are some signs that are commonly seen in the said public
places, one of which is a poster produced by De La Salle Universitys Student Government
(USG):

De La Salle University is a school which gives smokers freedom to smoke as long as they
are beyond the limited premises of the school property - that is, three meters fence from the
school buildings walls. Technically speaking, this is a loophole that students can use to avoid the
ordinance mentioned above. They smoke in the private properties around the school, which are
basically not school property anymore.

Due to this, we found this issue as a fitting topic for an ethical term paper since we can
get reliable respondents just from passing by some of the infrastructures in the university.
Our interviewee is a fourth year student who preferred not to disclose his name in this
paper. He is an avid smoker who prefers to smoke in places with lesser people within the
schools smoking areas.
He has shared to the group that he was influenced by his high school friends to start
smoking. His first taste of cigarettes made him want to have more; this is the start of his
addiction.
When asked if he thought smoking was right, he immediately said No, of course not.
This has raised questions in the group members minds. Why is he still smoking when he already
knows that it was wrong?
Due to curiosity, the group then asked him why he was still smoking despite the known
hazards. He said to us that things you get used to doing, or habits, be it good or bad are hard to
stop doing. Old habits die hard, if you can put it into that context.
It was disclosed by the interviewee that it has been a long time since he started smoking.
This has intrigued the group of what exactly cigarettes give the said person such that his
dependence on smoking has reached the point of it becoming a part of his daily routine. When
asked the question the interviewee said that it made him feel relaxed. And also, when he doesnt
smoke, his unconscious self is already longing for it, since he has gotten used to doing it. As said
before, it has become a bad habit.
As we were conducting the interview, we noticed smokers near the Agno area. Agno is
a property owned by the Cojuangco family and, as such, is not fully under the control of the
University. Most students pass by the smokers that flock around there every day. This fact has
aroused the interest of the group on the opinions of these passers-by, and how these opinions
look to the smokers who are being judged.

In response to this, he said he thinks that they just look at smokers as if they are already a
normal sight to see. Because the school already has quite a number of smokers lurking around,
seeing these smokers in those places is already something that they can ignore.
Then out of curiosity, the group asked his opinion on why most students smoke in these
areas. He immediately said that he wasn't one of these smokers and he explained that,
technically, the people who smoke near Agno are within private properties anyway- an
argument already so common. They think that they are free to smoke in these areas as long as the
owners of these private properties allow it.
Although it is not illegal to smoke in these areas, there has not been any question whether
what they are doing is a threat not only to their health but also to the health of those who pass by
them. This is basically what we call second hand smoking. When asked about this issue, he
just replied that yes, he knows that second hand smoking is a dangerous thing, even commenting
that it is obviously a bad effect of his activities. Though he also shared that knowing this does not
affect the frequency of his smoking since he does not really smoke in crowded places.
As of today, the interviewee admitted wholeheartedly that he has never even thought of
quitting smoking.

II. Ethical Analysis


Upon the re-inspection of the lecture notes for the term, the group concluded that the
following topics are relevant to the issue chosen:

Barkada Pressure
Moral Conscience
Consequentialist Perspective
Communitarian Perspective
Right Perspective & Personal Ethical Relativism

A. Barkada Pressure
Barkada pressure, more commonly known as peer pressure, is what caused our
interviewee to start smoking cigarettes. Barkada pressure is one of the fastest ways for a
person to be led to the wrong path or paths. Through this they can be pulled in by their peers
into doing bad things such as drugs, drinking, and smoking among many others. Having a
barkada and some peers can be good or bad for someone; it solely depends on how well the
person can stick to what is right.
To avoid being pressured by your peers into doing something you know you should not
do, you must know what is wrong and right. Also, you should not conform to what they tell you
to do if you think it is wrong. It is also good to pick the right kind of barkada; as the saying goes
tell me who your friends are and I'll tell who you are

B. Moral

Conscience

Some people
have a lack of moral
conscience and also
have wrong judgement
on what is right and
wrong.
A person is given the natural
ability to judge, but apparently not the
natural ability to differentiate between
what is right and what is wrong. At some point in our lives, we are taught by our parents and
relatives about the concept of right and wrong. We all have a conscience - the voice within, or
Gods voice, and the inner light, or His light in us. The scope of Moral Conscience includes the
distinction between what it is (fact) and what we ought to do (right) and the tension between
necessity (obligation) and freedom (preference).
In most cases, we human beings are blinded by our preferences, and these preferences
tend to turn into addictions and habits, such as what happened to our interviewee. We should
learn to avoid these bad decisions as we live our lives.
C. Consequentialist Perspective
There is an effect in every action that we make, whether it is on us or on other people. Hence,
in judging our actions, we should always look at the consequence of each choice we are about to
make. A person should have the ability to predict whether his action would be beneficial or
detrimental to not only himself, but also to others. The action that would produce maximized
good outcome than other choices is the action that people should take.

In the case of our interviewee, he did reflect


on his actions since he is fully aware that
smoking cigarettes has a bad effect, not only on
his health but also on the health of people around
him as he is smoking in public places. Although
he is aware of the effects of his action, he still
acted on the choice that he knew had a
detrimental effect and still continues with it. Also,
he has not given the thought of quitting to smoke.
He did not choose to act the more moral action, which is to quit smoking. We are not people to
judge him, however, since upon inspection, people tend to not give up the things that they are
used to having or doing.
D. Communitarian Perspective
Being in a community means that you are a part of a group which, in some way or another,
has a common goal. People in a
community that work together can achieve
the common goal they seek to reach. In an
ideal community, people treat each other
as equals and they live by the principle
that you should not do unto others what
you don't want others to do unto you.
Although individually, each member
of a community has his rights and therefore he is free to do what he wishes, he is also bound by
the laws created by the community to ensure that everyone is equal in both rights and
responsibility.
A part of our interview talked about the interviewee knowing that by smoking in public,
he can affect the health of those who pass by him. Knowing this, it can be said that our
interviewee is somehow not being a good part of the community for he does what he wants while
still knowing of what it could it do to the other members of the society he is in. Although by

smoking in the places where not a lot of people pass by he says hes not affecting the public, he
is still producing smoke that gets carried to places where there actually are people. This is
something he must think about.

