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To Ban or Not to Ban?

A WebQuest on the issue of Smoking in Restaurants

 

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion

Introduction: 

Congratulations!  In one of the closest races in recent memory, you have just been elected to the County Council. You're happy about your victory but need to get down to the business of making decisions, some of which may jeopardize your chances of being reelected. The first of these divisive issues is smoking. Many of your constituents are pushing for a complete ban on smoking in restaurants. Not surprisingly, others are vehemently opposed to it. On the one hand, you've heard that secondhand smoke is dangerous to your health, but on the other hand, you worry about whether it's the governments position to intervene in issues such as these.

 

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion  

Task: 

To learn about the issue, you decide to read relevant newspaper articles and the mail you have received from your constituents. You begin doing this but notice that there is such an abundance of material that it would be almost impossible to read everything, so you and your colleagues decide to divide up the work. In doing so, you will look at the problem from a particular perspective and then share your knowledge with your fellow Councilmen and women who will do the same. Once you have done this, the Council will debate and vote on this question:  Should the local government ban cigarette smoking in restaurants in order to limit the effects of secondhand smoke? You will write a short “press release” stating how you voted and explaining why you voted the way that you did.

 

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion

Background for Everyone:

Before you divvy up the work, you will all read this background material:  National Cancer Institute:  Environmental Tobacco Smoke. Read only the introductory section and the paragraph called “Health Effects of ETS Exposure.”  

OR visit the Canadian Health Network site and read  “How Dangerous is Secondhand Smoke?

 

Process:

  1. Your teacher will assign you to a base group. Your group will be given one of the following roles:  Restaurant Owners and Tobacco Companies, Non-smokers, Newspaper Journalists and other Media, and Public Health Officials.

  2. Work alone or in pairs to visit at least two of the sites listed in the "Resources" section for your role. As you visit the sites, fill in any relevant information on the attached Decision Making Guide.  Follow the directions on that guide for completing the chart, forming jigsaw groups, debating the issue with your jigsaw group, and arriving at an individual opinion.

  3. Use the arguments and supporting facts you have circled to write an outline of your views. Then write a thesis. It could start with  “The local government should ban cigarette smoking in restaurants in order to limit the effects of secondhand smoke because…” or  “The local government should NOT ban cigarette smoking in restaurants in order to limit the effects of secondhand smoke because…” or you could choose your own wording.

  4. Use your outline to assist you in writing a press release. The press release should be a one-page paper which states your opinion on the issue and includes three arguments and facts to support that opinion. In it, you should include a direct quote from yourself (a press release would normally be written by one of the Councilperson’s staff members). Also include a catchy title. For assistance with this process, visit the Learn2 Write a Press Release Site and read Steps 3 and 4.

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion

Resources:  

Restaurant Owners and Tobacco Companies:

 

There are a number of letters from restaurant owners and others who oppose the ban on the Gazette.Net: Issues and Ideas  site. Skip the first few letters and scroll down to the letters that are in BOLD TYPE and read the first four letters that are in BOLD. 

This article in the Washington Post, Montgomery Council Passes Smoking Ban, explores both sides of the issue.

There is a brief write-up on Phillip Morris’s site on what this company perceives to be Reasonable Public Smoking Restrictions.

 Phillip Morris USA provides suggestions for Reasonable Approaches to Public-Space Smoking.

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company discusses the issue of Secondhand Smoke.  

Giants Accused of Smokescreen details the efforts of the tobacco companies to prevent smoking bans.

 

Non-Smokers and Related Organizations:

Americans for Non-Smoker’s Rights, a national lobbying organization protecting the rights of non-smokers, has issued  Protecting Non-Smokers from Secondhand Smoke.

There are a number of letters from supporters of the ban on the Gazette.Net: Issues and Ideas  site. Read any three of the letters.

Read Clearing the air: New smoking proposal makes healthy sense for Montgomery County's bars and restaurants in the Gazette.

This article in the Washington Post, Montgomery Council Passes Smoking Ban, explores both sides of the issue.

