Monday, September 20, 2010

Smoking? Not on my beach.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is proposing to ban smoking at New York beaches, parks, outdoor malls, and plazas.  Back in 2002, he has successfully banned smoking in restaurants and bars.

Indoor smoking bans are obvious, everyone is trapped with the smoke.  Outdoor smoking bans are a bit trickier.  The smoke isn't trapped and disappates more quickly.  But according to some studies, the smoke outdoors is still unhealthy for people nearby.

Study: Outdoor smoke gets in your lungs (USA Today)

Yes, while you can move upwind from the smoker or farther away, non-smokers shouldn't have to do so.  If you are enjoying your book at a park bench, having a smoker sit next to you, or even just waking past, is distracting, obnoxious, and unhealthy.  The smoke still travels and is easily enhaled by non-smokers.

I have heard arguments about music can be played too loud and should also be banned.  While I haven't checked all municipalities in the U.S., I know there are 'noise pollution' laws around the country that prevent people from playing their music so loud it disturbs others within certain distances.  And a big difference is that music isn't harmful to your health while smoke is.

Another argument is that barbeques and campfires do the same thing that smoke from a cigarette does.  But I don't recall the last time I was even mildly annoyed with barbeque smoke or campfire smoke from someone else.  If this was prevalent, I could see the same type of ban being put into place.

Lastly, walking around the beach, with cigarettes littering the area is unsightly, annoying, and a health hazard (think babies putting cigarette butts into their mouths) and I am all for a ban at the beach.

Original article:
City Wants a Smoking Ban on Beaches (New York Times)

When Citizens (Gasp) Are the Smoking Police (New York Times)

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