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Last updated at 14:11 GMT, Thursday, 11 February 2010

News Words: Human rights

Someone smoking

Should smoking be a fundamental human right?

The BBC's Clare Arthurs looks at some of the words and phrases often used in the news and their meanings in various contexts.

This week: human rights


Clare Arthurs on: Human rights

Related vocabulary


adjective: correct, not wrong

Are you sure this is the right way to the airport?

a right

noun: something that is allowed or permitted

All employees have the right to four weeks' paid holiday a year.

to right

verb: to correct something so that it returns to its normal state or position

After the huge wave turned it over, the yacht righted itself and was able to continue.

(the) rights

noun: the legal permission to publish something

It's very expensive the get the rights to publish song lyrics on the internet.

Colocations with 'human rights'

A breach of human rights

A violation of human rights

An abuse of human rights

A human rights campaigner

A human rights activist

(A country's) record on human rights

A challenge for you

In many countries smoking is now banned in public places. Do you think this is in breach of smokers' human rights? What are your thoughts on this issue?

Send us your short 'news story' on this topic and don't forget to use the phrase 'human rights'.

We'll publish our favourites on this page.

This topic has now closed. Thanks for all your comments.

Naiela, NYC
You dont shuld to smoke you have every to have a big live i think we nedd to protect each other and to help and to help the people thats smokes and non smoke.Everybody has to be healthy and very strog.

Vuqar, Azerbaijan
Smoking is harmful for smokers' and non smokers' health. Everybody know this.I think smoking in public places is a breach of non smokers' human rights. I dont smoke. And i cant breathe when somebody smokes nearby me. Lets stop smoking and respect eachother.Smoking must be banned in public places.

Noufel, Spain
Smoking in public places is an issue which arouses a lot of controverse,however a lot of governments in many country of the world ,decided to tackle this huge problem.some of the people feel sad about these measures by baning smoking a cigarette in some places such ua bars ,and pubs , because they thing that s going to break human rights ,some say that every person is free to do what ever he want ,i personally agree with ,but i dont share the same opinion ,finally ,as far scientists try to reduce gases emitting by carbon dioxide,by introducing alternative energy to save our planet ,hope every person is concern about this issue therefore if we want to change our planet ,first we need to change ourselves.

Elena, Belarus
Tobacco was invited long years ago. I strongly believe,that nobody could immmagine how harmful smoking would be for our health.Moreover, they couldn't predict how many people would be addicted to it. Nevertheless, weather you smoke or not you are a personality and you are worth being estimated your human rights and not being abused in any way. However, everyone must understand, that there are some common rules, such as smoking in public places, have to be accepted and accept them as sleeping or eating,for example, and not consider them as some kind of abuse towards him/heself.

Sheela, India
one way its right, means, banning smoking is in breach of smoker's human rights. But they should consider others human rights also. If a non smoker has the right to live ,stand or sit in a public place. And he has the right to sit in a smoke less atmosphere. This is his very health related rights to enjoy a pollution less place.If a smoker comes there and enjoy his human rights, who will suffer. Here only one person is enjoying the human rights. others , here we have to consider the small children who are not aware of the human rights and the laws will also affected by this smoker. Continuous exposure to this kind of breathing will lead them to health problems. In India we are billions living in big groups. We also have the law ,but nobody will listen. Everybody think to have their own pleasure and enjoyment. Of course others must sacrifice their human rights for this selfish people.What to do?

In my country is effective this right. Recently in Peru there is law about the taxes for buy and sell cigarrete. Maybe it would a solution for a lot of smokers around the word. I think we need to protect each other and to help the people smoke and non smoke. Everybody has the right to live in a health environment.

Alex, Russia
Well, there should be so-called "golden middle" in any action, especially in banning something. Surely we should protect non-smokers health (right to be healthy), but let smokers make their own choice to be. Otherwise smoking on open air, on the city streets does no harm anyone and should be allowed. Now we have in some cases abusing of banning of smoking, for example ugly “monkey cabins” in airports, which challenge smokers and makes them to apply for their rights. So the wise approach to the matter in my opinion will ease the battle between smokers and non-smokers. Now mankind has all the technical stuff to provide peaceful coexistence. Alex, former smoker.

Agbeko, Ghana
One cannot exercise he or her 'human right' by infredging on others human right.In my country the 'bill' of the banned on public smoking is yet to be considered by the legistilature instrument which I'm in full support of,because smoking does not kill smokers alone but variably together with people around them.STOP SMOKING!!!

Own, Pakistan
I just would like to say smoking shouldn't be allow in public place..who person that is smoking..own him self he gonna be stand to lose and who people will be over there they gonna have to stand to lose due to smoking.

