Fort Collins Could Expand No-Smoking Rules Outside
I think a lot of smokers are about to get pretty upset. The Coloradoan is reporting that City Officials in Fort Collins are considering expanding our city’s no-smoking rules.
As a non-smoker, I’m all for it, but I have a feeling the smokers I know have very different opinions.
Right now our smoking ban only includes a ban on smoking in public buildings, places of employment, businesses that are used by the public, as well as within 20 feet of building entrances.
An expansion of those bans could prohibit smoking at bus benches and transit facilities, parks, trails, public places like Old Town Square, prohibit smoking within 20-feet of outdoor dining areas and bar patios, and could even go so far as to regulate electronic cigarettes.
It’s easy for me, as a non-smoker, to be excited for rules like this, I personally think smoking is gross. It smells terrible, or creates a lot of unwanted ash and cigarette butts, it can create an unhealthy environment for for everyone around a smoker, and can be linked do many major health problems.
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment supports expanded smoking restrictions as part of a grant-funded tobacco cessation program. Health officials say secondhand smoke poses a health risk to nonsmokers, even in outdoor areas.
That being said, I don’t think less of anyone who does smoke. Everyone has their own vices, and just because I don’t like what you smoke doesn’t mean I don’t like you. (I’m sure I have plenty of bad habits that you wouldn’t approve of either.)
However, it seems a lot of smokers jump to the, “You can’t tell me how to live my life,” defense when it comes to smoking bans. Like the whole world is unfairly singling out something they like to do and making it a crime.
My rebuttal is simple: Yes, you have the right to smoke, but don’t I have the right to NOT breathe your smoke? Bans like these don’t keep you from smoking, they just keep you from doing it around everyone else.
Hey, you wouldn’t like it if I walked around your dinner table with no pants on, that’s why there are laws against doing that in public. Some people don’t want to breathe in your burning ash when they eat, it’s kind of the same idea.
But that puts us back at the old impasse between smokers and non-smokers.
Short of everyone in our town suddenly agreeing, there is no way smoking in public, or a ban on it, is going to make everyone happy.
What do you think of the possible smoking ban expansions?