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For Lauderdale’s Tobacco Free Partnership of Broward County is one of many organizations taking a serious aim at cigarettes and the people who love to smoke them. Their mission, plain and simple, is to bring about a tobacco free America and to rid the world of what has been said to be the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States. This organization, along with thousands of others across national borders, promotes smoke-free housing, smoke-free businesses, smoke-free agencies and an overall smoke-free environment. Supported by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many more widely known associations, Fort Lauderdale’s Tobacco Free Partnership of Broward County holds monthly meetings designed to promote smoking prevention and quitting programs for cigarettes smokers in the area. While they rave about the fact that their six week “Quick Smoking Now “program has helped thousands of smokers to shake the habit, one cannot help but wonder if this program was in fact, designed to criminalize smokers rather than help them.
Smoking Addiction Facts
As of today, the act of smoking is not considered a crime in the United States. While several smoking restrictions have been imposed over the years, cigarette smokers have yet to find a need to hire drug lawyers to represent them for charges pressed against them related to their addiction. While cigarettes are found to be less addictive in comparison to heavier drugs, the mental addiction associated with nicotine is commonly cited as paralleling the physical addiction associated with the potent narcotic known as heroine. The key ingredient that makes smoking so addictive is nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant that causes physiological changes to take place in the brain, activating the smoker’s pleasure centers and incidentally causing them to feel more relaxed. As such, it could be argued that cigarette smokers, like other drug addicts, are experiencing an altered mental state. Whether or not this state poses a threat to the overall well-being of society has yet to be determined. What has been scientifically proven is the fact that smoking seriously endangers the health of smokers and the people around them.
Smoking Restrictions Indoors and Outdoors
There was a time not long ago when smoking was common indoors. Smokers coolly puffed away in restaurants, hotel lobbies, even hospitals. Smoking restrictions began with large public facilities such as restaurants, factories and medical facilities being the main target but have since branched out to even include certain outdoor environments, particularly places where children often gather. Smoking is commonly prohibited in all of the following locations:
• Sports Arenas
• Inside of Public Facilities
• On the Grounds of Schools and Schoolyards
Smoking Has Already Been Deemed a Criminal Issue
A nationwide smoking ban has not been enacted in the United States. Subsequently, smoking is described as an issue related to local criminal and occupational safety and health laws. Smoking bans vary drastically from state to state. In the state of Florida, the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act was revised to include smoke-free laws on July 1, 2003. These laws are enforced by the FCIAA and generally encompass civic/fraternal organizations, bars, billiards, bingo halls and a vast number of other public gathering places. Whether Florida residents will exhibit the need to hire drug lawyers as a result of their addiction in the future will probably depend on state rather than national decisions.
About the Author:
Michael D. Leader is a criminal lawyer with Fort Lauderdale law firm Leader & Leader P.A. specializing in all forms of criminal law, Leader and partner George Leader offer years of legal experience and commitment to ethics.