Do smoking bans make sense, or do they infringe on rights?
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 01:11
In Boulder, lawmakers are pushing to enact a smoking ban on the Pearl Street Mall where hundreds of people from around the country visit to drink and wander for hours. If Boulder police get what they want, the penalty for smoking on the mall will be up to a $1,000 fine or 90 days in jail.
According to the Center for Disease Control, almost one in five adults in the United States still choose to smoke. It is naïve to think that those people are unaware of the negative effects to their health.
In July 2006, The Smoke-Free Act was passed in Colorado, banning smoking in the vast majority of establishments and immediately outside of them to protect Coloradans from harmful second hand smoke.
Also in 2006, a study by the California Air Resources Board investigated the effects of SHS outdoors. Their study of public areas concluded that only within two feet of a cigarette outdoors does a person run any sort of risk of toxins associated to the tobacco.
A common argument for the ban is the reduction of litter on the mall. However, the alternative would require Boulder Police Department to enforce another meaningless code instead of focusing on violent crime or theft.
It is my stance that the government should not be restricting what a free citizen can or cannot do in a public space, within common reason of course.
If I find myself walking behind someone with a habit that I find objectionable, I simply take it upon myself to avoid that person instead of looking to the government to accommodate my annoyances.
The banning of smoking cigarettes outdoors is absurd, especially on one of the last pedestrian malls in the country. Implementation of such a ban is obviously a violation of basic human rights.