Not in Front of the Children

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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.]

NEXT: Preemptive War and the Dailies

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  1. “Since this is outdoor smoking we’re talking about, it’s hard to take the first rationale seriously.”

    An asthmatic kid can inhale enough smoke to have a life-threating attack from being near a smoker outside.

    Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?

  2. I’d much rather smell a cigar than a fat person.

  3. “Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?”

    I think probably we don’t give a shit about your bleeding-heart ideas, joe, but I shouldn’t speak for everyone.

  4. Joe,

    So forget the Constitution and screw the freedoms of adults!

    Let’s remake society so that its prime directive is to protect asthmatic children?

  5. joe:

    And a bee sting can give me an allergic reation that could kill me in minutes flat. Do you (and those fatcat honey making bee-keepers) not know this, or just not give a shit?

    And a car can hit any person, no matter how big and strong, hard enough to kill them. Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?

    And some pollen from flowers and trees can give an asthmatic a life-threatening attack. Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?

    And airplanes can fail, and fall out of the sky killing hundreds of innocent people in parks. Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?

    And electrical plugs can short and arc and cause massive trauma, leading to death. Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?

    And bubble gum can get caught in a the throat of a child have a mild asthma attack, thus killing them. Do you not know this, or just not give a shit?

    And…

    So we must ban: bees, smoking, cars, flowers, trees, airplanes, electricity, bubble gum…

    Please think of the children. Will SOMEBODY just THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?!

  6. Joe-
    It is true that a child with severe asthma MIGHT die if exposed to the teensiest amount of cigarette smoke. It is also true that a chld with peanut allergies WILL die if exposed to the tiniest bit of peanut oil. That is why so many ice-cream and candy packages have a warning that says “May contain peanuts.” This is also why a couple of schools are starting to ban ALL peanut products in their cafeterias.

    So here’s a serious question: should we outlaw peanut butter? Imagine this scenario: I’m eating a peanut-butter snadwich in the park. I am a neat eater who doesn’t leave too many crumbs behind, but still, there is ONE DROP of peanut oil left behind where I sat, and that one drop is literally enough to kill a kid with an allergy.

    I also think trees should be illegal. Do you have any IDEA how many kids hurt themselves each year falling out of them? What’s that, you say? You’re not willing to chop down every tree in America? Well, you must not give a shit about paralyzed children. Selfish asshole.

  7. Aw, heck. GoonFood beat me to the punch.

  8. I guess that’s the end of walking the jogging path smoking an area-clearing cigar.

  9. Ken, what part of the Constitution requires cities to allow smoking in public parks? Please respond, I’d like to see this.

    GoonFood, “And a bee sting can give me an allergic reation that could kill me in minutes flat. Do you (and those fatcat honey making bee-keepers) not know this, or just not give a shit?”

    If a Parks Department knows there is a beehive under the slide, they spend your tax dollars to take it off. Is there a point somewhere?

    Parks also ban dogs, glass bottles, and perfectly legal firearms.

    There are thousands of laws regulating where, and how, cars can be driven.

    Electrical appliances need to meet safety standards.

    Jennifer, they’re not outlawing cigarettes. They’re adding one more item to the sign of things you can’t do in the park.

    All of you, since when is a property owner (in this case, the City) not allowed to decide what is and is not allowed on his property?

  10. Joe-
    All right, let me rephrase my question: should we pass a law prohibiting peanut butter in public? Remember, the Constitution does not specifically give people the right to consume peanut products in public.

  11. On the merits, no. It is very, very unlikely that the peanut butter you eat is going to end up in the system of another person against his or her will. Peanut butter doesn’t float away when you breath out, or waft out of the bread into someone else’s mouthl. However, it is virtually certain that anyone within 10 feet of a smoker is going to inhale their smoke.

  12. Joe-
    Another problem here is that there still hasn’t been even one documented case of any person, even an asthmatic one, dying from inhaling secondhand smoke. Even back in the 40s and 50s, when smoking was considered glamorous and most public indoor places had air that was literally blue from cigarettes, the only people who ever died from smoking were the ones who directly smoked.

