There is no doubt that passive smoking is extremely dangerous. It causes deaths, illnesses, and disabilities. People need to be protected against environmental tobacco smoke. Article 8 requires that the Parties (countries that have signed the Tobacco Convention) adopt measures to protect their citizens against exposure to secondhand smoke.
Anyone who smokes a cigarette breathes in only a quarter of the smoke. The remainder is breathed out into the environment by the smoker where it can be breathed in by non-smokers. Exposure to secondhand smoke may increase the risk of, for example, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, and cancer. This violates the fundamental rights and freedoms of man, as set forth, for example, in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Article 8 of the Tobacco Convention commits countries to work actively to ensure that people are protected from secondhand smoke indoors, in the workplace, on public transport, in indoor public places and, where appropriate, in other public places. Tobacco-free laws and promotion of smoke-free environments are measures that can be used for protection from secondhand smoke.
There is empirical evidence that children are particularly vulnerable to environmental tobacco smoke exposure Therefore, they are at particular risk of health effects induced by passive smoking.
Children and young people could be protected by a ban on smoking and use of other nicotinproducts in schoolyards. It would result in pupils being protected from tobacco use and from getting sight of tobacco products during school hours. Pupils and staff have a shared responsibility to create a tobacco-free workplace.
The explanation of the insistence on tobacco-free school hours is that young people shall not be lured into beginning to use tobacco products in school. If fewer pupils use tobacco products, it also means that fewer people are exposed to secondhand smoke, both in the short and long term.