Missouri GASP’s three primary goals, as posted on this blog (see the link HOW TO SUPPORT MISSOURI GASP), are:
Smoke-free air for nonsmokers.
Smoke-free lives for children.
A society where smoking is done only between consenting adults in private.
The third goal is no different from equating smoking in public to being nude in public: not generally acceptable public behavior, and with far greater reason.
James Repace, a former senior EPA scientist in the Indoor Air Quality Division and now a leading international consultant on secondhand smoke, posted some time ago that secondhand smoke migrates considerable distances outdoors at levels sufficient to be of concern to sensitive nonsmokers.
Here’s the article and poll in today’s Parade MagazineShould Smoking Be Banned Outdoors?
In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that any exposure to secondhand smoke increases an individual’s risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer. As a result, 19 states have banned smoking in workplaces, bars, and restaurants. Now, some communities want to take the bans a step further, banning smoking in public parks and beaches—even in private homes.
Condominium owners in New York City and Dallas filed lawsuits recently to prevent smokers from lighting up in their own apartments, claiming that smoke seeps through shared walls and ceilings. New Jersey State Sen. Barbara Buono introduced a bill this month to ban smoking at outdoor parks and beaches. “People have a right to smoke,” Buono says, “but they shouldn’t have a right to impose on others the health risks caused by smoking.”
Should smoking be banned at public parks and beaches?
Results at 3:25 pm on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009:
One recent study found that heart attacks dropped by up to 26% within three years in communities with smoking bans, though the communities may have taken other measures to improve residents’ health as well. A report by the Institute of Medicine showed that smoking bans can decrease heart attacks by as much as 47%.
But as public support for the bans continues to grow, some people are questioning how far the government should go to protect nonsmokers. “The general public should have the right to decide what they’re going to do on private property,” says Gary Nolan, regional director of Citizens Freedom Alliance, a group that opposes smoking bans. He believes it’s reasonable for the government to ban smoking in government buildings but not at parks or privately owned businesses. Adds Nolan: “We’re giving away the right to self-determination.”
— Brooke Lea Foster