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Are Smokers a Persecuted Minority? [POLL]

(Flickr User ninasaurusrex)
(Flickr User ninasaurusrex)

I don’t understand all these outdoor smoking bans towns either have enacted or are proposing to enact.

All in the interest of fostering good health.

I really don’t think we need government to protect us from smokers and smoking in general; yet I’ve always felt it somewhat duplicitous that government wants to limit where you can smoke, but still profits from the sale of cigarettes.

Why not just ban the sale of cigarettes outright?

Of course you know that will never happen since the state relies heavily on the tax revenue smoking brings in.

But it still is duplicitous just the same.

Add to the list of towns enacting bans these two, according to this:

Trenton and Bordentown Township Are Considering Outdoor Smoking Bans.

Bordentown is considering a ban on smoking in parks and other outdoor public areas, following the lead of a rising number of towns in New Jersey that have done the same thing.

Almost 200 counties and towns in New Jersey have outlawed smoking in outdoor areas, including Princeton, which in April became the first town in Mercer County to implement such a law. Trenton is considering such an ordinance, and Burlington and Mercer counties also recently banned smoking in certain areas of county parks.

Smoking bans in the state include penalties that usually consist of fines.

Princeton’s ordinance allows police to slap first-time violators with a $250 fine; the second offense is $500 and subsequent offenses are $1,000 for any. Trenton is considering adopting the same schedule of fines, but council members have been split on the proposal and have not yet voted to introduce the ordinance.

Alan Kantz, program manager of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, a nonprofit that promotes smoke-free environments in New Jersey through education programs, said that while many municipalities are instituting similar penalties, tickets are rarely issued. 
Most smokers respect the no-smoking zones when they see the signs, Kantz said.

Princeton Health Officer David Henry said the no-smoking ordinance in his town has been effective and no one has gone to court yet for violating the ban.

James Brownlee, Trenton’s health officer, is proposing an ordinance for the city that would prohibit the consumption or possession of any lighted tobacco product in public parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, on municipal grounds and other property owned or leased by the city.

(Good luck on enforcing that one!)

Karlene Farquharson, a Trenton resident said….
“I think it’s kind of drastic and bordering on infringing on people’s rights and I think there are other things that really are more harmful that they should be paying attention to.

For example, someone in their backyard can use a backyard fogger, an insecticide, which is something pretty damaging and dangerous. It’s airborne. Just like smoke it can come over into my area, into my face,” she said. “We have no protection against that. I think that’s something that’s more likely a hazard than second-hand smoke because you’re in an open area. As soon as it comes out it’s dispersed, it usually isn’t a big problem.”

Mill Hill resident and civic activist Jim Carlucci argued at a recent city council meeting that a Trenton smoking ban would fall into the same category as many other city ordinances — like cleaning up pet waste in the parks, a leash law or a ban on drinking alcoholic beverages in the parks — that go unenforced.

Enforcement will probably be a problem, especially in a place like Trenton where there have to be more important crimes to solve.

But the larger question is, as a smoker, do you feel your rights are being infringed upon?

I’m no fan of cigarette smoke, and if a merchant wants a smoke free environment, that’s one thing.

But for a local government to tell me I can’t smoke outside is just plain ridiculous.

Especially given the fact that government derives so much tax revenue from the sale of cigarettes.

If they felt so strongly about our health, just ban them entirely!

I know, it’s crazy talk.

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