Minggu, 24 Oktober 2010

Long Beach Bans Smoking in Public Outdoor Areas

The City Council of Long Beach, California voted unanimously last week to ban smoking in nearly all public outdoor areas, including parks, hiking trials, and biking paths. Supporters of the ban argued that the ban was necessary to protect children’s health.

The ban exempts public golf courses because of a potential loss of income to Long Beach (and because not many children golf). It also makes exceptions for special events like filming. Does anybody else see the double standard being applied here - that smoking is banned in public places in Long Beach unless it’s in Long Beach’s financial best interests to allow it?

Disclaimer: I’m not a smoker. I am convinced that the evidence is pretty solid that smoking is harmful for the smoker, and I wish that smokers would see the wisdom of quitting for their own good. But let’s be clear about one thing; banning smoking in public places outdoors is not likely to improve children’s health. There is no scientific evidence to support the notion that a brief whiff of smoke causes any damage to children or to adults. A better way to improve children’s health would be to encourage them to exercise more, even if they occasionally smelled a whiff of smoke while doing it.

If we’re going to ban smoking in public places, let’s at least be honest with smokers about why we’re doing it.

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