    As for cigarettes making asthma worse. . .there is a logical fallacy covering this. I don’t remember the Latin name, but it is the fallacy of focusing on a small cause while ignoring a big one. Example: imagine my household is in a financial crisis. I tell my boyfriend, “It’s your fault we’re broke, because of that dollar you spent on a candy bar!” Now, it’s true that my boyfriend’s candy means one less dollar to pay bills, but the real reason we’re in financial trouble is because I spent $10,000 on a mink coat. Focusing on the candy is either a fallacious argument or a smokescreen.

    Secondhand cigarette smoke certainly does not help asthmatics in city parks, but the majority of the damage is caused by car exhaust, industrial pollution, and even natural stuff like pollen or bird dander. With all this unhealthy stuff in the background, getting rid of cigarettes won’t make the slightest difference, and it’s a fallacy to think otherwise.

  13. joe-

    I understand what you’re getting at. Show me evidence that such things have actually happened in the absence of these rules and I might support a limited rule.

    But this sounds more like a solution in search of a problem rather than a problem in search of a solution.

  14. Joe (you attention-getter, you),

    I believe the idea behind our Constitution is to limit the actions of government, not to list every imaginable right or permissible action of the citizenry.

  15. On peanut butter:

    I’ve never understood peanut bans in schools. And not for the reason of “Oh, it’s none of my problem.”

    If I had a kid who’s so allergic to peanuts that he can’t so much as touch a peanut (yes, such kids do exist) I wouldn’t teach him to depend on the good graces of others. Such a kid can’t assume that his friend’s cupcake doesn’t contain peanut oil just because the friend says so. How does the friend know for sure? I’d have to teach my kid to be paranoid and assume that peanuts are in any food that hasn’t been verified to be safe, and act accordingly. He couldn’t rely on the ban, since there’s no guarantee that every parent would remember to check every product label for peanut oil before packing a lunch. He’d just have to assume, for his own safety, that people failed to comply with the ban. So he’d have to act as though there was no ban in the first place.

    And if the allergic kid has to act as though there’s no peanut ban, what’s the point of having it?

  16. I would tell my peanut-challenged kid that he could die at any minute so try to enjoy himself while he can.

  17. Some kids are allergic to the ink on the funny pages.
    Most deadly comic:
    “Peanuts.”

    (ahem)

    Thank you, and good night.

  18. Joe,

    Declaration of Independence:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”

    Prohibitig Adults from smoking in public is both a denial of their Pursuit of Happiness and an infringement on their liberty, take your pick.

    Regarding the Constitution, the 5th Ammendment guarentees that no person shall be “…deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” (Did I really have to cite that?)

    Whether anti-public smoking laws violate an individual’s liberty or the fine deprives them of property, once again, take your pick.

    Meanwhile, from the 14th Ammendment:

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    The 5th Amendment applies to the federal government. The 14th Amendment extends protection of due process to all state governments, agencies, and courts, for pete’s sake!

    We don’t have to go through the distinction between substantive and procedural due process do we?

  19. I dont mind em at the park, but please keep them out of the pool.

  20. Take the cigarettes to the park.
    Make a pile of them in an ash tray.
    Make a sign saying “BURN ALL SMOKES!”
    Set them on fire as political expression.

    You ain’t smoking if you don’t put it to your lips.

  21. “With all this unhealthy stuff in the background, getting rid of cigarettes won’t make the slightest difference, and it’s a fallacy to think otherwise.’

    You’re wrong on the facts. As you say, a kid who has an asthma attack on the playground is listed as an asthma death, even if his attack was brought on by a cigarette allergy. But at least you and thoreau are willing to admit the government has right to prevent dangerous behavior on its own property.

    Ken, you deep thinker you,

    “Whether anti-public smoking laws violate an individual’s liberty or the fine deprives them of property, take your pick.” Whether murder laws deprive me of liberty, or incarceration deprives me of liberty, take your pick. But congratulations on writing the dumbest thing I’ve ever read – and I once read the lyric sheet of an Oi album.

    thoreau, that’s what peanut-allergy parents do, but it’s not very effective for 5 and 6 year olds, who’s “gimmee that cookie” reflex is a lot stronger than the “what’s that daddy said again” reflex.

