Seattle Parks & Recreation: Protecting You From You

Yesterday, overruling an advisory panel's recommendation, Seattle Parks Superintendent Timothy Gallagher imposed a comprehensive tobacco ban on the city's parks. Although protecting bystanders from secondhand smoke is the most common justification for such bans, Gallagher's rationale is wider:

The negative health effects of tobacco are well documented. As an agency that has a fundamental mission to support the health and well-being of Seattle residents, it is appropriate and beneficial to prohibit the use of tobacco products at parks and park facilities.

In other words, Gallagher is intent on using his power as parks superintendent not only to protect park patrons from the occasional whiff of someone else's cigarette smoke but to protect them from the ill effects of their own unhealthy habits. Hence the inclusion of smokeless tobacco, which poses no conceivable threat to passers-by (and also is much less hazardous to consumers than cigarettes). For those worried about getting hit by tobacco juice spray: Consumption of oral snuff such as Skoal Bandits or Camel Snus does not require any spitting. Such discreet, smokeless consumption of tobacco does not even trigger the "concerns that smokers set a poor example for children" mentioned by the Seattle Times. Yet under Gallagher's new policy, any park visitor caught with such contraband will be summarily ejected, the better to serve his department's "fundamental mission to support the health and well-being of Seattle residents."

More on outdoor smoking bans here.

[Thanks to Paul in Seattle for the tip.]

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  • ||

    Yo! Fuck Timothy Gallagher.

  • ||

    First question: Does he have the authority to do so? Please attach all documents granting said authority.

    Second question: Who can fire this guy?

  • ed||

    Third question: how can he or anyone else force a park-goer to open his mouth for examination? Cigarettes are obvious, but oral snuff? Banning it would be virtually unenforceable.

  • TickleStick||

    Were I a Seattlite, I would be spitting tobacco juice at every park at every opportunity. In fact, I'd take up chewing just to do it.

  • ||

    how can he or anyone else force a park-goer to open his mouth for examination?

    Well, they can just assume you're hiding cracks rocks in there. No biggie.

  • ||

    (got here late today, i'm rushing to fill my quota of smartassery.)

  • ed||

    Has to be probable cause. A white guy walking with his kids in the park probably isn't selling crack. Not that I'm a racist.

  • ||

    "What're you hiding in your mouth?" Isn't enough?

  • Paul||

    You question the authoritah of an unelected career bureaucrat?!!

  • No Name Guy||

    Seig Heil Herr Gallagher (clicking heels together). Glad you know what's right for the rest of us. We're too stupid to make choices for ourselves.

    (says the person who's father was killed by smoking caused lung cancer and who's mother is also sick with smoking caused cancer and would never take up the nasty shit that is a tobbaco habit).

  • Mad Max||

    'In Seattle today, angry protesters denounced Parks Superintendent Gallagher for being "soft on smokers."

    '"There's nothing in that policy about public canings of smokers," said Bob Thistlewaite-Harmony-Peace, spokesperson for the protesters. "Also, electrocution for repeat offenders should be an option."'

  • ||

    I saw this story yesterday afternoon. It's absurd, but won't be challenged because people lose their fucking minds and all principles regarding property and personal responsibility when it comes to smoking. They so hate the smell of smoke on their clothes that any intrusion by the state on those filthy smokers is OK with them.

  • ||

    Wow. You really suck.

  • Skid Marx||

    Last weekend I went to a spice shop with two friends who smoke. They smoked in the car on the way there. I didn't light up until after we got going. So when we arrived at the shop, I smelled like a smoker.

    And I wondered (though it didn't happen) what if I made eye contact with a hot chick at the spice shop who responded with a big smile and a stroll over to me only to discover I smelled like smoke? If she wasn't a smoke lover, that could blow the deal for me.

  • Skid Marx||

    Correction: THEY didn't light up (not me 'cause I don't smoke).

  • Coeus||

    The number of women who SAY they won't bang a smoker is several orders of magnitude higher than the number who actually won't. Combine that with the number who'll walk up to some random guy who's just standing there grinning like an idiot, and the odds of that particular cock-block scenario occurring are about the same as being struck by lightning while getting hit by a meteor.

  • ||

    Get new friends and quit your bitching

  • ||

    Or just don't go-to the spice shop with them. Stick to places with their own smoky odors and ya'll will be fine.