Atanu, Bangladesh
Smoking is a kind of addiction that he who indulged in this, often can't realize that he is continuously making people passively smoked. Passive smoking is so pathetic in the sense that one will suffer from what he is not responsible for. So, public smoking should not be supported in any way and is not a breach of human rights at all. In our contry is a punishable offense. But the law is not being properly executed here. Health concious people and social workers are trying to build the awareness and I am hopeful about that.

Alaafreedom, Egypt
First of all i think that smoking in public places against human rights because the smokers influence the non ones .so we can not say that this is a breach of smokers human rights or freedom because freedom is responsibility , therefore it is crucial to make smoking in public places banned .

Zulfiya, Kazakhstan
Last month my friends decided to spend time in our local beer bar,(frankly i dont like this kind of places because there always smooky and i have an allegy)but i love my friends and i accept their idea. after work i directed to that bar, as usually i imagined heavy smooky air and friends with sigarettes (although they try to not smoke when i with them) but when i entered i was shoked nobody smoked. of course i cleared up that the reason was recently accepted law about prohibiting smoking in public places!!!what i noticed, now my friends decrise smoking!!!i dont think that this is in breach of smokers' human rights,because who thinks about rights of non smokers? to call people to lead healhty life is really means to support their rights!!!

Gayan, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka smoking in public places is banded even in hotels.Smoking and Human rights are two different things and its a controversial issue.Because we have to consider rights of different parties including normal people who are next to the smoking I think its better to find the solutions to protect interest of both parties public and smoking people.

Katy, Italy
I'm Italian and fortunately in Italy smoking is banned in public places...I think it isn't a violation of smokers human rights but a recognition of no smokers human rights.Everyone has the right to live in a healthy environment and everyone has to respect other people and the whole planet.

Rochelle, China
Smoking is banned in public places is to protect the other people they can't smoke. After all, smoking is harmful for human's body. "Human rights" is also siginificant for these people. So, smoker actually still can smoke in their personal places. This is fair to all people.

Reyes, Spain
Not only we must think about smokers human rights.As I see it, banning smoking in public places takes care of another important number of people "non smokers" who are always exposed to the unhealthy smoke of cigarettes.

Selina , China
What is human right? I think human right means a protection to human.human should have their right to do everything they can do,except hurting case smoker have right to smoke everywhere ,but they disturb the other people,destroy public health,that the other's human right would be deprived.therfore,smoking ban showing in public that is a perfect method protecting most of human right.

Huy Mai, Hochiminh City
Everybody understands that cigarette is very bad to both smokers and non smokers health, especially for children and pregnancy women. If someone says banning smoking in public places is a violation of smokers' right, I can argue that they actually violate human rights while they poison people's lung and fresh air with their cigarettes smoke. Therefore, I can not agree more on no-smoking regulation in public places in VietNam.

Farooqmahsud, Pakistan
In my opinion,those who harm others n themselves has no human rights. They not only harm their own health but effecting others as well when smoking in public places.In my country,there is no such law for smokers though it is the responsibility of the government to take action against such people.

William, Chile
In my country is effective this reality. Smoking is not correct for your health, this is not a mistery and in my case, I am a smoker, too. In the case of smokers` human rights, I think is a good strategie to help smokers people. For me, every person who don`t smoke is affected for smokers and the planet and the atmosphere suffers the consequences, too. The best option are to care the people and the planet where we are.

Trinh, Vietnam
Smoking in public places, indeed, can cause the worse health of not only the smokers, but also the public. The human right is the freedom, however, the freedom in responsibility. The smokers' human rights, also, should draw a line of being aware of the others' human rights.

Guillaume, France
I think that it's great for us,because when you smoke in public places you smoking all people arround you and everybody wan't have got the smoke.It's in the human rights and the respect of the person that smoking is banned in public places

Beyhan, Turkey
Smoking cigarette in public places has recently been banned in Turkey. This is I believe an attempt to protect the rights of non smokers. It is known that not only active smokers but also passive smokers are at greater risk for lung canser and other chronic lung diseases. We know that some type of lung cancers are only caused bye smoking. Smokers not only cause damage to the health of passive smokers, but with the health problems they get, they cause an increase in the health budget. The money which can be spent for food, education or shelter are gone for cigarette and the dmage caused bye it to the health of public. So I believe that banning smoking is not against human rights of smokers'.

Tomoko, Japan
Admittedly, those who smoke should have the human rights. The human right for the smokers is equivalent as the right for non-smokers as all human beings are equal. However we should not forget that the right to protect our health also dose exist at the same time. It means that if people smoke in public places, people who don't smoke get hurted without their consciousness.This is against the human right to protect our health, isn't it? Actually, secondhand smoke is much harmful than mainstream smoke which means non-smokers have to get high possibilities to become disease including cancer. In my opinion, banning smoking in public spaces is not breach of smoker's human right. I'm not saying that they should not smoke at all. They can find any other spaces to smoke that give no harm to any non-smokers.