  22. joe-

    If you show me evidence that people have died because of exposure to second-hand smoke outdoors, then I would support a limited rule. Something along the lines of not being allowed to smoke on public grounds if somebody asks you to stop for health reasons. Or something like that. The nitpickers can go to town tearing apart the wording and come up with better wording, but that’s the basic idea.

    However, I still think the smoking laws have gotten pretty silly for the most part. Most have gone way past the point of protecting asthmatic kids from deadly smoke exposure. A friend of mine teaches at a local private college, and they actually have an area with an awning over it and a sign that says “designated smoking area”, just to comply with the law. (Whether it’s state or local law, or possibly even some federal law, I don’t know.)

    My parents and some friends of the family went to my cousin’s high school play in a suburb of Milwaukee. A friend who smokes had to go off school grounds during intermission to smoke. It wasn’t enough to stand outside the school, the person had to go across the street to smoke. I’m not saying there should be an inalienable right to smoke anywhere on any public property, but at the same time I oppose any law that’s just plain silly. It may or may not be a matter of fundamental rights (that can be debated here in an uncivil manner) but it’s definitely ridiculous.

  23. Has Port Orange banished those John Deere ATV’s that groundskeepers typically drive around in parks, because I’d imagine that if our hyper-fragile athsmatic got a whiff of diesel exhaust he’d probably seize up in a similar fashion. It seems to me that anyone who is susceptible to dropping dead when exposed to minute residuals of combustion is either dead or in a hyperbaric bubble. In any event, if Port Orange bases all of its public policy on Joe’s one-in-a-million, hard-luck cases, it’s gonna be a pretty miserable place to live.

  24. I agree that some smoking laws are silly, but that’s no REASON to put aside all critical REASONing ability whenever the subject comes up, as so many here seem eager to do.

    They don’t let dogs in a lot of parks, because they poop. Even without the health factors, forbidding smoking in a place that’s supposed to be pleasant and inviting to the public seems appropriate to me.

    A lot of libertarians elevate “Screw you buddy” to high principle. Well hey, assholes, other people’s desires and well being matter just as much as your own.

  25. A lot of libertarians elevate “Screw you buddy” to high principle.

    I divide libertarians into two groups: Those who oppose regulations because of the “high principle” of “screw you buddy!” and those who oppose regulations because they have concluded that we’ll all be better off in a less regulated society.

    I consider myself in the later category. I’d be all in favor of heavy-handed regulation if somebody could show me that it actually makes for a better society, but it seems to me that regulation so often screws things up. Now, joe, you might disagree with me on the details of that sentence, but I think we both have in common some leftish concern for the “little guy.” People can start out with similar concerns and reach different conclusions based on different interpretations of incomplete evidence.

    The purists, on the other hand, seem to have a lot of sympathy for “screw you buddy!”

  26. joe,

    I can’t believe what an uncaring bastard you are. Why aren’t you busy right now trying to convince everyone that all children everywhere must wear gas masks until they have state issued cards certifying their non-asthmatic status? Don’t you give a shit? Why didn’t your mother do a better job of instilling you with a loving nature?

    Why aren’t you propounding the need for a law to make every adult stop every child everytime they see one and ask what they can do to make the child’s life safer? What’s the actual process you go through to determine when to stop with the bleeding heart nonsense?

    I’m honestly curious. Do you think you’re thinking here and not just following the latest line some leftist has guilted you into?

  27. That’s all you got Joe?

    Individuals murdering each other = The government banning smoking in the park?

    What a crock!

  28. Prohibitig Adults from smoking in public is both a denial of their Pursuit of Happiness and an infringement on their liberty, take your pick.

    And smokers forcing non-smokers — however briefly — to inhale smoke infringes on their liberty and denies their pursuit of happiness. So I guess it’s a push, huh? Whose liberty and pursuit of happiness wins? The smoker or the non-smoker? Should they be made to fight it out with pistols? Or rock-paper-scissors?

    Have you come around yet to the fact that you haven’t made a serious argument?

    Secondhand smoke isn’t going to kill me, but it’s a fucking pain in the ass and I don’t want to breathe it. I’m 34, I grew up with two parents who smoked, and I’ve hated it ever since I was old enough to express the concept of hate. I was forced to breathe it as a child, but I’ll be damned if I’ll be forced to as an adult. So here’s my compromise: Exhale all the smoke you want into my lungs, but I get to punch you in the face once for every cubic centimeter I have to inhale. That’s my price for allowing you to use my lungs to dispose of your externalities.

