Thumbnail image for babysmoke.jpg
Little Mike often wonders how his life would have turned out had the ban been approved a month earlier
Double shots of espresso. Emotional repression.

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The Long Nightmare Is Over: Tacoma Bans Smoking in Public Parks

Thumbnail image for babysmoke.jpg
Little Mike often wonders how his life would have turned out had the ban been approved a month earlier
Double shots of espresso. Emotional repression. A bygone, but defining epoch in popular music. And a weakness for unconstitutional public safety measures. These are just a few of the things that this here burg is known for. But here comes the upstart Tacoma, stepping into the futile gesture game with a recently passed ban on smoking in all public parks.

By a count of 6-3, the Tacoma city council passed an ordinance on Wednesday that makes smoking in any of the city's public parks a misdemeanor offense. The justifications (supplied by the ordinance's supporters): smoking is bad for you, promoting overall healthy living is good, etc. In other news, water is wet.

So, what is this really about? Take it away Connie Ladenburg.

Councilwoman Connie Ladenburg noted that her 11-year-old grandson has such severe asthma, he cannot enjoy parks when any cigarette smoke is present. Without such a law, she said, her grandson and other nonsmokers will remain vulnerable to secondhand smoke effects imposed upon them by smokers.

"He doesn't have a choice to breathe, but smokers have a choice if they smoke or not," she said.

All due respect to Ms. Ladenburg's asthmatic grandson, but how is his condition a compelling reason for infringing upon the right of smokers to partake of an otherwise legal product?

Setting aside the fact that definitive evidence that smoking is any more harmful in outdoor environments than the toxins we breathe in daily as a matter of course doesn't exist, and that Tacoma police have no plans to actually enforce the law, the "it's for the children" justication is just a shelter for the ban's supporters who apparently aren't creative enough to come up with a solution both smokers and concerned parents can be content with.

Of course, earning cheap points among the constituents by way of knee-jerk reactions is half of all politics, and we won't begrudge anyone that. Still, it's not like the Tacoma City Council doesn't have a host of more important issues to attend to.

 
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