Annie, France
In many countries, smoking is now banned in public places. In fact, this is a breach of smokers' human rights because they are not allowed to do what they want in public places BUT i think it is a good thing. By asking this question, we think about "smokers' human rights" and we do not think about "non-smokers' human rights". Before, "non-smokers people have to breathe the smoke. Often, places are not well-ventilated and non-smokers have to breathe this pollution in train, bar, bistro,... everywhere and could say nothing because it was their rights. But what about non-smokers' human rights ? In France, we say "La liberté s'arrête là où commence celle des autres", which means "We have all the liberty but we are not free to bother other people and to harm their liberty". Now, smokers are not allowed to smoke in public places such as bistro, restaurant, train,... but they can smoke OUTSIDE! So, it is not really a breathe of their rights. It is only a way of protecting the rights and the health of all people.

Martine, France
I have never smoked, I am healthy, I do some sport, nevertheless I don't think it is a good thing smokers to be banned smoking, because of the human rights ! a lot of people speak about pollution but it is everywhere and caused by cars, planes, plants...I would prefer prevent people of the danger of smoking...

Dilovar, Tajikistan
When we speak of one's rights we have to remember the ideal we are struggling for and that is protecting others' rights as well. And smoking is dangerous for the health of the smoker and the people around him/her. So, may be we should pray the people of the world for protection of human rights which include simple life changing rights many do not have and enjoy a cup of tea instead of a cubic of nicotin?! Smokers, please be kind to yourselves!

Tung, Vietnam
In my opinion, every one has the rights to protect their health. It it obvious that if smoking is permitted in public places, many people are likely to get harmful effects. As the result, banning smoking in public places do not violate smoker's human rights, but make sure that their behaviors will not violate to the rights of other people.

Varaprasad Bade, India
To ban smoking in public places is absolutely justified. It is not at all violation of human rights as it contaminates atmosphere. Moreover, it poses danger to health of human beings.

Nasrun, Indonesia
In my Country, there is a lot of smokers, and by human right arguments, they smoke at any where, any places and any times. They forget one thing, that not smokers have "human right" to respected.

Carine, Belgium
Hello, I'm new, my English wasn't really good, but I try to give you my opinion ! I don't smoke but I think the interdiction of smoking in public places isn't a good idea for the human rights. It will be better to expect differents rooms in restaurant, theatre,... For the smokers. When i go to the restaurant with my friends, they must go out for smoking (under the rain, the snow,...) It isn't pleasant!

Mario, Italy
In Italy smoking has been banned for years and now all of us have become accustomed to standing outside a restaurant to exercise our "right" to smoke... But what about all the non-smokers that had tolerated this habit, for decades (even in public offices) and have picked up a disease (chronic respiratory disease or lung cancer)? Or what about the "human rights" of those children born to and brought up by parents who put their needs before their offspring's health? I quit smoking six years ago only after I saw my daughter for the first time and I felt ashamed...

Reina, Germany
Well, what about the human rights of those who have to smoke passively?Research has long since proved that inhaling smoke infested air can also cause cancer. Those small groups of unrelenting smokers one sees huddled up together outside inns should be grateful to us that we protect their human right to health. After all, there are countries in this world where the people do not have this privilege.All this must increase their self-awareness of what they are doing to themselves and send them back in, without a ciggie, in order not to catch cold in those freezing temperatures.

Luis Chang, Peru
Everyone have the right to smoke as a part of the right of freedom, which is a Human Right. But such rights are not unlimited, there are restrictions when they confront with another Human Rights, like public health. So, I think it is correct to impose limitations to smokers (for example, bannning smoking in public places) in order to protect the public health.

Celina, Italy
There're smokers' and no smokers' human rights; the problem is when both are present in the same spaces and neither wants to recognize the equal right to the next. Perhaps a bit of common sense ...are the rights of smokers and nonsmokers.

Erika, Russia
Smoking interferes with health. On this basis, it must be banned in public spaces. In my opinion, this does not violate smokers´ human rights. Nobody forbids them to smoke, just the area of smoking is going to be reduced. The term "smoker's human rights" itself is incorrect.Somebody who violate human rights by impairing the health of others is an abuser. So the collocation "smoker's human rights" is as absurd as " terrorist's human rights". Smoker shall be aware of the consequences of their doing and take into consideration the interests of their fellow citizens.