    By the way, Sparky, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t carry the force of law in this country. Just, you know, for the record.

  29. Ken Shultz,

    “One thing we could do is start a fund to buy billboards as close to elementry schools as possible. During local elections, we could fill the billboards with expletives denouncing city officials who vote for stupid laws to protect children by name.”

    If you’re looking for the best way to alienate any voters why may be sympathetic to your view, and if you’re looking for the worst possible way to make your case and persuade others to agree, plus – as a bonus – the ideal way to be dismissed as classless cranks, then your idea is super.

  30. “By the way, Sparky, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t carry the force of law in this country.”

    Besides the fact that Joe specificly asked for a reference from the Constitution, that’s why I included the 5th and 14th ammendments. If you both don’t understand the substantive process, then I suggest you both sue your high school.

    …and you can call me Fuckface but don’t call me Sparky.

    “And smokers forcing non-smokers — however briefly — to inhale smoke infringes on their liberty and denies their pursuit of happiness.”

    No one is talking about making a law that requires smokers to blow their smoke into the faces of non-smokers. The piece is about the government violating the rights of individuals not individuals violating each other’s rights.

    P.S. The argumentum ad misercordiam in reference to your childhood, in a post devoted specificly to debunking the fallacy is nothing short of remarkable.

  31. The piece is about the government violating the rights of individuals not individuals violating each other’s rights.

    If the only way to protect one group’s rights — the nonsmokers’ — is to violate another’s — the smokers’ — well . . . tough crap for the smokers, says I. Particularly since their activity imposes a positive burden and externalities that range from “mildly inconvenient” to “requires emergency care,” while the activity of not smoking imposes nothing. Fuckface.

    If smokers weren’t invariably inconsiderate, littering jackoffs, I might be more inclined to cut them some slack. But when I constantly have to see cigarettes butted out all over the stairs and landings of the building where I pay nearly $1400 a month for an apartment, well, fuck ’em. And if they’d all switch to smokeless, I wouldn’t care a whit about where they do it, as long as they didn’t spit on my shoes.

    P.S. I was not attempting to extrapolate from my childhood to a policy argument, I was stating my reasons for not being terribly concerned with accomodating smokers. If they’re going to dispose of their crap in my lungs, they’re going to have to pay for the privilege.

  32. You still don’t see that when the government prohibits adult behavior, it’s different than when one adult infringes on another adult’s rights, do you?

    Adam Smith wrote about one good use of local government as being the arbiter of questions such as when a cinder from a neighbor lands on your shirt, who should be responsible for cleaning it? But what you’re suggesting is that the government prohibit anyone from useing their fireplace because a cinder might fall on someone’s shirt. That’s different; that’s a prohibition on someone else’s freedom with an utter disregard for substantive due process.

    Of course the government should enforce criminal law; it’s there specificly to protect every citizen’s rights. But that’s beside the point here; for goodness sake, smoking isn’t even a crime. You’re not even talking about getting people to pay for the insurance premiums of the victim’s of second hand smoke.

    You’re talking about controling people’s behavior in public.

    Our social contract, via the 5th and 14th Ammendments to the Constitution, specificly prohibits both the federal government and state governments from arbitrarily limiting someone’s liberty. And so, states shouldn’t be allowed to arbitrarily prohibit public behavior, such as smoking, without regard for SUBSTANTIVE due process.

    P.S. I know I gave you permission to call Fuck Face; I hereby give myself permission to call you Smokey.

  33. That wasn’t very nice. Sorry.

  34. “If you’re looking for the best way to alienate any voters why may be sympathetic to your view, and if you’re looking for the worst possible way to make your case and persuade others to agree, plus – as a bonus – the ideal way to be dismissed as classless cranks, then your idea is super.”

    We have to do something, and I don’t think the situation is going to get any better the way we’re going now. Our education system, as a means to promote criticaly thinking voters is failing miserably. Do you think there’s another way to get people to stop eroding our rights in the name of the children?

