Smokers welcome in this Jersey shore town — It’s about time! (Opinion)
Mayor Ernie Troiano joined me last week to discuss his willingness to take the statue of iconic American entertainer, Kate Smith, off the hands of the ignorant and ungrateful Philadelphia Flyers organization and relocate it to the Wildwood boardwalk.
Now their neighbor, Wildwood Crest, is taking up another controversial issue and designating areas of the beach for smokers.
That's right, people still smoke tobacco and despite the all out assault on this legal product, 14% of New Jersey residents over the age of 18 still smoke. And with an estimated 6 million people 18 or older in NJ, that's more than 800,000 smokers. And they're gonna spend vacation money somewhere. Might as well be Wildwood Crest. Designated areas in the open air of the Jersey Shore.
Not only will this not disrupt any non-smokers vacation (you've seen how huge the beaches are in the Wildwoods, right?), but it will alleviate law enforcement from the extra duty of policing social behavior on the beach. What's amazing about our culture is that cigarette smokers have been vilified, while pot smokers glorified. And cigar smoking is looked as as an elite upper class activity. We can't seem to get on the same page. So how about we focus on adults doing adult activities without interference from the do-gooder hypocrites who want to run our lives?
I'm not a smoker any longer. I did smoke while I was in college and in the U.S. Marines. Then I had kids and stopped. My choice, with some influence from my better half! Adults know the risks and should be able to make their own decisions.
Maybe we should be focusing on obesity in New Jersey instead. While in most Jersey Shore towns will go along with the state ban and ignore the allowed designation of 15% for smoking areas, you can stuff your faced with all kinds of junk food anywhere on the beach. While only 14% of New Jerseyans smoke, 27% are obese.
Health organizations estimate there are more than 300,000 deaths every year due to obesity. That sound like an epidemic that the state regulators may want to address. OR we can have the government back off and let people live their lives.
And how about alcohol? Nearly 90,000 deaths are from over-consumption plus the nearly 11,000 killed on our roadways from drunk driving. And we have politicians that want to encourage drinking in public on the boardwalk. Is it just a numbers game? Or is government actually interested in public health? Either way, seems in NJ they go for the easy wins and yet do nothing to make New Jersey safe, healthy and affordable.
I hope there are more Jersey towns, which step up to give smokers an opportunity to enjoy their vacations with a smoke after a great day in the ocean as much as the non-smokers will enjoy their funnel cake, fudge and pizza.
Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.
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