E. Right Perspective & Personal Ethical Relativism

It is stated in the concept of right perspective that each person has the right to be treated as a
free and rational person. We all have rights, be it political civil, economic, or cultural. It is our
choice to maximize them or abuse them, however.
Since the interviewee had the right to do whatever he wants, and even in society the things
that he is doing are not really illegal, one can say that he is not violating the right perspective.
However, there are still many things to consider, one of which is his right to be a healthy person.
Yes, in a sense, that right is a bit undermined, it is not even a major right. It is only encompassed
in another right such as the right to live and the right to access to medical relations. But yes, such
a right does exist, and he is violating it.
Though this does somewhat contradict his right
to smoke, the greater good by which he must follow
is still the right to be a healthy human being.
Honestly speaking, smoking is but a vice whose
good effects are a bit unclear. The government only
allows such vices because people will not really stop
doing it even if they ban it. In the end, the
interviewee should slowly start considering living
healthier, and slowly start to consider quitting.
Normative Ethics or Ethical Relativism says that there is no universal norm for all. Each
person has their own preference, law, and beliefs. There are two types, the personal and the
social. For this issue, we focus on the personal ethical relativism or individualism in laymans
terms.

Personal relativism means that a person can choose to believe something that other people
dont want to believe. It is a basic concept that we are not to attest to their beliefs and that we
should respect them. In terms of the smoking, maybe for the interviewee, it is right that in the
end his preference of smoking in the non-crowded places exempts him from the consequences.
But then again he must still think of our own beliefs the beliefs that think that he is wrong.
III. Personal Reflection
With the number of ethical perspectives that have been challenged, one is exposed to
different personal questions. Sometimes the arguments presented actually make sense, and we
start thinking if our views and opinions are actually still acceptable. We are a group, so yes we
might have different opinions on the different analysis presented, yet something is still common
that is we think that smoking is a bad thing, especially when done in public places.
The world today is undergoing a change in ethical perspectives. Gone are the days of
simple tradition that cannot be altered or challenged, we are phasing out into the alternative
ethics that we are morphing into today. It says in the alternative ethics that traditional ethics
cannot respond to the new situations that are present today, yet one might ask if smoking is
actually a new issue.
Smoking has been around for centuries, and by our knowledge, we know that in the past,
it was actually a widely acceptable practice. In fact, the cigarettes of the past are actually much
more bulky and large compared to the ones sold today. They are a symbol of status and luxury,
since only the rich can afford the high quality contents of the past cigarettes. Now, though, they
are sold cheap, and more and more people are beginning to try it. The sad part is that once they
try it, they find it hard to quit and it turns into an addiction.
Apparently, todays modern days technology is able to comprehend the different
negative effects of the cigarettes on our body. Because of this, the people of the world are
becoming more and more aware of its degrading consequences. At a young age, we students are
taught that it is wrong, and perhaps the numbers of young people who are trying it are
decreasing. Actually, we will never really know since an argument can be aroused from this. If
the teaching of the topic at a young age is more or less lessening the number of young people

who try it, why is it that you see more young people buying from sari-sari stores and the like? It
really is quite confusing.
We put it as an effect of peer pressure, maybe it is not. An adolescent is somewhat
influenced by older people to try. The young people see it as cool, or maybe they dont really see
the effects of the practice on the people who do. They might argue that they see no side effects,
and the stories told to them that it makes the user feel good somehow blind them. So really, even
if you are taught that it is wrong, the peer pressure is always there.
With this, we can root everything back to society. What kind of society we have or we are
in can easily determine what kind of people live there. This is not true always but most of the
time it is.
If we are raised in a society where smoking is a usual thing then it wouldnt be
shocking when children at young age are smoking cigarettes like its candy. This is what our
society is now. Smoking is everywhere and even sometimes people smoke in areas where they
are not even allowed to smoke. If this continues, then expect in 50 years, almost all if not all
teenagers smoke a cigarette.
We know its wrong and we all know that it must be stopped but despite our governments
many attempts to stop and eradicate smoking in our community, smokers are increasing in
number and their age bracket is getting wider and wider per day. Seeing children as young as 10
smoking in an alley is saddening. Its like seeing your society choke up with the smoke in the air.
With the increasing number of smokers, many members of our society are affected. Many lungs
have been affected by second hand smoke.
Recently electric cigarettes have been invented and people, especially smokers, swarmed
cigarette shops to purchase one. It came with different flavours and colors. This has boosted
smoking up the cool ladder even more. With this, many were encouraged to try it. After
sometime, it has been discovered that this newly invented contraption can cause cancer in the
long run and it was immediately thrown out by society. As of now, only few smoke using e-cigar.
It would be very nice if the smokers can quit smoking cigarettes as fast as when they
knew about the effects of e-cigars. Even though the effects of regular cigars are slower than e-

cigar, it still has bad effects on the user and to other people. All of us must consider other people
in our community because once we stop caring, then chaos will cover our society.
We must change for the better to make our community a better place for everyone. Every
little action we make can affect others and so we must be very careful and sensitive. All of us
have different desires but we all know that not every desire can be attained for sometimes; many
must be sacrificed for some desires; one example is smoking.