GASP has published Excerpts on Study of Smoking Ban in Restaurants, which analyzes the economic impact of a ban on smoking in restaurants in NY and Massachusetts.

KIISS Smoke-Free Restaurants  A website dedicated to eliminating kids’ involuntarily inhaling secondhand smoke.

The organization Action on Smoking and Health has a website and has issued the ASH Press Release.

Newspaper Journalists and other Media:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editorial in The Washington Times: Montgomery County's junk science.

Editorial in The Gazette: Ill- Conceived Ban.

Editorial on Junk-Science.com:  Cherry-picked Science on Secondhand Smoke.

Opinion in the Detroit Free-Press:  Should restaurants throughout state be smoke-free?

Editorial in the American Council on Science and Health: Warning: Overstating the Case Against Secondhand Smoke is Unnecessary—and Harmful to Public Health Policy.

 

Public Health Officials:

Editorial in the American Council on Science and Health: Warning: Overstating the Case Against Secondhand Smoke is Unnecessary—and Harmful to Public Health Policy.

Statement of Alfred Munzer, MD,Past President, American Lung Association, to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Environmental Tobacco Smoke.

 Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada:  Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke. This article provides an overview of diseases and deaths caused by second-hand smoke.

Other Studies Support EPA on Secondhand Smoke, an article that appeared in The Washington Post. 

Article in the Health/Fitness Section of the Daily Camera: Secondhand Smoke’s Danger Strikes Quickly.

Smoking and Indoor Air Quality on the Health Canada site examines the effects of secondhand smoke on health.

Kickbutt.org, an anti-smoking advocacy group, has a Learning Center devoted to facts about tobacco. Read their article Secondhand Smoke.

Kickbutt.org, an anti-smoking advocacy group, has a Learning Center devoted to facts about tobacco. Read their article Secondhand Smoke in Restaurants.

In Passive Smoking: Nowhere to Hide, Health Canada examines the consequences smoking has on others.

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada:  Ventilation of Second-Hand Smoke is a page devoted to Questions and Answers on Ventilation of Second-Hand Smoke.  

 

 

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion

Evaluation:

Your teacher will evaluate you using the attached Rubric for Press Release.

 

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion

 

Conclusion:

 Which interest groups support the ban? Which oppose it? Why? In your opinion, which group has the most at stake?

In a real-world scenario, how would each group seek to influence the lawmaking process? Which group do you think would be most influential? Which group do you think would be the least influential? Why? What does this tell us about how public policy is made?

How would the executive and legislative branches be involved in the process? Can they be influenced? If so, how?

What responsibility do you as a citizen have to get involved in the decision-making process? What opportunities are there for citizen involvement in the lawmaking process? If you as an individual citizen wanted to influence the local legislature about this matter, how would you go about doing so? What other types of organizations or groups will be competing with you to influence the process? How can you share your knowledge with others to convince them to become involved?

How does this issue represent the balance the government seeks to maintain between protecting rights and the common good? What does it tell us about the relationship between government authority and individual liberty? Regardless of how you feel about secondhand smoke, do you think it is the government’s job to limit it by placing restrictions on where people can smoke?

In general, should the government have the authority to limit some people’s rights in order to protect the rights of others? What are some examples that support your opinion?

 

 Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion

Works Cited

1.    How Dangerous is Secondhand Smoke. (2001, July). Canadian Health Network. Retrieved March 18, 2002 from World Wide Web: http://www.canadian-health-network.ca/faq-faq/tobacco-tabagisme/8e.html

2.    The Toll of Tobacco in Maryland. (2002, March 18). Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Retrieved March 18, 2002 from World Wide Web:  http://tobaccofreekids.org/reports/settlements/TobaccoToll.php3?StateID=MD

 

All Clip Art courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art Gallery

 

 

Created by Stacy Farrar Dimmick,

Instructional Technology Specialist, Montgomery County Public Schools, for 

 

2002 Summer Institute

 

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