  • ||

    "what if I made eye contact with a hot chick at the spice shop who responded with a big smile and a stroll over to me"

    Come on man, it was your parents smoking wasn't it? Don't you hate it when pops comes in smellin like stale kools and totally cock blocks you. Heinous, dude.

  • Xeones||

    Epi, this is somehow your fault, you know.

  • ||

    It's because I banged Gallagher's wife and then had a smoke afterward. I also shoved a cigar into her snatch, but I think he took that more as an homage to Clinton so it was OK.

  • Solanum||

    You're lucky he didn't come after you with that huge hammer of his.

  • ||

    I blame Headley Lamar. This sounds like one of his schemes to get the land the town was built on.

  • ||

    It's the plot from the sequel.

    See, Sherrif Bart is a smoker. So the bans will run him out of town and Lamar can take over again.

    The Marlboro Man show up to help Bart and The Waco Kid, and Rock Ridge is saved once again.

  • ||

    Lick the shit off my boots teabagging motherfuckers--I CANNOT be reversed, for mine word is law. So it shall be written, so it shall be done, etc.

  • ||

    If you're a ruthless yuppie, it's a good way to get rid of the homeless. Outlaw tobacco on the sidewalks, and you can pretty much drive all of them into Puget Sound.

    Not that I'm accusing Seattle of being run by ruthless yuppies, but yes, I am.

  • ||

    And in her just-submitted proposed budget, Governor Christine Gregoire wants to increase the state tax on cigarettes by a dollar. She already raised the tax when she came into office. (She also wants to increase taxes on candy, bubblegum and bottled water.)

  • Skid Marx||

    She already raised the tax when she came into office after stealing the election.

    FIFY

  • ||

    This already happened with County Parks in Santa Cruz CA a few years back. When I wrote the County Supervisor who championed the cause of tobacco-less parks, he replied with almost the exact same words as Gallagher used. It's almost as if the show played in the hinterlands of summer stock and dinner theatre before being picked up to run on Broadway in the big city. Same book, same music, same choreography. Creepy.

  • ||

    Oh, and Gregoire also wants to raise taxes on soda pop. Forgot that one.

  • ||

    I figured liquid candy was included in your original post ;)

  • B.P.||

    Why can't the fundamental mission of the Seattle Parks Department be to maintain the city's parks? Jesus.

  • Dello||

    Because that would cost money, while this might raise revenue.

    Duh.

  • In Time Of War||

    They can't/won't enforce the leash law, they sure as hell won't enforce this.

  • Mary||

    I know this is a libertarian site, but smoking isn't good for us. Protecting the public health is a legitimate function of the government, so I fail to see the issue here. The park is government property so they can do whatever they want.

  • ||

    "You're free to do anything that's good for you" doesn't lead to much freedom.

  • ||

    I fail

    Truer words never spoken.

  • Anomalous||

    "If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all."
    – Jacob Hornberger (1995)

  • TickleStick||

    "Rotate your tires"

    - Goodyear (circa 1962)

  • ed||

    The park is government property

    Funny, I thought it was public property.

  • In Time Of War||

    All public property is theft.

  • ||

    "Protecting the public health" is not the same thing as protecting an individual's health. I find the inability of so many people to make this obvious distinction mystifying.

  • Zeb||

    Um, parks are OUTSIDE. Nobody has ever suffered any harm from a whiff of tobacco smoke.

  • ||

    "I know this is a libertarian site, but smoking isn't good for us. Protecting the public health is a legitimate function of the government, so I fail to see the issue here. The park is government property so they can do whatever they want."

    Well Mary, since this is a libertarian site, and most of us here are libertarians, you should not be surprised by my response to your statement.

    Come and take them, you progressive cunt.

  • ||

    Word.

  • ||

    @Mary "so I fail to see the issue here"

    Did you not read the article?

    A ban of all tobacco would also outlaw smokeless tobacco. How does my use of a smokeless tobacco product that does not involve spitting affect anyone's health but my own?

  • ||

    "protecting the public health is a legitmate function of the government."

    We can argue the truth of that in a libertarian world and how far it should and can be taken in such a world.

    However, assuming its true, the government is doing a piss-poor job of it by allowing cigarettes (the only product permitted to be "defective" in its intended form) to be legal at all.

  • Paul||

    However, assuming its true, the government is doing a piss-poor job of it by allowing cigarettes (the only product permitted to be "defective" in its intended form) to be legal at all.

    Cigarettes are "safe and effective". They're regulated by the FDA.

