Not in Front of the Children


The city council of Port Orange, Florida, has unanimously approved a ban on smoking in public parks and recreation areas when children are present. Repeat violators face a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. According to a local TV report, "Port Orange council members said the smoking ban is to protect kids from secondhand smoke and to prevent them from starting in the first place."

Since this is outdoor smoking we're talking about, it's hard to take the first rationale seriously. The second one suggests that council members are less worried about a stray whiff of smoke than they are about the sight of people smoking, which they fear will set a bad example for impressionable children.

Given their pioneering work in this area, I'd like to direct Port Orange's leaders to my proposal for banning fat people from public parks–an idea that seems all the more appealing now that excess weight is expected to surpass smoking as a cause of death any day now.

[Thanks to Linda Stewart for the tip.]