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Princeton Ready to Ban Smoking on Municipally Owned Outdoor Sites – Is the Ban Going Too Far? [POLL]

 (Flickr User ninasaurusrex)
(Flickr User ninasaurusrex)

I’m not a smoker, nor have I been for the last 30 or so years.

And I’m glad I gave it up.

However, I’ve known people who’ve smoked till their dying breath, my father for one, and a dear friend who had been dying from leukemia.

It was their choice to do so; but as it affects others, do you then have the right to blow smoke all over the place, even outdoors?

Or do you feel it’s more “nanny state” protectionism when a municipality enacts a “no smoking” policy at its outdoor facilities, citing the health concerns of those who choose to continue to smoke?

According to this,

A proposed ordinance to ban smoking on municipal property, town-owned public parks and outside pools would make Princeton the first town in Mercer County to do so.

Councilwoman Heather Howard said, “Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death. This is the ability to save lives.”

The ordinance, up for a vote at the town’s board of health meeting on March 19, would see no smoking signs installed outside affected locations and $250 fines passed out to first-time violators.

Health officers and Princeton police would enforce the ordinance and issue tickets for violations, Howard said.

“Our hope is not to fine people, it’s to prevent smoking,” she said.

The ban would cover all municipal areas, buildings, parks and entrances to pools. Smokers would have to move away 35 feet.

Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors Smokefree Policy, said that Princeton’s potential ban would offer multiple benefits.

“For decades Princeton has been a leader on tobacco control and making all parks 100 percent smoke-free will benefit the community at large,” she said. “And this new ordinance will help kids to learn not to smoke.”

One hundred and sixty-four other towns and municipalities in the state have similar ordinances, but this would be the first such restrictive ordinance in Mercer County, according to Blumenfeld.

Town manager Bob Bruschi said, “I’m a proponent of people not smoking. It’s the right thing to do and we’ll adjust accordingly,” he said. “If we can get more people thinking about whether all of the additional conditions on smoking to think twice about it, that would be a good thing.”

Pretty soon the smoking ban will extend to our homes, as is already happening in California.

If a bill introduced last month by one Golden State Democrat becomes law, California would likely become the first state to prohibit millions of its citizens from smoking in their own homes.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), would prohibit smoking inside all multiunit residences, such as condos or apartments, where housing units share walls, floor, ceilings or ventilation systems.

Free-standing homes, which make up about two-thirds of all residencies in the state, would be exempted from the ban.

“Californians should be able to breathe clean air in their own homes,” Levine said in a statement. “In apartments or condominiums, whenever a neighbor lights up, everyone in the building smokes with them. This is especially troublesome for children who have no choice but to breathe the secondhand smoke of their neighbors.”

A quandary, no?

Ban smoking because it’s good for your health and everyone around you; or allow you to continue to smoke because it’s a matter of personal freedom. Which way do you go?

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