    Really, I’m ready to listen to any good ideas.

    I’d rather not alienate voters, but I don’t think they’ll listen any other way, and I think my method will bring the issue straight to the forefront of the local debate.

    Why can’t you prohibit my sign? Maybe my right to free speech is more important than protecting your children from the F word. I suspect that we might loose some permits, but they’d have to compensate us for them. I’m not looking to make money anyway. I want to make a difference.

    I wouldn’t just throw a sign up anywhere either. I’d go to a city council meeting, make my case against some law that violates my rights for the sake of children, and then, after they pass the stupid law, I’d put up the billboard.

    This would be like non-violent civil disobedience a la Thoreau, Gandhi and MLK, but you’d have your property, maybe, confiscated instead of going to jail.

    And we might bring some much needed attention to the issue, and we might be able to make a few city council men and women think twice about putting another stupid law on the books. We’ll certainly make a few of them wish they hadn’t voted the way they did.

    And I’m willing to contribute my time and money. And I can’t be the only one.

  35. JDM,

    Why don’t I support mandatory gas mask laws, while supporting a ban on smoking in public parks? Because one is a reasonable accommodation, asked for a legitimate purpose by a party (the government) that is charged with maintaing a pleasant attractive atmosphere, and the other is an absurd imposition on people.

    Yes, I suppose having to leave the park to smoke is also an imposition, but if you’re honestly not able to understand the difference in the degree of reasonableness and appropriateness, then you lack judgement.

  36. 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…

    My money is on the majority of the council being in the obese range anyway. I am also putting my money on the fact that the majority of Port Orange park smokers are teens!

  37. Ken, the idea of civil disobedience is that people feel bad for you when they see you getting your ass kicked. People read about some jerk getting fined for writing dirty words, and the either agree your a jerk, or don’t care.

    Attacked by dogs and rednecks for walking across a bridge. Fined by municipal court for writing “Fuck” where children can see it. Get the difference in how that looks?

  38. Any idea if this covers the beaches? I was thinking of going to Florida this summer. Are the bars and restaurants non-smoking there, yet?

  39. Smoking is banned in Florida restaurants but still permitted in stand-alone bars, so long as they don’t serve much food. Restaurants can allow smoking in outdoor seating, provided it meets certain requirements. See http://www.no-smoking.org/june03/06-30-03-5.html.

  40. You’re right Joe, the comparison doesn’t hold up.

  41. And in fact, most restaurants/bars that do have outdoor seating that allows smoking prominently advertise that fact, so they are not hard to find. At least here in SW Florida. It is hard to find a bar that allows indoor smoking, because they all serve *some* food, and the line on how much food can be served is not clearly drawn, and nobody wants to be a test case. The good news is that it’s 82 degrees and sunny outside right now, so outdoor smoking sections are no problem, weather-wise.

    Um, I didn’t really mean that last part. It’s bitter cold and very windy. Bad idea to visit. Really.

  42. I’m back! What did I miss? . . .okay.

    Joe, when you keep talking about the city or the government banning smoking on “its own” property, you are forgetting that the government is supposed to work for We The People, who are the ultimate owners of all government property. So basically, you’re saying smokers can’t smoke on their own property. Hell. I pay taxes and kids don’t, so if anyone should be accomodated in the park it should be me. No, wait, I forgot I don’t smoke anymore.

    No matter. Just because I choose not to use them anymore doesn’t mean I’m spiteful enough to take them away from those who do. If smoking cigarettes is to be outlawed “for the children” then what comes next? Barbecues and other forms of outdoor cooking emit far more smoke than do a few cigarettes. A lot of people are allergic to perfume, both in pure form and added to soaps and hairsprays.

    For that matter, what about offensive bodily odor? I know this guy who’s fine so long as he keeps his shoes on, but otherwise his feet stink badly enough to knock satellites out of their orbits. This never used to be a problem for me, but I can no longer smoke cigarettes to cover the smell.

    Maybe we should have the government legislate how often we bathe and what products we use, to ensure we offend no one.

    The other night on “Bill Maher” this woman who used to be Prime Minister of Canada said something worth repeating (or at least paraphrasing): “If you have never been offended in a public place then you do not live in a free society.”

