Parade poll: “Should Smoking Be Banned Outdoors?”

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 Magazine

Reproduced from Parade Magazine, page 20, Nov. 29, 2009,

Should 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:
Yes 56%
No 44%

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

2 responses to “Parade poll: “Should Smoking Be Banned Outdoors?”

  1. The controversy of second hand smoke could be ended quickly by a simple act of legislation. Anyone presenting information represented as science or health reliant information, which is later found to be false or misleading, would be rewarded with a mandatory ten year jail sentence.

    I can guarantee the bandwagon of smoker hatred would end overnight and the profiteers would be making deals in self preservation convicting each other. Similar to the last time their ilk rose to prominence and Doctors were hanged at Nuremberg. The laws of Autonomy created in the wake, are largely being minimized by the bigots and zealots of Public Healthism, they are laws we found at the expense of millions who died without them. No one has the right to make health choices for others and no one has a right to demand rights to the detriment of others, especially with the convenience of a lie, as we find in the “toxic effect of second hand smoke”.

    • I have occasionally butted heads with smokers, who can be obnoxious. (And so can nonsmokers, so I’m not defending such behavior.) But most of the time, my issue is with the tobacco industry and their surrogates, who promote the indiscriminate use of a hazardous product which endangers the health and welfare of others. As spelled out in the third of Missouri GASP’s three goals: “Smoking should only be done in private between consenting adults.”

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