  • ||

    Having the potential to harm a person doesn't make something "defective". If cigarette manufacturers were claiming that their product was intended to extend your life or improve your health then, yeah, you could claim it is defective because they don't do either of those things.

    Words have meanings.

  • ||

    Having the potential to harm a person doesn't make something "defective"

    True, but liability in this country doesn't require a product to be defective anymore.

  • ||

    Protecting the public health is a legitimate function of the government

    I think I've found the problem.

  • Paul||

    Oh yeah, and here's my favorite:

    Ramels voted against the smoking ban. Her thinking, she said, was: "Let's take it in smaller steps. Let's start with the beaches and the playfields and the sports fields, and after a while we can go to the whole park."

    Make no mistake. The board didn't vote against it because they're you're friend. They voted against it because they prefer the more sinister approach.

    First, publicly vilify them, paint symbols on the windows of their businesses.

    Then make them register with the government.

    Then force them to wear pieces of flair.

    Then we bring in the cattle-cars...

  • ed||

    "Baby steps, Heinrich, baby steps."

  • ||

    Who cares?!

    They're banning smokers from parks. It's like banning 600lb people from gyms. Or Pedos from Hooters.

  • ||

    Why can't a pedophile eat at Hooters?

  • ||

    And i suppose gay guys can read playboy for the articles too.

    But how many really want to?

  • Paul||

    Besides, it's public property, we don't let just anyone in here!

  • ed||

    [Seattle] Parks & Recreation

    You have to admit, it's funnier than NBC's alleged comedy of the same name.

  • Invisible Finger||

    So the Parks superintendent is a de facto health scientist because he says so? What a total piece of shit!

  • ||

    The decision to ban tobacco use in PUBLIC parks was a facist one made by facist means. Smokers unite; take up the fight. WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS. If you smoke, be considerate. Non-smokers, learn to share well with others and mind your own business, please.

  • zeroentitlement||

    As an agency that has a fundamental mission to support the health and well-being of Seattle residents...

    Um, no, but thanks for playing. Your fundamental mission is to maintain Seattle parks and recreational facilities. How about restocking the TP in the toilets at Greenlake? Now there's a good lad.

    This is the reason I prefer to live in the 'burbs. Most of the city's public policy in the last 25 years is ineffectual, smug lifestyle-copping. I just love how they dither about meaningless BS like 20-cent plastic bag fees and bottled water bans while the city gains worldwide infamy as a great place to get the shit beat out of you if you're a teen girl, or get shot if you're a cop.

    Really, Seattle should just save time and money by passing a law that says, "If you're not a cocksmoking, deodorant-free, socialist, greener-than-thou, self-congratulatory, navel-gazing vegan cyclist in a smelly recycled hemp Patagonia vest, you can't live here."

  • ||

    "Second question: Who can fire this guy?"

    Fire him? Those bootlickers up there will probably elect this asshole mayor.

  • Andrew D||

    I'm bringing my pipe with me on my next trip to Seattle.

  • a-free-man||

    No person has any right to dictate how any other person may act.
    I don't care who you are, or how benevolent your intentions.
    There is only one rule any person must follow to participate in society:

    Do no harm to any other person physically or financially.

    Beyond that, I will do whatever I want. I reject these rules, and I reject the idea that ANYBODY has the right to dictate what behavior is allowed in public.

  • Michael J. McFadden||

    A-Free-Man, the way the Antismokers get around your proclamation is by claiming that the smallest wisps of smoke in the air *DO* "harm another person physically."

    And that's where they lie. No study to this date has ever shown actual "harm" to people in the standard and meaningful sense of the word from the levels of exposure to smoke that one would get from the low levels found in any modern and decently ventilated/filtrated commercial venue.

    The headlined studies that blast us through paid press releases, are repeated ad nauseum by "experts" before legislatures, and sound-bitten to gory death in MTV and other TV ads do NOT involve such levels or exposure or do NOT show such "harm."

    For a quick look at how some of these charlatans are being exposed in Kansas right now during their ban push see:

    http://kansas.watchdog.org/201.....ust-smoke/

    Watch the short video there of the Council hearing, then read the story and comments. *VERY* informative. It's stuff like these claims by the Antismokers, repeated over and over in our media with so little questioning of them allowed, that have developed the group-think that allows the word "harm" to be used in reference to the briefest and wispiest encounters with traces of smoke.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

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