  43. Never mind not allowing seniors to drive. How do we get laws passed that stop seniors from voting? I don’t think anyone over 65 should get a say in how the country moves toward the future.

  44. I’ve done some pontificating on this blog before about how our rights are so often violated in order to “protect the children”.

    I’d like to make a difference at the ballot box, but it’s hard to find local candidates that will pledge not to prohibit adult behaviour in order to “protect the children”. So what can we DO about it?

    One thing we could do is start a fund to buy billboards as close to elementry schools as possible. During local elections, we could fill the billboards with expletives denouncing city officials who vote for stupid laws to protect children by name.

    Imagine this in huge black letters on a white background:

    Please don’t vote for John Smith, Jane Doe and Mike Jones. They’re a bunch of fucking idiots!

    The billboards will need to be as close to elementary schools as possible for the biggest effect. We want those names seen by soccer moms. Remember, there’s not much money in local politics; most of them go into politics for sheer ego. Local politicians tend to care about nothing more than how their names are perceived in public.

    How can they stop us? What will the city do, try to ban political speech? Even if they manage to close down a billboard in one city, there will always be another town with a fuckig idiot on the city council.

    On the down side of the election cycle, the billboards can be leased out for regular commercial activity. I doubt we’ll make a profit, but together we can make a difference.

  45. You’re right Joe, the comparison doesn’t hold up.

  46. You’re right Joe, the comparison doesn’t hold up.

  47. Greah

  48. Ken, on the list of “Socially frowned-upon classes whose rights I need to address as a matter of principle,” smokers fall somewhere between panhandlers and nudists for me.

    Sure, my inner libertarian weeps at this kind of stuff, but my outer nonsmoker says, “Well, good.” Guess that makes me a pragmatist. Oh well.

  49. Is this an accurate summarization of the Constitution as interpreted by Joe, Phil et al:

    “The only rights guaranteed by the Constitution are those which do not annoy me.”

    Phil-
    I’m sorry you hate your parents but you need to GET OVER IT, or at least not use it as an excuse to fuck with others. Nobody sees Christina Crawford running around trying to ban wire hangers.

  50. Let’s redefine “children” so their less of them to be affected.
    Even better is that it’s already been partially done. In the justice system it’s nothing to treat 14 year olds as adults, so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to being treating them as adults outside of the justice system.
    Those 4 years represent (based on a quick and dirty estimate from the 2000 census) ~18-19 million people who will no longer be considered children. We can get the 8 million or so 12 and 13 year olds into the fold later.

  51. Ken,
    “We have to do something, and I don’t think the situation is going to get any better the way we’re going now. Our education system, as a means to promote criticaly thinking voters is failing miserably. Do you think there’s another way to get people to stop eroding our rights in the name of the children?

    Really, I’m ready to listen to any good ideas.”

    Well, I have a few suggestions – take them for what they’re worth.

    1. Be nice. If people perceive you as a ranting, red-faced, frothing-at-the-mouth jerk, they’re going to tune you out. And with good reason. Don’t give them such an easy out. Be civil, polite, gracious, and persuasive.

    2. Meet the other side on its own terms. One of the problems is that too many people have decided that public health concerns trump personal liberty and private property concerns. So emphasizing personal liberty won’t persuade them. Instead, stress the still uncertain impact of secondhand smoke – there’s plenty of science that its supposedly ill effects are way overblown. After you’ve established that doubt, then close the deal with the personal liberty argument.

    3. Offer a solution. Don’t just protest against something, offer an alternative or a compromise. For example, parks are big places – why not ban smoking within, say, 100 feet of a playground, while asking smokers to be wary of who’s around them while they smoke elsewhere in a park. Does this concede some ground? Yes, but it also reinforces the rights of smokers and non-smokers both.

  52. First the bars & restaurants, then the ballpark, all public buildings, in your condo, 50 ft. radius of the front doors of public buildings, the parks and now the beaches of CA(http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0322/p01s04-usju.html).

    Just as your front yard has been redefined as “public property” subject to gov’t control, your “ownership of self” is negated by code, statute and ordinance. Your neighbor has no right to bar your ciggies, buy stupid people in large numbers have the power to sway your elected officials to strip your prerogatives.

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