Edris, Afghanistan
In our country the terms of Human Rights does not exist at all. Although there is written constitution, law, rules and regulations but not observed by official and influential. The concept of Human Right is unreligious term to the majority of Afghans. Actually we are not at that stage to talk about Human Rights

Soma , KSA
I am a heavy smoker and I don't know if there is human rights for the smokers' . I believe the smokers' can't express for them feeling. One time I was on Dubai airport and I looking for smokers' room , but I can't found it . i had smoked in the cafatria the eyes of passengers were kill me and I went to WC . I think I will vote to smokers' rights

Erzsike, Hungary
I firmly believe that we should talk about non-smokers' human rights, as we walk on the right side of the road. Since smoking is disrespectful interference to other people's territory, banning smoking in public places is the minimum defence that can be expected. I consider smoking an extremely dangerous thing for several reasons. It not only shortens your family budget, but this activity means the beginning of several diseases as we all know it well, not to mention addiction. One smoker may exercise his/her right to this obsession until he doesn't infringe upon non-smokers rights. Personally, I suffer from seeing my beloved husband and father's struggle with their bad custom and it hurts to realise day by day that a 10cm long venom is much stronger than a 100kg man. All in all, my opinion is that their place is outside the door and I don't feel that their human rights would be ruined, for it is ME who cleans the flat!

Sezgi, Turkey
I think it is good for non-smokers. But as a half smoker sometimes it can be chanllenging for smokers. Before public places divided for two for smokers and nonsmokers. Now it is totaly not permitted. I think goverment dont have to be protect people from smokers. I think this is in breach of smoker' human rights but i think goverments should find a way to balance smokers and non smokers. Non smokers also have rights. Dont break the rules.Divided places method is better or filters can be used.

Emily Chan, Hong Kong
Nowadays, protecting human rights is a basic principle. Everyone agree with that human rights must exist. What about smoking? It is a sensitive topic while talking about human rights.Some people said smoking must not be allowed in the public otherwise they can't keep themselves healthy. On the other hand, smoking people argued that smoking is one kind of right of freedom, it should be allowed everywhere because it's human right.What should the government do? Should smoking be a fundamental human right? What about the others health? Is it a meaningful topic to think about.

Sonya, Indonesia
I was at the airport of Soekarno Hatta. I was walking to the boarding/waiting room and found some persons smoked at a semi-closed smoking box (room) provided by one of the cigarette company. They were good as they smoked in the provided place.I continued walking, and when I was near to the boarding room, I found again some persons smoked in a wide AC room. No airport officer warned them. I felt annoyed because of the smell and smoke itself. I was sure most of the people felt the same.Everybody has the same rights which we call human rights. The rights to live, the rights to deliver their opinion, the right to use public facilities, and the rights to be healthy and etc. As social creature, we have to fulfill our human rights without breaching other's human rights at the same time, furthermore sometimes we have to prioritize public rights.Therefore, please do not smoke in public area especially the closed one. It is breaching human rights of people. On the other hand, please provide some places for smokers as they have their rights to smoke as well. Please smoke in the provided place. Try to reduce smoking or even stop it as it is bad for your health.Cheers.

Pawel, Poland
Smoking in public places is very controversial. Everybody knows, that smoking is harmful not only for smoker, but also for people, who spend in his surroundings. This is a warm-up exercise in Poland just now. Nowadays in Poland smoking is banned on a bus-stop. Tommorow Members of Parlament are going to vote over a new bill, which expanding this prohibition on all public places. Smokers claims, that this is breach of human rights. A question is - where is the border of the freedom? I'm wonder about this vote.

Jose Daniel, Venezuela
I think smoking is a breach of health human right, that include the smokers' health human right. Smoking to affect many important organs of the human body as the heart, the lungs, etc. The somking has negatives consecuences as cancer. When someone to smoke in a public place, she or he endanger not only her o his helth against affect the public helth, because the smok pollute the air. The smoking is a collective health problem, you can see like tobaccos' companies have more demands each year. Many goverments around the world are taking actions against the smoking. I had a good friend who died with lungs' cancer. She was a big smoker

Valdir, Brazil
Of course smokers need to have their rights to do what they want to, but every right has it's limits. It's known that smoking can cause lots of diseases, including cancers. And it's harmful not only to the smokers, but to the persons who breath in the smoke. So, smoking in public places violate one of the human rights: the right to health.

Gustavo Boechat, Brazil
Actually, the question is a little bit spicy once it requires attention about the human rights. Take a look on this story. I and my wife go to a restaurant and sit at a table. We order something to eat and, surprisingly, another couple sit near us. Actually, they take nereast table in our right. Then, they start chatting and laughing. After a while, they also start smoking. I cannot even smell the smokes because I am alergic. So, I ask my bill and go. I do not leave the place because I do not like what they cook, neither their salad or dessert, I leave the place because I am not respected in my HUMAN RIGHTS. Just that couple who thinks just they have the protection, the HUMAN RIGHT one.Because of that, I do not agree with smoking permission. Smokers should smoke alone, in a kind of box, closure and alone.


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