That’s a bit much
In my opinion, it’s reasonable to protect public health by limiting the places one may come into contact with secondhand smoke. But I also try to keep an eye on what’s getting banned where. Sometimes, it can be a bit much.
I came across a video and article about a newly proposed smoking ban in Pendelton, South Carolina. I personally don’t understand all of it. Bars and restaurants? Sure thing. Public parks and venues? Still with you. If you stop, sit, or loiter while smoking in a public area? Completely lost me.
What they’re proposing is that it is perfectly legal to smoke in public places as long as you’re still moving. There are a few things that irritate me about this proposed ban. How does a smoker’s lack of motion effect public health? I imagine that bit of secondhand smoke will still be in the air whether or not the smoker is on the run. What constitutes a sufficient lack of motion leading to a fine anyway?
What this is saying to me is that legislation is trying to attach other issues to smoking. Are they trying to reduce loitering, congregating, or people generating cigarette trash in one area of the park? Non-smokers can just as easily congregate in public areas producing trash of their own. I’m sure they have their veiled motives – legislation always does. It might even be a revenue generator for them. Picking on smokers and fining them in the park may prove to be a rich harvest.
In my opinion, this is another example of how the public’s negative view of smoking becomes a tool for control. And what’s worse, with all these nuanced restrictions, how can they be sure fines will even get paid? Richland County, Ohio currently has over $60,000 in unpaid smoking ban fines from bars and restaurants whose owners have had difficulty keeping patrons in check. If I was personally written a ticket for walking through a park too slowly while smoking, you can be sure I’d argue it to the grave. This is to the point of bullying. What’s next, individual smoking permits? Will there be a three-day wait and a background check for anyone attempting to buy a pack?
I hate to get back on my soap box sounding like a shill – but It seems to me that electronic cigarettes have some ground to make it. Their popularity is gaining but it took incredible restrictions on tobacco burning products for anyone to notice. It’s a shame e-cigs haven’t been around for decades. If more people went electronic years ago, perhaps nit-picking public health would be less prevalent. With the smoke lifted earlier, maybe these governmental bullying tactics would have less support. However, the device is still unknown or untrusted by most people. If only e-cigs were a bigger part of our culture years ago- we could all enjoy a casual smoke together while slowly sauntering down the street, sitting on a public bench, or hanging out in the park without worrying about ridiculous proposed legislation. Where’s the Doc and his DeLorean when you need him?